I'm just so mad!!!
Hello all this is my Rant I apologize in advance...
I payed 60,000$ to go school (I'm in debt) I bought a edit system for 5,500$ dollars, I have a bachelors, I have real work on my reel not just student stuff I did videos and shows for TLC, Discovery etc. Now I was laid off 5 months ago from my Post-House and since then can someone tell me why EVERY freakin person that contacts me to edit thinks its okay not to pay for my services. I'm getting really sick of this. I had to take up a Day Labor job (digging holes) just so I could stay in Los Angeles and attempt to find paying work. This was five months ago. I'm seriously ready to just SCREAM Angry e-mails back to these people (Don't worry i never would burn bridges like that) Honestly what are peoples deals? I would understand if I was a student and had no decent stuff on my Reel but these people see that I've done professional work and still ask me to work for free. I feel this is a slap to my face. In short what do I say to a person who wants me to edit something for free thats not a quick turn around (this one guy wanted me to do a 120min feature for nothing but copy and credit. How are you suppose to live on "copy and Credit"? I mean what's the best say to someone "Hey Pay me for the skill I invested 1000s of dollars into please!" I'm ranting I know I'm just done with day labor I wasting all my education I paid for. Anyone please give me some advice? Again I'm sorry for ranting I'm just so mad.
I feel for ya, pal. But let me say, despite what they think there, LA is not The World. It may be time to expand the range of where you're looking for projects. Nit saying to be less fussy about work you take on. Only that there is a lot of work out there that needs doing, payiong work, and it's not all features. I think it is mostly a question of networking.
First off, congrats on working on some projects for TLC and Discovery.
Mark has some great advice. I would give the "Jobs Offered - High Pay" and "Jobs Wanted" forum a try. Try a user group in your area if there is one. In the end, it really is all about networking. Best of luck and I hope you find work soon.
Salt Lake Video
Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2
It's difficult. Editing in L.A. has become like acting: an over-saturated market and a belief that people do it for the love of the craft and not the paycheck.
Look at it like this: The people who offer unpaid work only exist because the cost of "film making" has plummeted in recent years, so anyone can make a movie now. A few years ago these people would not have existed and you wouldn't have had anyone to rant against. Instead there'd be silence and "no work"
These people are here to stay unfortunately.
60k on school and 5k for gear is bass ackwards. Other way around and you'd be ok with a nice edit suite.
Your schooling does not make you anymore marketable. Just makes you a student and that'll gat ya intern wages to start off with...same as without the schooling. I'm not saying you waisted that time and money but I can think of better ways to spend both.
They guys who went to work when you went to school have 4 years on ya. Start small and work up fast, man.
Depends what school one attends. After I graduated film school, I followed the auteur theory. Other graduates are working full time in the biz.
If you're in LA and not cranking out narratives, my question is: Why not make that IMDB profile a mile long?
I've had several employees over the years who have stayed with me long enough to learn something about production...then they moved to LA and got the opportunity to fix copiers and sell insurance...
I also have lots of friends who have made a very fine career on the west coast.
I think the micro-filmmaker "revolution" has definitely created some casualties, and one is that there is now somebody with FCP on a Mac about every 100 yards in all but the smallest towns in the country and if you don't work for free, someone else will...it'll likely be a train wreck and not get done at the quality level or in the timeframe the producer had planned on, but somehow they'll probably not arrive at the conclusion that you get what you pay for...just that they picked the wrong free guy.(girl)
I've said for years that the corporate market is far more stable than entertainment if workload is what you're interested in...but our current economy has made even that a false statement.
If you want to get some chops and stay in LA, you might have to carefully choose a Pro Bono project that you could get some marketing payback on...and keep plugging away.
BTW: Even the clients who you are theoretically working for for pay are paying extremely long term these days...I have several projects that certainly FEEL Pro Bono at the moment...
Greg, you might find this thread of interest as well: http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/12/856205
Salt Lake Video
Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2
Does'nt matter anymore I did my taxes I'm F&%Ked I;; be moving out in the next two months unless I find (at this point) ANY JOB!!!!!
You can't spend 60k in 4 years with no profits and expect to be in the green anytime soon, man.
You may have over estimated the income level of today's intern.
How's your reel lookin'? This is what will land you paying gigs, not that 60k degree you are starting to question. Polish that bad boy up and get to cold-callin'. Be ready to move if you have to. Do it for a job that works ya way too long for way too little pay. You will learn more at that job than you did paying to go to school. Every other year or so, step up to a higher paying job. You'll be up to 60 a year in a hand full of years and with any luck, can pay off that student loan within a decade or two.
