Clark Zhu is one of the most recognized and in-demand movie trailer editors right here in Hollywood/Los Angeles. You have seen his work and skills in action, as he has worked on major feature films such as Black Widow, Venom, West Side Story, Free Guy, and has won numerous awards like the Webby Awards, Golden Trailer Awards and the Promax BDA Awards.
With the pandemic still in full-effect, that hasn’t stopped Clark from leaving his mark and still working behind the scenes with all the productions happening, and we caught up with him to learn more about his craft.
1. How has working in Hollywood been as a Trailer Editor during the pandemic?
It is definitely one of the most interesting experiences going through the pandemic – during the beginning of Covid, movie theaters were closed on a global scale and most of the theatrical movie advertising campaigns dried up in an instant. Many trailer houses that do largely theatrical work had a very hard time to get by. But at the same time, the advertising campaigns for most streaming projects such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+ had been growing at incredible speed. The pandemic surely has changed the game for a lot of trailer agencies that I know of – everyone is branching out to do all kinds of stuff instead of focusing on a very specific type of campaigns, like theatrical. On top of that, like everyone else, trailer editors now have the ability to work from home, and that is one of the biggest pros that came out of the pandemic. The trailer industry is known to have long hour work days, and being able to work from home has significantly increased the work life balance and mental health for many of my peers.
2. What new precautions have gone into place for people in your offices and industry?
I would say two things. Security and covid-related health precautions. For security, because of the fact that many of us are working from home instead of working in the office, there are many precautions being taken in order to prevent the footage of the movies and shows we work on from leaking, such as encrypted hard drives and VPN remote systems. And for health precautions, are for the folks who have been working on site – people have been placed into individual rooms and been asked to wear masks and practice social distancing at all times while in the office.
3. What trends happening in Hollywood and entertainment do you see coming up in 2022 and beyond?
One thing is that the streaming war between the current streamers will get more severe. Every streaming service is putting in their content to produce the best content that would attract the most audience. And the quality of the streaming shows right now is so high that they can pretty much compete with a theatrical movie. Disney’s marvel and Star Wars series have been some of the best quality shows I’ve ever seen.
Another thing is that the theatrical windows might become more and more exclusive. It is a sad fact that a lot of the blockbusters these days just don’t make enough money in the cinema anymore. Despite their great quality. Therefore I can see a future where more and more films that were intended for a theatrical release will move to streaming instead.
4. What specific skills does one need to go into trailer editing?
Trailer editing is a very specific skill set that combines the following : the ability to tell an efficient and clear story within 2 minutes, the ability to tease instead of revealing everything, the ability to edit flawlessly on a non-linear editing software, and the ability to design sound and sometimes music in the trailer.
5. What has been one of your favorite trailers to work on?
My favorite memory so far has to be working on the camping for Venom Let There Be Carnage. I am a big fan of Marvel and Spiderman, therefore being able to work on the latest Venom movie has been a blast. Who doesn’t want to see two alien monsters / Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson go head to head? It’s just pure fun!
6. Do you get to watch the full film before public audiences?
Yes, most of the time, I do.
7. What advice would you give to those who may want to pursue a career such as you?
I came from a background of being a YouTube amateur editor who was just editing some trailer mashups for fun when I was young. But the more I edit, the more I learn from the process. So my tip would be, always keep on cutting, no matter what it is. Your skill will improve day by day.
8. When not working, where in LA do you like hanging out?
I’m a die hard asian food fanatic and a fan of boba tea, so I love hanging out in Koreatown. My girlfriend and I go there almost every weekend during the pandemic. We just love all the KBBQ, and diverse kinds of Asian restaurants.