Owen Plotkin

The Now Corporation, New York

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Owen Plotkin
Owen Plotkin wasn’t kidding when he named his new company Now. The editor is so hesitant to reveal details of his past that he sounds like he must be in a witness protection program. After some nudging, however, Creativity managed to eke out the following details: a very early fascination with Picasso and Jackson Pollock, discovered while taking workshops at MoMA in New York at age 4; an unfinished go at art school and a career as a sculptor before he earned his film school Master’s at NYU. That led to editing fashion jobs with Peter Arnell in Europe before his extended stint at Editing Concepts, where he cut spots for directors like Baker Smith, Noam Murro, Joe Public and Ralf Schmerberg. As impressive as that sounds, Plotkin washes quickly over all of it. He’s more concerned about the "now,” and The Now Corporation, the shop he formed four months ago with executive producer Nancy Finn and editor Nelson Leonard. "I kind of don’t want to talk about the past because I’m kind of going crazy on the now,” he explains. "Your past contributes to who you are and you can bring it to bear on everything you do, but then you have to let it go because it can also hold you back. When you start a project, you try to stay as open as you can. Try to let instincts do their stuff. This is my focus and I’m very excited about the possibilities.”

Hollywood Video "Resurrection"
The possibilities are seemingly vast at Now, which is not just an editorial outfit but a platform for furthering his creative exploits, which include creating video art and curating the downright dazzling "Electrical Retrospectacle,” an annual screening of avant-garde shorts from the late '20s through the '80s. "I’m focused on keeping it diverse because I think that’s what makes whatever you do better,” he believes. The company’s main role, of course, is editing commercials, Plotkin’s undeniable forte. His reel is as expansive as his interests. It includes Cliff Freeman comedy like the recent Fox Sports Net campaign featuring out-of-place un-extreme athletes; the lovably randy Staples "Sno-Bot”; and Hollywood Video "Resurrection,” where, in a perfectly timed moment, a Hollywood clerk crashes a wake to rouse a corpse from eternal rest. There are also MTV-style cuts for the Army, quirky portraiture for Mastercard and cinematic storytelling involving a flea in PBS’ "Circus.” Currently, he’s onto spots for SBC, directed by Alan Coulter, and more Mastercard via Peter Care.

"It’s like swimming and flying,” he says of editing. "You swim with the film, then you fly above it. Then you dive back in again and swim with it.” Come again? Well, when it comes to cutting people-focused work, which makes up much of his reel, "everything you do affects performance. Everything ripples. If it’s a single-take spot, then you’re there to find the moment. If it’s got cuts in it, you’re shaping the performance but you still have to find a way not to fuck it. That’s why you have to swim with it, but fly above to see the shape of the whole thing. Even if it’s a non-linear piece, everything moves in one way, one direction. It still has a beginning and an end, and every step along the way is affecting the next step, and the cumulative effect is what you’re shaping.” In the midst of all this swimming and flying, however, "I think it’s important to stay off balance,” he insists. "Because then you’re open to possibilities. You can’t know it all and have it all figured out. Mistakes, fuckups, taking chances, not being safe, pushing yourself — that makes you a better contributor, makes you more valuable.”

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