Jin Di, also known as Dean, or by the nickname Hanzi, is one of the most in-demand editors in the advertising industry in China. Perhaps you’ve seen his works nominated for awards under one of these names, not knowing it’s the same person. Dean works with top creatively driven production companies, contributing to many visually diverse commercial films. SHP met with Dean to talk about commercial film editing, his approach to conscious filmmaking and his ‘ dream’.
Jin Di (英文名Dean, 也被叫做“Hanzi”)是中国广告业内最受欢迎的剪辑师之一。也许你在诸多提名奖项的作品中听过上面的名字，却没有意识到他们其实是同一个人。Dean和很多顶级的创意广告制作公司合作，他的广告作品视觉风格多样。这次，SHP和Dean聊了聊广告剪辑，其有意识的影片制作方法，以及他的梦想
Sitting down with Dean, who has been a commercial film editor for over 14 years, you instantly get the feeling his wealth of knowledge comes with a kinetic energy. This feeling doesn’t come from the hectic, ‘all over the place’ way of expression often characteristic to creatives, but from the many well thought-through ideas that he talks about.
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“Habit prevents you from doing creative things”, says Dean. Dean is very aware of his need to continue experimenting with various ways of expression in order to avoid the pitfall of repetition. Between the client’s brief and other people’s jobs, there are things an editor can’t change, but Dean says it’s important for him to always do something different. “Nowadays some commercials all look alike in some ways — take vehicle commercials for example—the similar style in directing, similar lighting, editing, no matter who directed it”. So Dean’s conscious approach is ensuring he is contributing to different visual storytelling, manipulating the plot to assemble footage into an end product that, if doesn’t break the boundaries of commercial films, at least pushes them a little further. “The Director is like a God of a production. I wish when a film is released people talk about it because of the aesthetics which the director has lead us to accomplish as a collective, rather than breaking it down into individual cinematography work, editing work, production design work, etc.. Being creative is hard, and we inevitably repeat ourselves sometimes. But films can only get better when you realize that. When I was young, I refused a lot of ideas, but being my age now, I accept a lot of different views and people. I accept the truth that we’re all different. It’s the diversity in people that helps me craft my work, polish every second in every single film I do” Dean added.
“The job still has a lot to offer—every 5-7 days you ‘have a new life’, he says, “working with different directors and constantly learning”. It is demanding work too, when focusing on one commercial film, he works 12 intense hours a day before showing it to director, facing deadlines that seem impossible. But he makes it work, taking on responsibility when a crisis emerges, even if sometimes it means testing personal limits and finishing the cut on a train or in a taxi, with no time to rethink or redo while still trying to push the envelope.
Doing 30-40 commercials per year, Dean seems well in his element and restless at the same time. When discussing his dream list, he said it varies and changes in time. Some long time goals have disappeared, while new goals often arise. So now he keeps these goals to himself as he quietly pursues the ones that keep him inspired. But there is one he hesitantly told us about, which is to make his own feature film before he dies. “One film is enough” for him, he said. There’s no Chinese movie he really takes as a reference but admires works of Krzysztof Kieślowski and even took three weeks to travel to Poland, visiting the acclaimed director’s grave, as well as film sets and film schools where Kieslowski, Polanski, and Wajda studied.
每年完成30-40部广告片，“Dean看起来平静不安.” 当谈到他想做的一些事情时， 他说那些东西会经常随着时间变化，在一些渴求已久的东西消失的同时一些新的会填充进来，他没有过于在意这些事情并且讳莫如深。但他告诉过我们一个谨慎的愿望，就是死前完成一个自己的电影，一个就够了。
Dean is aware that dreams only come true from hard work. He has been working on his script for quite some time and still has a long way to go. But he feels hopeful about the project, as he has recently been selected as one of the six students of Krzysztof Piesiewicz film writing workshop 2018. At first, he just applied to meet his idol. But after a few of the writing assignments, something triggered and inspired inside him when he realized he can really write. Learning scriptwriting was the result of a search for new meaning, a quest to widen his views and look at the familiar industry from a different perspective. You can recognize this approach as being similar to how Dean edits, and see it in his dynamic, visually bold works.
This kind of thorough approach to everything he does, balanced with the fast-paced result-driven style of work is not something you come across every day in the industry, and that feature film might become reality sooner than expected.