Becoming an Assistant Editor

I am an editor turned flame assistant, and while I’ve enjoyed the trajectory of working for a post house specializing in commercial work. I’ve wanted to work as an assistant editor for a post house since graduating college 4 years ago. The key to success in this industry is specialization, but I’ve found it to be tough, since I end up pidgeonholing myself.

So is it worth staying in this Flame path for a few years then transitioning to assistant editor work? The main hurdle is that AE jobs aren’t advertised so making a full search would involve cold emails, which could be a bad look for a current assist.

I’ve also found that many AEs/Editors worked there way up from the bottom. I’m wondering if there’s a way to get in to a shop that does finishing and then shift to editorial.

Thanks for any insight you can give.

That’s a good question. Personally if you want to edit, I wouldn’t waste time or energy doing Flame or anything else starting now, beyond of course bringing in the income until you’ve fully made the transition.

I’d say let the places and people you know be aware of what you really want to do right away, and if they already value your work doing Flame stuff, they’ll value you even more doing what you want to do.


I think it’s best to go for the Assistant Editor role now vs. working out a deal to transition from Flame Assist to AE at a new place. Flame Assistants are harder to come by so it’s a hard sell. However, depending on your relationships at your current spot it could work!

The good news is a lot of your skills are transferable to an AE role!


There are small shops out there that may have a need for someone who swings both ways. One of our edit assists is also quite proficient in colour, has a good understanding of colour science, and can step up as an IT person. Sometimes you need to find a place that suits you and build your niche. Our company is about 22 people on 2 coasts.


I think if you can do anything useful in flame you’re already more useful than most assistant editors and you should just use that as your entry point to jump ship. An assistant editor that can help do some rough comps to sell an edit is a great asset and if you can do that you’re not going to get much else out of staying as a Flame assist.

The longer you stay in Flame vs edit is just going to make it harder to move in my work experience. It’s easy to get stuck.