J.J. Lask

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"Every spot that I cut is like a playoff game, because if you lose, you go home," says J.J. Lask. The 30-year-old editor hasn't gone home yet. In fact, he's going to be spending a lot of time at the office, now that he's just opened his own New York shop, P.S. 260, with John Zieman, formerly of Zap Edit. Lucky he's learned well from masters like Crew Cuts' Chuck Willis and Sherri Margulies, as well as Adam Liebowitz, owner of Go Robot, his most recent haunt. There, Lask edited the Lenard Dorfman-direct IBM "Senegal," for which he nabbed an AICE honor last year. At Crew Cuts, he edited the Lion-winning Charles Schwab "Retirement Home" out of BBDO/N.Y., directed by David Cornell.

"I approach every commercial by what movie it reminds me of," Lask reveals of his game plan. "I try to make every spot bigger than it is. It helps me with the motivation." On the very filmic "Senegal," he says he had The Thin Red Line in mind. Recently he cut some "kickass" Mercedes spots for Merkley Newman Harty, directed by Radical's Alan White (see p. 13). The inspiration there? The Royal Tenenbaums.

The cinematically-minded editor also takes cues from another passion - writing. His novel, On the Road with Judas, is scheduled to be published this summer. "Being an editor is a great way to become a writer and being a writer is great way to become an editor," he notes. "They really complement each other. You're trying to find the diamonds in the rough and make them nice."

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