Lady Gaga Edge of Glory

Google, Gaga and The Edge of Glory

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?: How do you feel having contributed in such a significant way to telling the story of “Little Monsters?”

JD: The love between Gaga and her fans is very real and I wanted to maintain that purity in the spot. I combed the footage for raw, almost awkward moments to show the range and variety of her fan base – if the edit felt too perfect, pretentious or “cute” the fans would have known. At the same time, I hoped to create a story that even those unfamiliar with Gaga would feel. I’m proud to participate in sharing messages like Gaga’s “stay strong” and “believe in yourself” – if it elicited a few goosebumps, then I know I did my job.

?: How does a spot like this one differ from more traditional spots?

JD: Well – this spot differs on so many levels. I guess the biggest difference is how we were dependent on fans to craft the footage…it’s like sitting in the edit room with the script and music approved, hoping the director and production company decide to shoot something. And of course – we had no idea what the fans would make! Gaga is probably the only artist in the world who can ask her fans to create films for a new song and then get 500 responses worldwide in a matter of 2 days. After I found the shots that worked, the challenging process of tracking down those fans began. So no one was out there shooting a storyline or narrative – I had almost complete freedom in combining the puzzle pieces…which feels appropriate for a spot with an artist as creative as Lady Gaga.

?: I love the drama and timing of your edits – the rhythm of how you pieced everything together. Are there any specific moments that really stick with/inspire you?

JD: I listened to Edge of Glory so many times that the drama of the song was always on my mind as I screened the fan films. Finding Laura’s video was amazing – she just went all out and I knew it had to go over one of the bigger parts of the song. I love that she’s in her kitchen dropping to her knees to belt out the song – you instantly love her for just going for it! Another one of my favorite moments is the two young kids dancing at about :24. It was just so awesome how out of sync and yet perfectly in sync they were. Then the sleepy guy doing a little move in front of his fridge and “Grandma Gaga” doing her little jig – I think these are great because no one is really “on” for the camera, they are doing their own little private dances. They are quiet, funny moments that feel really genuine.

And, of course, there are so many great moments with Lady Gaga on the Brooklyn Bridge – I love the fist-pumping Rocky IV meets Pat Benatar energy of it all. But my favorite moment is the last shot where she blows the kiss to camera. As soon as I saw this in the dailies, I knew it had to be the final shot in the commercial. It just felt so perfect: the movement, her smile, how close she was to camera. And ending on this shot after seeing all of her fans in verite style footage really punctuated the honesty and emotion of the story.

?: While we’re on the topic, how do music and storyline influence your editing decisions?

JD:  If I know what type of music will be on a spot, it definitely influences how I select the film. I love to listen to Pandora stations built around the spot I’m editing. Listening to similar music helps me stay focused during the screening process. Although, I don’t think you need to know the music before you start screening – the look of the film can lead you there. Storyline doesn’t influence me as much. I can have a general idea of story, treatment or boards, but my job is to find the best moments and build from there. I’ve always loved Scorsese and Schoonmaker’s style of picking the strongest moments and throwing perfect continuity away.

?: I also happen to know that you are an appreciator of fashion and music. Do you share Lady Gaga’s inspiration from Alexander McQueen?

JD: I do love fashion and music – this is why I knew I had to end up in NYC. One thing I love about Gaga is that everyday is a dress up day and you can most certainly do that here in New York. I might not share her dramatic tendencies, but I do love borrowing from all kinds of fashion in evolving my own style.  And I appreciate the fact that Lady Gaga is always sharing inspiration like Alexander McQueen. Her music and videos definitely show how intertwined they all are.

?: As editor, you are chosen to select what is shown. Are there any quotes/lyrics that particularly moved you in this spot?

JD: “I’m on the edge with you” really inspired me. I think everyone agreed that the spot should be a type of love letter to her fans – which is why we had to put the final shot of Gaga blowing a kiss to her fans. I was particularly moved by one of the first messages Gaga types, “YOU ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL.” It inspired me to show the variety of people who make up the world and the beauty in it. And putting them in a commercial virtually interacting with the hero was an amazing thing – it was definitely “their moment.”

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