I'm sorry to laugh but 60k on a education in this field?
I'd only spend that on a field that garantees a return. You'll start at the same rate you would have with no education at all so hop off the internet and get to work, man.
I went to columbia college hollywood a "Film making" school I wanted to be a producer and realized that its a long hard poor road to go down so I focused on learning Software programs so I could get work. One quarter at Columbia cost 5,200 dollars and thats not including living expensives. It wasn't until my last year I had realized I had pissed all my money into this crap school. I laugh at it to. 60,000 is a lot of money.
Just to summarize, you are the most competitive market in the world, which also happens to be a place where the demand has decreased the most in the last few years and likely one where the rent is also in the record $$$.
I know what I would do... even 500 miles north should help, I'll buy you a beer.
San Francisco - Bay Area
Lots of people bashing film school on here, but allow me to defend it. You can't go to Columbia and then walk over to LA with a degree and some cable TV footage and say "work please!". You will get nada. What has been said before is true in the sense that, the market is flooded with yuppies who have macs and final cut installed. and on top of that, the market is flooded with Film school students. If you choose to go to film school in this society you have to realize that you aren't paying 60,000 for a degree, you are paying for two things. Training in your field and connections. If all your connections are on the east coast in Columbia than it sounds like you aren't going to have much luck on the west coast. The Columbia name is great for most any job and will most likely get you jobs. just not in film. sorry. It's bad that no one there told you, or that you weren't able to network. Just my opinion.
everyone has their hard time! just hang in there ! the good time will come. There is always other states full of oppurtunities
I don't think anyone enters school thinking they'll leave with connections. Man I hope not.
I think most understand first hand experience is best gotten first hand too.
Film schools are where rebels go when dad is stern in making them go to college.
...and is willing to pay for it.
Films are made by those who wanted to make films instead.
I would also defend film school. I spent way more than 60k (maybe twice that) on 7 years of film/broadcast schooling in total. But I also took the approach of "get as many internships as possible" during that time. I knew I wasn't getting paid, but my resume and reel were building and experience is worth gold. On the plus side, you do meet people and find connections, and can learn a lot from your professors (I've had the privilege of learning from and working with Oscar & Emmy winners, a top iMax producer, and many other skilled professionals). Sure I could have just simply pursued a trade without schooling and saved my money. I probably would have become very strong at one particular niche of the field (which is fine), whereas school offered me a well-rounded assortment of skills. In the end, finding jobs was easier for me because I acquired a handful of marketable skills. If one is convinced that they're only an editor, they may be missing out on other important jobs to be filled in the industry and opportunities to expand their knowledge and marketability.
I agree. And the most important "skill" is aesthetics. Hamlet said it best, "Aye truly, the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into its likeness."
I graduated from Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2005. I had three internships, and a killer reel, and entre into a very competitive market.
Now, I live in Tahoe, where someone bought me $60k in production equipment and bought me $1.2M in distribution equipment. Because my reel is so kickass, a Pulitizer prize nominated playwright gave me the rights to one of his stories. I'm currently finishing the audio.
At AAU, SF, it was very plain from the get-go: You need a reel. You need internships. You need a career.
You spent six figures on a broadcast education?
Well college ain't cheap these days - 4 years film/broadcast for a bachelors, 3 years film/electronic media for an MFA certificate, which allows me to teach at the university level. The way I look at it, if the video biz gets tough down the road, I have a second career option - and I enjoy teaching. It's a pricey avenue to go down, but I'm already making twice as much as I would have expected just a few years out of school... education is an investment, not wasted money.
If you had fun, it was not waisted.
I don't want to take anything away from a fine education but most can teach at the university level, even with just an AA. They look for "or equal experience" in many cases.
Again, I am in no way against a good education. I just don't want a whole young generation going and then expecting a gig as a result. You'll be cold-calling just like the guy who got a 4 year head start on ya in this field.
All that said, my dad had hell gettin me to go to college and that poor guy just could not get me out after that. lol I got one AA, had fun, stayed, got another, met some sweet chicks so I stayed some more, got another, started teaching there... lol
career student. It was fun. It was easy. I was comfy. Had they not booted me out of the nest, I surely would have stayed.
...which is why I call and thank em every now and again.
