Displaying Fortitude: with a specialty in editing music videos, this LA boutique looks to branch out into all types of projects.

Displaying Fortitude: with a specialty in editing music videos, this LA boutique looks to branch out into all types of projects.

Matthew Armstrong

LOS ANGELES — You don’t have to look beyond recently formed edit house Fortitude Editorial for proof that reputation matters, and a strong reputation can translate into a healthy business.

Fortitude (www.fortitudeeditorial.com) opened in February with plenty of equipment, financial backing and the reputation of editor Mario Mares, known primarily for his music video work. President/editor Mares began his career in 1997 at Rock Paper Scissors as a PA. He immediately took a liking to editing and with encouragement from editor Angus Wall he got his first opportunity cutting a Scott Bibo-directed music video, Oh, La La, for Wise Guys.

From there his career was launched, and he put in time at a variety of Los Angeles-based edit houses over the years, including Sunset Digital, working with such top directors as Bryan Barber, David La Chapelle, Liz Friedlander, Mr. Hahn, the Malloys and Marc Webb, and with Eminem and Philip Atwell on their co-directed video for Favorite Song by Obie Trice.

Fortitude producer Misty Martin says Mares started getting a lot of recognition a couple years ago for doing high-profile music videos–he has three MVPA nominations and one MVPA Best Editor of the Year Award for Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River, directed by Francis Lawrence. “He was doing so well that he needed to branch out on his own,” she reports.

About a year ago, Mares contacted former Sunset Digital co-worker Chris Tayag, who had set up a business renting out editorial workstations and building systems in other facilities, about going out on his own. Tayag quickly agreed to provide money and equipment; Fortitude opened its doors just down the hall from Tayag’s Avid rental business Go Edit.

THE SPACE

Fortitude has eight offline suites featuring Avid Meridiens and one online suite powered by Avid Symphony, While Tayag is the silent owner in Fortitude, there are instances where both his rental business and Fortitude work in conjunction.

“We just did a Marilyn Manson job and Manson didn’t want to leave his home,” says Martin. “We had Chris build an editing system at his house and we then sent an editor over there to cut for a week. So it works out having Chris attached to us. He’s strictly renting out systems and doing tech support with his business, so anything we need he can help us with.”

PEOPLE & PROJECTS

Since opening Fortitude, two more editors have been added, Nathan Cox and Colin Woods. Cox is a director/editor of music videos with editorial credits, including Points of Authority by Linkin Park and M & M by Blink 182. The addition of Cox bolsters Fortitude’s already solid music video prowess; Woods attracts commercial clients with spot credits such as Monastery for Victoria’s Secret and Surf’s Up for Nissan Armada.

“The reason we brought Colin in was to bring in commercials,” says Martin. “We didn’t want to get locked into one thing–music videos: Even though Mario has done commercials, the phone’s always ringing off the hook for music videos.” Mares is also currently exploring opportunities to edit features.

While the addition of Woods helps to diversify Fortitude’s business, it still relies heavily on music videos, but those budgets are traditionally small.

Martin acknowledges the lower rates for videos as compared to commercials and recognizes the need to add other editors in the future with different editorial backgrounds. Still she notes. “If you do enough music videos you can definitely keep the business going, and with Mario, clients will pay more to get him on the job.”

Fortitude also works with freelance editors and plans to add staff in the near future, eventually filling all eight of its offline suites.

“We want each editor that we bring in to have their own style and specialty so we can customize jobs to a particular editor’s strengths,” says Martin. Adding editors with different backgrounds and expertise will allow Fortitude to sell their ability to handle any kind of project, says Martin, as well as benefit all their editors creatively.

“Having different kinds of projects come through here definitely makes it more fun,” explains Martin. “When you talk with an editor, they don’t want to be locked into one thing. It scares them to build up a reputation of being really good at one thing because then they hardly get any other type of work and they feel stagnant in their careers.”

Getting the right mix of editors will be the trick, says Martin. “If you’ve got the talent, people will come. Directors affect everything. If an editor develops a relation-ship with a director, whatever that director is working on they’re going to bring it back to their editor because they don’t want to take any chances. And when a director finds an editor that understands them and understands what they’re looking for, they’ll come back a million times. Almost all of our business today is repeat clients.”

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COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group