When most TV shows halted production this spring amid COVID-19, Jack Klink, a 2015 graduate in film and video studies, seized the opportunity to edit segments for three at-home “Saturday Night Live” episodes.
An innovative filmmaker, cinematographer and editor, Klink had previously worked with “SNL” cast member Chloe Fineman, filming and editing online videos. The two enjoyed collaborating so much that when “SNL” planned a quarantine edition comprised of virtually filmed segments, Fineman and Klink once again joined forces.
“I always was interested in cameras, wanting to play around with them,” Klink says. Growing up in Lafayette, Indiana, he explored filming at a young age, when families in the early 1990s used camcorders to preserve their milestone moments.
At 12, he completed one of his first major projects when Lafayette’s Ninth Street Hill community entered a FamilyFun magazine contest seeking America’s No. 1 neighborhood. They were among the winners, and the magazine even ran a feature on Klink. “That really kicked it off,” he says. “It made me say, “OK, I can do this, and people are paying attention to it.’ ”
By middle school, Klink was filming student choral productions, which led to filming musicals and holiday shows at Lafayette Jefferson High School. When Klink was 15, he bought his first camera and was doing video commercial work for Greater Lafayette that continued into college. “I started forming my company out of high school, and the biggest amount of growth it saw was during my four years at Purdue. I was getting better, learning more and pushing myself to do better work,” he recalls.
At Purdue, Klink learned various aspects of the industry, how it operates and how editors complete feature-length films. “It’s important that colleges give this attention to the arts, specifically video production,” he says. “It’s what everyone is using in business, what every organization is using on social media, and there are lot of jobs out there.”
Through a long professional association with Purdue, he has completed video projects for various schools and departments, including the College of Health and Human Sciences, the Krannert School of Management, and the Office of Admissions.
About two years after graduating, Klink made the giant leap to Los Angeles, where he quickly connected with other artists and adapted to a new environment. “When you’re in Indiana, it feels like the film industry is sort of this distant thing that’s big,” he says. “But when you’re out here, you realize it’s not scary and you can do it.”
Fast forward to spring 2020. With the world on lockdown due to the coronavirus, Fineman asked Klink to virtually edit her segments for the first “SNL” at-home episode. One skit that garnered considerable attention highlighted a MasterClass “quarantine edition” ad that spoofed actor Timothée Chalamet, teen YouTuber JoJo Siwa, and Carol Baskin of “Tiger King” fame.
Both Fineman and the director loved Klink’s work. And when “SNL” scheduled two additional quarantine editions, Klink and Fineman created more skits, including an Airbnb commercial and a second MasterClass spot.
“One of the most exciting things about this whole process was the collaboration and learning how ‘SNL’ operates,” Klink says. “The way Chloe works was very natural and creative. It was a great collaborative process — the back and forth and figuring out how to make the skits the best they could be.”