Fun indeed. Was it required for my career? Sure was at the time, man. There was no place else I could learn how to edit. Is it required today? shooot. Premiere and a DVD burner can hook a brother up with a reel that will get him hired.
[grinner hester] "but most can teach at the university level, even with just an AA."
That's categorically false. A fully accredited University requires a PhD as a professor and a Masters as a Lecturer. Some low-level undergraduate courses require a BA and are taught by Teacher Assistants, who are being guided by Tenured Professors and experienced Lecturer/Mentors--while the TA works through the grad program.
$60k/4 years = $15k/year/12months = $1,250 month.
ya I know the drill I did internships I have a good reel. Actually one of my teachers the last quarter i went to school told me to pick a new career. I'm happy for the Taho guy who got all these lucky breaks. I've meet a dozen editors that I could edit circles around but they new the right people. I did over a dozen internships and I they did help me (at that time) but when I started getting more stuff on my reel and started getting paid to edit I stopped cause I didn't need a student quality feature on my reel. It just sucks I've had the worst luck these last 5 months. All my connections at school are looking out for numero uno and who can blame them. 4 of my editing teachers say they have nothing for me and 1 teacher even flat out denied me an interview at his post house because I was currently taking a class with him. I'm a nice social professional guy who happens to know allot about computers and editing. thanks to all you responded to this post I just needed to "scream" in a way to vent my anger. Below is my website if any of you have suggestions please email me.
Over a dozen interships that didn't turn into paying jobs? Dude, something aint right.
I went in, painted walls and hung shelves where I had to but made sure it turned into a paying job.
Please don't look at teachers as connections in the industry, man. I dare say, if they had conections, they'd be working in the industry.
My suggestion is be humble. Expect nothing but don't settle for it. Get out there and take out the freakin trash if you have to but get your foot in the door at the place you want to be. Work for way too little for much too long, climbing ladders not when you want to but when you have to. You'll find in this industry, when you get married, you'll probably have to move onward and upward. With the birth of every child you'll need a five-figure raise and since those don't happen, again, you'll move onward and upward.
I moved my family to five states in as many years at one point just salary climbing and ya know what I was at after a decade and a half of this? My salary was just about where your school debt is. You simply overpaid for an education in a field that won't support that... anytime soon, anyway. I started like most here... for free. My first real job at a tv station paid 3 bucks and 35 cents an hour. My first salary job paid much less than that at 18k a year and 80 hour work weeks. Money is not a motivator for this field. There are tie-wearing desk jobs for those motivated by moola.
[Greg] I'm happy for the Taho guy who got all these lucky breaks.
I recommend that you read the Millionaire Mind, you will find the theme of, "The harder I work, the luckier I become." In this case, "Taho guy" saw opportunities others did not, because he was most likely working harder and smarter then others.
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The only breaks I have seen in this industry in 20 years are the ones I have given.
I have a friend I wanted to work with so I trained him and handed him a fine career on a silver platter. In 2 decades of this, this is the only circumstance I have even heard of where a career came to a person, not the other way around.
Ya gotta create your own breaks. Being in the facility of your choice doing free work can do that.
Millionaire Mind is an excellent read, it has helped me re-evaluate my lifestyle.
Sorry to get side tracked. For any one who would like to read The Millionaire Mind you can download it for free at Audible.com. Go to this other thread in the "Free Stuff" forum for more info. http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/250/173
Salt Lake Video
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[Stephen Smith] "I recommend that you read the Millionaire Mind, you will find the theme of, "The harder I work, the luckier I become." In this case, "Taho guy" saw opportunities others did not, because he was most likely working harder and smarter then others. "
While I am a firm believer in making your own luck and knocking on opportunity's door instead of waiting for opportunity to come knocking on mine, some things are just dumb luck. For example, a few years ago a colleague of mine ("Bob") was at a video game store chatting w/the clerk and Bob mentioned that he was a video editor for a site that reviewed video games. The guy behind Bob in line then introduced himself because he was working for a large internet company that was interested into branching out into creating video content catering to gamers. Bob and the guy hit it off and a few months down the road Bob started working for him.
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That's called being the brand and is a crucial part in networking.
Place and time change... be the brand and you are always advertising no matter the environment.
Not great for family picnics but pretty awesome in line at the game store.
Ya I had really bad internships mainly because my supervisor hated his job there and therefore hated being there, that was the case most of the time,another internship the company went under while I was working there. another internship promised me I would have a shot at a in house paid position but when it was up told me they like to see people with College Degrees. I've had the worst luck in internships and know unfortunately i can't afford to do free internships I work full time and have school debt to pay off with interest. I really is a crappy experience all together.
