Editors Jason Lewis and Andrew Leggett have joined creative editorial boutique Stitch. Previously Lewis was a freelance editor working at some of L.A.’s top creative agencies, including the award-winning shop 72andSunny, while Leggett joins from Arcade Edit. The announcement was made by Stitch editor and partner Dan Swietlik and EP Mila Davis.
Lewis and Leggett join a roster at Stitch that also includes editors David Checel, Tim Hardy, Leo King, Chris Catanach and Max Windows.
Lewis’ freelance clients included not just agencies but production houses such as PYTKA and the VFX and design studios Brewster Parsons. He got his start at Venice Beach Editorial, the in-house post facility at TBWA\Chiat\Day. During his career he’s worked on such brands as McDonald’s, Activision, PlayStation, Visa, Nissan, and the NFL Network. His work reflects an easy ability to move between styles and genres such as visual storytelling, comedy, performance and dialogue and emotion. He’s also directed a number of short films and spots, several of which he edited.
A Chicago-area native who always wanted to be in the entertainment industry, Lewis cites as evidence his early gig as a production assistant on the raucous “Jerry Springer Show,” which taped in Chicago. After graduating from USC’s film school he replied to an ad on Craigslist for a job in the video department at an ad agency. It turned out to be TBWA\Chiat\Day, where Lewis quickly progressed from working as a dubber to becoming an assistant at its in-house editing studio.
Lewis describes this rapid ascent as something of a fluke: the agency’s legendary creative chief, Lee Clow, was getting the Clio Lifetime Achievement Award, and a video of his career highlights was behind schedule. “They said, ‘Let’s give it to the kid,’ and so I spent the weekend working on a cut,” Lewis recalled. “I showed it to Lee and he liked it. For the next week I had Lee Clow sitting behind me as we worked on this. After it was done, he walked in to Venice Beach and told them, ‘Hire him.’”
During his three years there Lewis worked his way up from assisting to editing before leaving to freelance around town. This tenure gave him valuable experience working closely with agency teams and exposure to a variety of working environments and cultures. For example, he describes his time as Joe Pytka’s in-house editor as “film school meets boot camp. You learned to work fast.”
Leggett has been with Arcade Edit for the past five years, starting as an assistant. Prior to that he was with Beast and its predecessor company, FilmCore, after launching his career at Jigsaw Edit. His work reveals a talent for everything from comedy to documentary storytelling to dramatic narrative, as demonstrated in spots for brands like Samsung, Adobe and Microsoft, among others.
The campaign he edited for Samsung is particularly noteworthy, ranging from emotional to sweetly funny. In “Jay Z Blue,” directed by Mark Romanek, the hip hop superstar is seen talking candidly with producer Rick Rubin about what it’s like to be a husband and father after growing up with no such role model himself. In another, “Swaddle Master,” directed by Michael Downing, a young dad struggles to wrap his baby in a blanket and turns to his Galaxy to find a YouTube video that’ll show him how. (The ‘how-to’ clip he watches was actually shot by Leggett and features his own toddler.)
A native of Memphis, Leggett attended a performing arts high school where he took broadcast production classes. That led to shooting and editing his own BMX videos with his friends, “which is where I fell in love with editing,” he explained.
Fresh out of college he directed and edited his own documentary about a touring rock band, an experience that motivated him to head West and pursue his career full time. Once there he realized his passion lay not so much in production as in post: “I’ve always been drawn to great storytellers,” he said. “I find them fascinating. And that helps explain what I find most gratifying about being an editor. It’s about playing a key role in putting stories together.”
Both editors were attracted to Stitch for a variety of reasons, one being prior working relationships with EP Davis, who joined the studio earlier this year after a lengthy career as an agency producer. Another was the chance to work closely with editor Swietlik. “I’ve always admired and respected Dan’s work, not just in advertising but in feature documentaries,” Lewis said. “I built a good career out of freelance work, but I felt it was time to become part of a larger creative environment and surround myself with like-minded people.”
Leggett, for his part, was drawn to the fact that Stitch is highly supportive of its editors and lets them pursue their passions. “This extends to any work they’re doing that’s outside of what we do for agencies and brands,” he added. “It’s an easygoing creative shop that’s deeply focused on the quality of the work. I’d been talking to Dan for a while, and when Mila joined and I met her, it all fell into place.”