Mattias Evangelista is an editor and director at Lockt - currently based in Los Angeles, California. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mattias got his start in the action-sports world. He specialises in documentary and branded content. As a filmmaker, he strives to tell human stories and brings passion and empathy to every project he works on. Mattias has worked with some of the biggest brands in the industry including; Nike, Facebook, Crown Royal, The North Face, Ford, Under Armor and Oakley.
LBB> The first cut is the deepest: how do you like to start an editing project?
Mattias> Honestly, I don’t have a set process when beginning an edit. Usually I start by going through the footage and chatting with the director. I think that so much of good editing is about feel, so I’m looking for moments that I feel a connection to. Once I find that it's just building from there. Trying to find those moments that evoke emotion.
LBB> Non-editors often think of editing just in technical terms but it’s integral to the emotion and mood of a film. How did you develop that side of your craft?
Mattias> A lot of my inspiration comes from music. With my favourite albums, I feel such a deep connection to them and listening to them is often a very visual and emotional experience for me. I’m always in awe of how much emotion musicians are able to embed in their songs and also how much of themselves is present in their work. It’s my goal to try and create a film that evokes the same emotion that an album does for me. Any ability I have in being able to tap into the emotion and mood of a project I attribute to my upbringing. I’m incredibly grateful for my parents and where I was raised, those experiences inform my approach to filmmaking.
LBB> How important is an understanding of story and the mechanics of story?
Mattias> Story is everything and understanding how to tell a story is what separates you as a filmmaker and as an editor. I still have so much to learn in this department but it’s incredibly motivating for me. I believe that every decision in the filmmaking process should be motivated from the story you’re telling. It’s about character, it’s about world-building and giving the audience something to latch onto and remember. There’s so much power in good storytelling. I believe people want to think and feel something when watching a film and telling a good story is the best way to do that.
LBB> Rhythm and a sense of musicality seem to be intrinsic to good editing – how do you think about the rhythm side of editing, how do you feel out the beats of a scene or a spot? And do you like to cut to music?
Mattias> For me, rhythm is usually motivated by the scene. In terms of music, recently, I’ve been trying to cut more and more without music. Focusing on dialogue and sound design and letting shots speak for themselves. Cutting to music is great, but it also can be a crutch. I believe that if the story and cut are strong enough it will work regardless of what music is used. If music is what’s making your cut or scene work, then something is off. I think music should be utilised as the final element that pushes a scene over the top and gives it the final bit of emotion it needs to become something special.
LBB> In the US we know that editors are much more heavily involved across the post production process than in Europe - what’s your favourite part of that side of the job?
Mattias> I really value the relationship I have with any director. Being able to sit and work side by side is one of my favourite parts of editing. That collaboration and shared connection to the project is infectious and I always learn so much.
LBB> What’s harder to cut around – too much material or not enough?
Mattias> This is a tough question, I’d say too much footage is almost more challenging. It just leaves so much more room for exploration and second-guessing. When there’s multiple ways you can take an edit it’s harder to commit to one path and often I will find myself thinking about the other options as I edit.
LBB> Which commercial projects are you proudest of and why?
Mattias> I worked on a short doc for Nike at the end of 2019. This was my first time working with them and I have always admired the brand’s work. I worked closely with our director and with the creative director at Stept, Adam Rachlitz to understand the ultimate vision for the project so I could do my part to bring that to life. I’m really proud of how that project turned out. The feedback from the client and brand and even more so the love that people had for what they saw on screen.
LBB> There are so many different platforms for film content now, and even in advertising something can last anything from a few seconds to a couple of hours. As an editor, are you seeing a change in the kind of projects you’re getting from brands and agencies?
Mattias> For me, it’s been exciting to see a greater emphasis put on storytelling. I’ve seen many brands producing short, character-driven documentaries and I think that’s a brilliant way to connect with an audience. Traditional formats and lengths are no longer required to tell an impactful story.
Working with content at all lengths for all platforms is also a big reason why our Lockt team has grown so quickly. Our teams were built for this kind of workflow, where we are potentially managing a high volume of deliverables, all at different lengths and formats. This kind of infrastructure ultimately makes my job easier, so I’m grateful for it.
LBB> Who are your editing heroes and why? What films or spots epitomise good editing for you?
Mattias> I’ve been watching a lot of Scorsese movies recently and I’m always impressed by what he and Thelma Schoonmaker do in the edit. The way they play with continuity and pacing creates such a unique feel to the world of the film. Their work feels so ahead of its time. With recent films and TV, Euphoria was a standout to me.
LBB> Have you noticed any trends or changes in commercial editing over recent years?
Mattias> The biggest trend I see is really about length and pacing. Currently, so much work is geared towards social media and happens in 60 seconds or less. Most of the time the edit needs to be shorter and the cuts quicker. I think this has spurred some outstanding work and I’m constantly impressed by what you can pack into 60 seconds.