A Sit Down With Justin Greenberg
It feels like we have only just returned to work from the Christmas break, yet as we rapidly approach the end of the month, it is time to announce January’s Freelancer of the Month. Off to an excellent start already this year, our FOM is Justin Greenberg, a standout editor and fascinating man. We managed to catch up with Justin and find out more about his education, career and what he gets up to in his spare time. From studying drama in South Africa, stumbling into the editing world and his favourite projects, continue to read on to find out more about Justin.
For many, it is a dream to study abroad, especially in such a picturesque location as Rhodes, South Africa. What may surprise you, however, is that Justin didn’t attend Rhodes University to study in media or editing, instead choosing to study Psychology and the Dramatic Arts.
Justin’s time at university didn’t teach him how to become an editor, but he learnt many valuable lessons whilst being there.
“Rhodes University was an amazing experience. It was vibrant. It was diverse. It taught me the value of hard work and discipline. The value of being open-minded. And it taught me a love for problem-solving that translates directly into the process of storytelling.”
One clear takeaway is that university isn’t just about the course you’re studying but also about learning more about yourself and your way of working. Justin was able to, on stage, breakthrough his more introverted side – ” when I stepped onto that stage something would click inside me. I just couldn’t get enough of immersing myself in the story and how it directly affects an audience. It’s a powerful thing.”
The Path to Editing
As with many people in life, sometimes opportunity can set you on a different path and, this was the case for Justin. While at a ‘gathering’ Justin bumped into an old friend who happened to own a production company – he offered Justin the chance to come and work for him. Given the chance to turn his hand to editing, Justin accepted and began the journey to become a successful editor.
Like many in the industry, Justin learnt through a very hands-on approach – starting work practising on Adobe Premiere v2, with a manual and an inquisitive mind, Justin taught himself how to edit.
“I knew what I wanted to do and then found a way to do it. I fell in love with the power of editing – creatively and technically – to tell amazing, emotional stories that have an immediate and long-lasting effect on people.”
Justin’s passion only grew from this point and propelled his career forward – from wedding videos, into branded content and onto broadcast TV.
“Editing never stops being a challenge and, it never gets boring. I love it.”
Honing the Craft
The limit to what an editor can learn is exponential with technology developing rapidly and, a plethora of editing suites you could utilise. Any editor would be lying to say they have mastered all aspects of the craft.
With each job, Justin has developed and grown as an editor. Still utilising Premiere (being great for digital work), Justin has also developed his skills on Avid – he attributes his love for Avid being due to the simplicity of the software and the ability to tell the story.
One key takeaway Justin passed on while we were speaking about developing your skills – “keep it simple”, he feels too often these days, software does too much from grading to sound mixing. Focus on what you do well is Justin’s advice.
The Life of a Freelancer
The choice between being employed and working freelance can often be difficult for most people. Often, it is best to make this decision based on your preference and working style. This was the decision that Justin had to make when moving from employment to stepping out on his own – “There is a comfort in having a permanent job. You don’t have to worry about next month’s rent. However, in a sense, you are stuck in one place. You may have the opportunity to grow and climb a ladder within the company but you will be working on a brand. And that brand will not change, or at least, it will not change quickly – big boats take a long time to change direction.”
Justin here is making the point the many working freelance will admit to, although there is a worry as you step out on your own, it brings excitement not knowing what project you may work on tomorrow. As you progress in your career, honing your talent and experience, you can become more discerning about what work you may want to take on. This has been why Justin has loved editing – the ability to choose what projects he takes on means he can experience different organisations, brands and people.
The Golden Nugget
For many, thinking about working freelance can be a daunting prospect. We asked Justin what his one piece of advice would be for anyone considering this option.
“Determination is key to any kind of success. How you react in adversity speaks to your character and, your character is most important. There will be difficult situations and you will need a calm head. You will need to be resilient. Your character is what keeps people coming back to work with you – and you them. Everything else, you can learn as you go.”
Justin has had some incredible experiences during his career, most recently working on RAW TV’s, season 12 of Gold Rush. We wanted to know what comes next for Justin. We spoke about what sort of projects and brands he would like to work on in the future.
” If I stay on this path, the path of factual, then in a couple of years from now I would either want to be working on programming that makes a real-world difference (like Icarus) or appeals to my love of simple, poignant storytelling that is ultimately optimistic (like Free Solo). I am contemplating a move into drama. Drama is a different type of beast. A different type of challenge. It would require a new network. A new skillset. But I am not done yet. I am determined – and I am and have always been a fan of the Mouse House.”
All we know is that with the talent and determination Justin has, we’re sure that he can turn his hand to any genre and highly anticipate to see what he might do next!
Working with TCC
Justin has been with us for several years now and has produced some outstanding work during his time. It is always fantastic to bring on a freelancer such as Justin – easy to work with, responsive and talented. We spoke about how he’s found his time with TCC.
” The Crewing Company has always been good to me. From the moment I arrived in London and I joined the agency, the team has been professional, courteous and diligent. I will always appreciate the role they have played in the opportunities that have come my way. The biggest progressions that I have made here are a direct result of their work. I see us as partners. It’s an exciting time. May our partnership grow from strength to strength.”
The feeling has been mutual Justin, we always enjoy seeing our freelancers grow and develop their skills.
As always, if you’ve gotten this far, thank you for taking the time to read about this brilliant editor. Thank you Justin for taking the time to speak with us, it is great getting to know more about our freelancers and the incredible work you all carry out for us.