We had the good fortune of connecting with Joaquin Elizondo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joaquin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My journey to becoming a film and scripted television editor in Hollywood took 15 years. I had spent that time editing everything from news to local commercials to talk shows. I had wanted to work in the film industry ever since I graduated college, but I just didn’t know how to break in. So I stayed in my comfort zone, making money cutting projects that didn’t satisfy me creatively. It wasn’t until my mid-30s that I decided I had enough and was going to do whatever it took to fulfill my dream of being a Hollywood film and television editor. This meant I had to start my career all over again, going back to becoming an assistant editor and sometimes working on projects for free. But I was learning the importance of taking risks, networking, building relationships, seeking communities, and most importantly, finding mentors.
I’m now a full-time editor working on scripted television shows and collaborating with artists I admired for many years. Having gone through this journey to achieving my dream was something I could not have done alone. For many years I had tried to figure out this path by myself and it wasn’t until I sought guidance and support from other people that I was able fulfill my dream. It’s why I created the Hollywood Editing Mentor Program and Podcast, to create a learning resource and community for those people who aspire to be editors or are trying to advance their editing career. As someone who has gone through the challenges of trying to break in to this industry, I created this platform because it is something I wish I had back when I graduated college. It would’ve saved me a lot of time and headaches by giving me practical advice that would lead me down the right career path. I also wanted to shed light on topics that are not typically discussed in film schools, such as navigating the politics of this career, negotiating rates, or finding work. This program and podcast is also a way for me to give back, as many people who I’m lucky to call my friends and mentors, have given me so much along the way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Achieving my dream of working in Hollywood wasn’t easy. I committed a lot of mistakes, went through a lot of rejection, experienced emotional distress, went through periods of self-doubt, and even ran into financial problems. What kept me going was my desire to discover what I was capable of and see how far I could push myself in order to achieve my goals. I believe what sets me apart from others is my patience, discipline, and curiosity. Breaking in to Hollywood can be a long process and many times I thought about quitting. I quickly realized it wasn’t going to happen overnight, but I knew if I stuck with it that I would eventually make it. I developed plans for connecting with people, finding work, and learning new technology. I never stopped working towards my goal, no matter how hard it got. I think people also saw my genuine desire to learn from them that led me to develop great relationships in this industry.
The biggest lessons for me have been to take risks, not be afraid to fail, and to have a voice in the room. It’s these things that held me back from realizing my full potential early on in my career. It took a lot of work and uncomfortable self-exploration that led me to see what was really holding me back from achieving my goals. I now want to pass along my knowledge and experiences to other people in order to motivate and inspire them to pursue their passion.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hanging out with a friend in the city would involve a visit to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, hopefully a concert at the Greek Theater, either an horchata latte at Cafe de Leche or some cold brew at Regent Coffee, a run along the beach in Santa Monica, a couple brewery visits (El Segundo, Highland Park, Indie, Trustworthy), donuts from Sidecar, and the omakase experience at Sushi Gen.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my grandma, who said “Do what makes you happy” when I was in college. It’s what ultimately pushed me to studying film and pursuing a career in the arts. My entire family has always been supportive of my work and career.
Writer/director Cameron Crowe and editor Joi McMillon, ACE emphasized the importance of “not making it about the money.” This showed me that I shouldn’t take just any job for a paycheck and to pick projects that would lead me down the right career path regardless of how much they paid.
Fitness trainer and co-owner of LAKO Boxing Gym in Eagle Rock, Yuichi Ohi, pushed me to my limits and helped me discover what I was truly capable of, both mentally and physically.
All the editors I have assisted and worked with in Hollywood – Monty Degraff, ACE, Garret Donnelly, Jon Otazua, Matt Colonna, Iain Erskine, Hugo Diaz, Zack Arnold, ACE, Julio Perez, ACE, Sasha Dylan Bell – have taught me something different along the way and have supported me in making my way to the edit chair.