You can get loan deferments.
Here's the truth, man: the reel I watched ain't that good. Not trying to be mean, so please don't take it as such. You might try the demo reel forum and see what critique they can offer. For me, though, I can't tell if you edited the bumpers or if you edited the shows. I would expect to see a sense of story, something a bit longer. As a consumer of motion picture, I want to feel something as much as being informed. I would expect some current techniques, like layering in After Effects and animating a camera. Cool use of mattes and masks.
Regarding me being lucky (the Tahoe guy), my reel has three categories:
-- ads and promotions
-- fictional narrative
-- music videos
Personally speaking, I am most proud of the fictional narratives. They range from 90 seconds to 25 minutes. It is not currently on the internet, but I should get something together.
Another growth industry is Digital Signage Displays. Hopefully you can google that and see what's going on: WalMart, Athletes Foot for example have both started DSD networks where they are selling ad space for about $3.00/CPM (cost per thousand). Someone has to make ALL that content.
I got my current job because, when I was a broadcast editor at a production company, I felt like the "boutique" editing shop was a dying business model, as measured by Return on Capital Employed. So when the digital signage network came my way, I jumped at it.
I'll say it again: Digital Signage Networks.
Thanks for the advice Maybe Ill put some more indy work in there. I do know after effects maybe I make some graphics and throw those in as well. What I meant by you being "lucky" was the fact that you were in the right place at the right time and knew the right people. The fact is someone decided to give you an opportunity to prove yourself (in a paying environment) And I'm really glad that your doing great. Your school is more expensive than mine but worth it . The success rate is though the roof! at AI. I have 2 reels I've done allot of student indy work but its looks really low budget and crappy not good enough to be put on a reel, I only did it to try and network. Like I've said before and have been told It's about making the right connections (which you did) and being in the right place. I've never said my reel was awesome or perfect or the best ever. It's professional work I've done thats actually appeared on Cable television and not at a art house or indy fest, thats basically my pitch to advertise myself as a editor who's worked in a professional broadcast environment, who understands this software, I'm not looking to edit features, My dream was to actually edit trailers at Trailer Park Inc. in hollywood.
Just to clarify: Academy of Art University, San Francisco is not AI, although it has a fine success rate, and it was spendy.
I also am a shameless go-meet-people kind of guy.
[Greg Burke] "allot of student indy work but its looks really low budget and crappy not good enough to be put on a reel,"
That's a golden opportunity, man! You can make that footage look amazing with Apple Color, After Effects, and some sweet sound design and turn it into a 2 minute trailer. Give yourself a professional deadline, too.
Questions to keep in mind for the trailer:
-- Who's the main character?
-- What does he or she need?
-- Who or what is trying to stop him/her?
-- Is this a drama or a comedy?
Two semesters at AAU, SF are called "Demo Reel." Where all we did was put our stuff together and criticize it. I recall one guy, forgot his name, in the class who shot on miniDV in available light. He screened his footage one day, and it was junk. A couple of weeks later he screened it again. It looked amazing. He applied filters galore to the junk-footage, and it took a week to render! Sure looked good, though.
In addition to demo reel, we had a career development center, where folks worked their butts off getting us job interviews. Reels are important, so are resumes. Basically just a page of stuff you've completed and your role on that project.
It sounds like you have a mighty big ax to grind for those who got some schoolin'.
School provides a structured way of learning that teaches fundamentals that many "grassroots" filmmakers lack these days. Things like levels, composition, pacing...Remember--you have to know the rules before you can break them. Just because you have a camera and editing system doesn't mean you can put together a good piece. A good combination of book smarts and street smarts is the best way to make it in the business--and a little luck.
You know what they say--You need the break, but you've got to be ready when that break comes around.
However you make it in this business, it takes knowledge, ability, experience and fortitude. You've got to stick with it and just keep plugging along. I've been doing this for nearly 20 years and I've got to say that there is no ONE right way. Whatever works for you, works for you.
Hang in there man. These are tough times we're currently in across the globe, it's not just an L.A. thing. New York is really rough right now too - it's what happens when Ad Sales/Marketing revenue dries up due to a global recession.
And then of course, as others have mentioned, the proliferation of FCP on macs has turned every rich kid into an "editor" thereby lowering the pay scale for seasoned, professional, editors. Long gone are the days of a hierarchy system where you begin as an Assistant for years until you prove your skill at cutting sequences and then you move up the ladder.
