The director certainly deserves a great deal of credit for establishing the mood in a commercial, but Sarah Iben has a proven ability for amplifying the emotion with her cutting skills. "I am a full believer in the equal power of images, sound and music," says Iben. "Whether it's a sound effect or a piece of music or the visuals I put together, hopefully you're going to feel something after you watch it."
In her selects, Iben seems to gravitate towards people's bare humanity. The cuts are edgy and tend to linger a touch on the long side. The visuals and timing encourage a sense of kinship in the viewer, and from there, emotion just oozes.
A Timberland ad on Iben's reel, titled "Anthem," out of The Martin Agency and directed by Ralf Schmerberg, may be the best example of her style. A video collage - mostly of people experiencing the North American countryside - is set to Cat Stevens' "The Wind." Whether taking in scenery or challenging it; grouped, coupled or alone; warm, mild or frigid; each scene has weight, as if you are peeking in on a moment of self-discovery. "In the Timberland spot, you don't really know why you're feeling something," she says. "It's not so obvious, and that's nice. There is something big and something small about that spot."
A Rolling Rock commercial for McCann-Erickson/New York, "Diablo,"directed by Todd Philips, shows how Iben's cuts will sometimes mirror the subject. The spot follows frenetic basement musician Jai Diablo as an example of the tagline, "Unsellout." "I was trying to get into Diablo himself," Iben explains. "When he speaks, he's all over the place, so I chose to edit like that. He's talking, then he's driving, then he's playing an instrument, then he's in the bathtub - then it stops and he's playing one long note on the keyboard."
Iben considers it her challenge to slice through a complex culture and give people something they can relate to. "There is so much chaos going on in the media; I think in order for people to deal with it all, they tend to shut down. People can become a little bit numb, so today, more than ever, whether it's a TV show, an interview or a commercial, if it allows someone to feel, then I guess I have done my job."