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Experience Vs. Credentials

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Matt Maltese
Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:37:24 pm

What's more valuable to an editor who is trying to get his foot in the door, a Master's Degree in Comm Arts (I have a bachelors now) or a Six Week Intensive Course with Certification in Final Cut and Avid and help putting together a demo reel? (Manhattan Edit Workshop)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 30, 2009 at 3:03:15 pm

Depends to some extent who's door you're talking about. Old joke:

Q- "What do you say to a guy with a Masters in Com Arts?"
A- "Yes, go ahead and super-size the fries, please."

Now I'm a huge proponent of a liberal-arts and sciences education myself, and respect people that continue learning beyond the basics. However, generally I have found the industry decision-makers on the production end of things care more about demonstrable results and referrals from respected peers than academic credentials. Meaning a killer reel and references often are given more weight over what it says on your diploma. Lord knows I've met enough postgrad types in my career that weren't worth as much as a high school intern for some jobs.

On the Gripping Hand, as it were, if you are positioning yourself for a job higher up the corporate or academic ladder, like an art director or ad account exec, the credentials become more important than the reel. I'm speaking in gross generalities here, of course.

I think it may boil down to, are you trying to be the guy that plans out the campaign, or the guy that has to have completed dubs in hand, ready for the 4 PM fedex pickup, or you're fired. Everybody is somewhere along that spectrum, one end or the other. When you know more precisely what kind of career and job you want, how to get there becomes more obvious. If you're not ready to make that decision yet, fine, but try to sample a little of everything; in that case, more schooling can never hurt, but always, ALWAYS, in company with hands-on practical application. I have a BA in Com/broadcasting, but little of the com-related lectures were of direct use to me back then compared to all the practicum work I did at the campus Tv and radio stations, my own reading, and the internship which really was the "education".


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Rocco Forte
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 30, 2009 at 6:14:03 pm

Part being an editor, I think at least, is building and maintaining constructive and creative relationships with directors. Especially if you edit features or more "artistic" projects. Therefore it would be better to attain a more worldy education, travel and generally become a more interesting person. On the other hand, all of this becomes meaningless when you're hammering out industrials or cutting 10 versions of a trailer to make a nice pay check. I would conclude that work experience is basically far more valuable to an employer than a degree. But an education is more valuable to you as a person; an remember you aren't what you do.



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:06:21 pm

Between school and the work shop my vote is for practical experience. ;)

The typical career path for an editor is starting out as a PA/runner/grunt, then moving up to an Assistant Editor, then moving up to Editor. The more experience you have in a real, professional working environment the better your chances of moving up the ladder.


-A

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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grinner hester
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:15:51 pm

If you wish to teach, a masters will not hurt anything.
If needing to get to work, a good demo will do it, not a certification and not a degree. While college is something I feel should not be missed if given the opportunity, it should be known this is not a field that requires it.
If shoosing between the two options you listed, I get the certification and start building that demo. If given freedom and a grand, I'd buy FCP, build that demo and get started.




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Stephen Smith
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:06:39 am

Everyone has written great advice, I agree. Experience trumps all. I have a Bachelors degree in a related field, I graduated with about 15 people and only 3 of us got "industry" jobs a few months after graduation. My professors made it sound like people would be banging on my door to hire me because of my diploma. Ha. Schools great. I would not change my education for the world, but you need more then a diploma. Experience and drive make the difference.





Stephen Smith
Salt Lake Video

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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Matt Maltese
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 31, 2009 at 3:15:25 pm

Thanks everyone for the great advice!
I will start looking for Assistant Editor jobs right away and if I can't find anything I will intern and continue to build my reel!


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grinner hester
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Jan 31, 2009 at 3:51:30 pm

There is always something to be found. Don't go into expecting to get paid anything. Get your foot in the door pro bono if you have to.
I hung shalves and painted walls to get gigs back in the day.
You have to be there to get a gig when it opens up so I was simply there.




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Trent Whittington
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Feb 1, 2009 at 4:05:35 am

I think if your going to do a degree in the Television/Film world then find out what they are actually TEACHING. I went to three or four film/television schools before I found the one I'm currently at, the reason I chose it was because of how much practical/theory classes there was. Its basically 50/50 which means your not getting swamped with assignments on irrelevant material and putting the theory side of it into practice. I ended up choosing one where I have to catch the train for 2 1/2hrs to and from each day but I know ive got a much better chance of getting a job then staying in the classroom all day. And dont forget that if your at any decent film/television school some are open late so why not stay late after class? play with some lighting plots? play around with cameras? etc. etc.

Just my Two Cents.

Trent Whittington - Currently studying Associate Degree in Digital Television


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John Grote, Jr.
Re: Experience Vs. Credentials
on Feb 4, 2009 at 1:54:34 am

Matt,

I'll take experience any day. I have climbed the ladder to become an editor, from dubber, to assistant editor, to junior editor, to editor and finally to senior editor. I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the DC area and the things that I have learned have been invaluable. Not only how to edit, but client skills as well.

To be honest with you, no one has asked me if I have a degree. I have had a couple of AVID courses along the way, but I could have taught the ones that I had taken. And as for taking courses, I think any education you can get is always invaluable, but don't kid yourself by taking a boat load of classes and think that you are an editor. I have run into this way to many times when I have had to hire freelance editors. I get the "I've taken every AVID course there is", great now that makes you an operator (button pusher) not an editor. I have had to leave my session, because these people had no clue when it came down to actually editing.

So my advice to you is to find a post house or a place that will let you intern or be an assistant editor and learn from the editors there. Try to sit in with a couple of different editor, so that you get a broad idea of how people work and how the work with their clients as well.

Good luck to you.

Cheers,

John

J. Grote, Jr.


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