Unfortunately, and feel free to disagree I'm just shooting from the hip here, we seem to have reached a saturation point in our culture where every other person wants to be in the film business, wants to be an editor... but there aren't enough jobs to support the tens of thousands of film students that graduate each year. If we could all be filmmakers and musicians there would be nobody left to collect the garbage, do our taxes, or clean the outside windows of high-rises - it's natural selection. Persevere and you will climb out of the ditch. As I digress, corporate gigs tend to be more steady but less glamorous so definitely try to widen your net. Getting into Hollywood to cut Features is nearly impossible unless you're born into it, know some key players, or have wealthy parents who don't mind supporting you while you work for copy & credit on some Indie Films or Docs to strengthen your resume. For the rest of us, we keep at it, stay positive, get better at our craft for the love of it and hope that luck swings our way one day.
It is a good idea to look at less competitive markets like Tahoe, Chicago (not as bad as LA), Louisiana (believe it or not) and Canada, all still growing.. now that post is done all over the world there are new slowly growing markets. LA has hit a tipping point for post production and very few jobs are being created here.
And yes, get out and network.. one of my favorite recent stories is.. "Bob" goes to clubs a lot. He meets producer "John"..Bob sleeps on Johns couch for a few weeks, they party. Bob gets editing job after a week of learning Final Cut Pro with John. Bob has a house on the beach now.
Why is everyone so down on LA? Sheesh! I've been working here in editing for over 20 years.
I think what the issue is here, is the all too common expectation that many young folks have, after going to school and spending a bunch of money, that somehow they are going land a great job. I can't speak for the rest of the world (commercials, wedding videos, reality Tv, corporate etc) but in features there are two things that count. What you did before and what you are like as a person. The people who are going to hire you are thinking hmm can I stand being in a room with this person for the next 3-6 months? How good was there last film? When you don't have a last film for them to think about you better plan on working for nothing or next too it. That's called on the job training as far as I am concerned.
I don't have a reel for features and nobody ever asks. If they want to see a 5 or 10 minute representation of what I do when I'm cutting a feature then I don't want to work for them. They can watch one of my films.
It's takes a long time to get good at the craft of editing narrative. Maybe you should try getting a job as an assistant. You think you are a good editor and should be paid accordingly, but why should anyone else think so? Are you sure it's not your attitude? I've been working on feature films for a long time. I've only been an editor for about 10 of those years. I learn something new about the craft on every single film.
If your life isn't going the way you planned I suggest taking a look at the responsibility you may have in that? Maybe I'm wrong here but I think that your expectations are not inline with the reality of the your situation. It also doesn't help that at the moment in Los Angeles, I know many many A list editor's that have been out of work for some time.
Life is a series of opportunities, recognizing them, capitalizing on them, and coming to erms with the reality that you bear responsibility for a large part of what happens to you is part of maturing as a professional. Take a deep breath and hard long look at why you are so mad. Maybe you expect too much out of yourself and everyone else.
Good luck to you.
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I also went to Columbia College Hollywood for my degree... i have looked back wondering if i couldn't have spent more time networking there. I basically coasted through because i had a decent job (as a runner at ignition creative) I worked while i was in school, i did just enough to graduate and when i did graduate it didn't change my life at all. While in school i worked my way up and when i graduated i was well on my way to editing for motion picture advertising. I will keep all of my opinions on that school to myself and just try and offer you some advice.
1. you're reel, or anybody else's no matter how good it is (unless you have trailers) will not do you any good getting a job at Trailer Park.
2. Trailer Park is one of the Big Guns... go to LA411.com ... look at the other motion picture advertising companies... find a smaller company and go there first.
3. Be willing to start as a runner. I don't know how much you need to be making but you can easily get an entry level job at one of those places making 25k a year. From there, work every weekend and night cutting spots... if they see you can finish spots they will promote you.
4. Don't hold out for trailers... my editing is mostly in Home Ent. TV Spots. But doing those easily pays as much if not double the 60k for Columbia's "education" every year.
5. The best trailer editors are the ones that have been doing it for decades... as new college graduates (i graduated in 2005) we are the new guns... we can't expect to get those jobs yet. we have to be runners and tape ops and assistants and bottom feeder editors first... but we can do those things and still make enough to pay off school and buy an awesome loft on the westside of los angeles.
Best of luck man,