During her 17 years in post production, Editor Andrea Mendoza has worked between Austin and New York, building up a diverse portfolio of both English and Spanish language work for brands such as Snickers, McDonalds, AARP, and AT&T. Having recently joined TBD Post in their newly expanded facility, she shares her career highlights and why Austin should be on your radar.
Q> How did you get into editing? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Andrea Mendoza> I got into editing in college. I loved being in this dark room and creating stories from all these pieces of film. At the time, it was all linear editing so it felt reminiscent of making a mix tape, which I loved. In my senior year, I went to New York for an editing seminar, and ended up working as a receptionist at a production company. After graduating, I went back as an office PA and I got to go in the vault making director’s reels. That’s when I realised I wanted to get into post production.
Q> Where did you start out?
AM> I started at Ohio Edit and worked my way up to Assistant Editor, before freelancing. I came to Austin in 2003 to be Assistant Editor at charlieuniformtango. The initial plan was to freelance, but one job turned into another, and I ended up staying for 11 years!
My editor then left to form Beast Austin and I went with him, but after a year I’d decided I wanted to move up from assistant level. I returned to charlieuniformtango where they supported me as an editor and I stayed there for seven years. It was during that time that I met my wife. There wasn’t a whole lot in Austin for her profession and I was getting antsy for a new challenge, so we moved to New York. There I met Elizabeth Krajewski EP at Cutters and we hit it off. I was at Cutters for three years from 2014 until now. It was a great experience and I learned so much from the work and the people.
Q> You’re back in Austin now with TBD, did you miss it?
AM> I never intended to leave New York, but I initially came to Austin in 2003 because I knew there was a big commercial hub and I also have family living here. Once I got here, I fell in love with the city. It was all patios and margaritas; I thought: “This is great, I think I’ll camp out here!” People joke that Austin is where young people go to retire. It’s got this special vibe where people still work really hard and have ambition, but it also has great quality of life. It’s the best of both worlds. I loved being in New York but Austin has such an awesome draw, which motivated our more recent return.
Q> Your work spans both the Hispanic and English-language markets. How did you get into this and is it something you’ll continue to work on at TBD?
AM> The first time I moved to Austin, Spanish-language work was really taking off. I’m fourth generation Mexican, and while I’m not 100% fluent, I’ve got a fairly good understanding of the language and culture. I’ve studied abroad in Salamanca and in Costa Rica.
There’s a certain humour that’s particular to Spanish culture, and certain stories that every Latina kid knows - a shared language. In the U.S., particularly in Texas, there’s a big market for Hispanic advertising, it’s definitely something I hope to continue doing at TBD.
Q> I also hear you’re a skilled photographer. How long have you been interested in photography?
AM> Photography has always been a big passion of mine. My interest really skyrocketed when I moved to New York. Everywhere looks like a picture, and it’s inspiring as a photographer. Editing is definitely my priority and my career, but I still always carry a camera with me!
Q> What films in your career are you most proud of?
AM> I really love the AARP commercials featuring Betty White. I worked on them with my friend and copywriter, Andrea Minze, and it was a really fun experience. I got to chat with Betty, who’s a comedic genius and a true professional.
More recently, I’ve worked on a commercial aiming to recruit more female firefighters to the FDNY (Fire Department New York). The fire department in New York is quite difficult to join as a woman, mainly because it’s not actively encouraged or advertised. As a result, the numbers of female recruits are very low. We did it pro bono. The director, Mai Iskander, is a big advocate for women and a very talented cinematographer and director. It’s nice to have the opportunity to give back, and I’d love to work on more community-oriented projects like that.
Q> On the topic of lack of female recruits, I’ve always found it’s rare to find female editors. Having worked in post-production for so long, would you agree with this? How would you say the industry has changed since you started?
AM> The conversation about lack of female editors is something I’ve actually been involved with recently. I went to an AICE Round Table in New York with around 15 other female editors and Rachelle Madden, Executive Director of AICE. It’s actually the first Round Table they’ve held for female editors which kind of shows a lack of female presence. There are challenges for female editors in advertising as it’s always been a bit of a boy’s club. We’re often competing with each other, so it was cool to sit down and have an honest discussion about the industry, to hear their perspectives and who their mentors were. I want to help that conversation continue. It’s definitely something I can see expanding to other markets.
Q> What attracted you to working with TBD? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
AM> I was introduced to TBD Post through a friend of mine. Friends and clients kept recommending them, so I thought I’d better check them out! Aside from looking forward to working with the whole team, I’m definitely excited to edit in the newly expanded facility. The space is awesome, and I can’t wait to watch movies in those badass theatres!