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Motivation Needed

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Aaron Cadieux
Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 7:16:39 pm

Hey everyone,

I've complained about my job on the Cow many times. I've complained too much as a matter of fact. But I seriously need some advice here. My bosses are out of town on a 2-week trip. I am manning the shop while they're gone. They left me with the task of editing a series of videos on educating the elderly about medication management. All-in-all there's going to be close to 10 hours or more of edited videos when this is all said and done.

Here's the problem . . . I've been here for four years, and been in the video industry for close to a decade, and this is by far the most boring video I've ever had to edit in my career. I've had to edit boring stuff in the past, but this is far and away the worst of the bunch. The script is dull, the subject matter is dull, and I can't seem to motivate myself to stay on task. My mind is wondering non-stop. What have some of you done in the past to get you through a project like this?



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Mark Suszko
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 9:49:55 pm

I look at my credit card bill.

Then the huge collections of pictures of my kids on my office wall.

Cowboy up, son.

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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 10:22:00 pm

Obviously I have to "cowboy up". I don't have any other choice in the matter other than to quit, and that is obviously not an option. Is there anyone else out there who has experience working on long boring projects, that can offer practical advice?

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Dan Archer
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 10:28:40 pm

Aaron, There's not much you can do. I usually make sure to wear something comfy, especially if i am the only one in the office, put on some music i like, play it low enough to be able to hear the audio but high enough that you or your subconcious can hear it and get to it. Take a regular break to smoke or whatever teh get right back at it. its the only way you can make the time go faster, with out the use of illicit drugs, and then who knows how the video would turn out. Good luck

A cut is a cut & a dissolve is a disolve, and not just anybody with a system is a pro.

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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 10:32:11 pm

Thanks man. I'll have to do talk radio and not music. This edit so boring, that music will totally distract me from the edit, even at a low volume. I don't smoke, but maybe I'll start shooting up or something hahaha.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 11:22:52 pm

Jolt cola.
Crunchy foods and snacks.
Avoid dairy.
Don't eat a really heavy dinner, but do drink lots of water.
A full ipod, set for just the instrumental tracks, so you can listen to the dialog you're cutting.
Hourly walk-around break, at least five minutes.
Set the air conditioning to slightly colder.
Don't just sit and munch the treats, promise yourself you can have one fun size candy after x number of edits are done.

And work smart, not hard; use templates and re-cycle effects setups and graphics beds so that you don't have to re-invent the wheel every time. Systematize.
Work those jkl keys and play everything faster than normal but still audible to find edit points.
Don't forget to save often so you have a current backup. Stuff starts to break down after hours more often than during the day.

My edit bay aeron chair knockoff has a Homemedics shiatsu back massager cushion on it, this is the greatest thing since the 3-way color corrector.

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Rick Carhart
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 11:50:58 pm

My advice is taking a break often. Getting up and going for a short walk every hour or so will help. Also, I would advise going for an hour-long bike ride or something substantial for a lunch break. That may help to "reset" yourself to get back to work.

It's tough working on mind-numbing tasks, I know, I've done it. The end of the day is a beautiful thing.

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grinner hester
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 28, 2009 at 11:55:55 pm

You have two options... suck it up or freelance it out. If you are the senior editor there, you have as much say in this as your bosses... who are absent for a spell. They need the final product to be as good as it can be. If you are unable to do that, they need to get it done by someone who is happy to do it. If you have another project to keep you busy, that's what I recomend... put the right artist in front of the right project. If you don't have another project to earn your keep, man crack opan a cold one, roll up your sleeves and git er dun.

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Mike Smith
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 29, 2009 at 11:25:45 am

Plan B - do the stuff just as requested, really fast, so that you can make some time for yourself.

In that time, created between how quickly you were expected to deliver and how much more speedily you've been able to work, do something else.

That could be a personal project, a company demo or promo, or, maybe better, even a better video with a sharper script and a fresher approach out of the visual material you have and what graphics you can create. Maybe it could even be funny as well as powerful Medication compliance matters. Show the results to your bosses, and then maybe to the client if your bosses agree.

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Juris Eksts
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 29, 2009 at 12:15:44 pm

The most important work-related thing my father taught me (He was a painter - decorator and I worked for him during school holidays) was about this very thing!
If you feel it's boring, and time is dragging, then work harder, faster, put more interest into it, concentrate more, find ways to do it quicker, do it more elegantly, beautifully, whatever, and time will pass and the job will get done without noticing it.

DON'T put on music to distract yourself, don't think about other things. That way the job will drag more and more.
Rick's advice about a bike ride or similar is good.
Mike's advice about getting the job done quickly so you can do another project afterwards is the right approach.

Advice given to me from a different source was that - if you feel the job is boring, then it's you that is the boring one, but you can change your attitude and your approach, the job can't change its attitude. It still needs to be done, and deserves to be done well.

There are always interesting things about the way you can cut a sequence, you can learn from every single cut. No cut is ever the same as another, put your creativity back into it.

And have a nice time doing it!


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Marcello Mazzilli
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 29, 2009 at 2:43:59 pm

When I have long repetitive jobs, where no actual creative effort is asked, I try to see it as a factory making a car. So I split up the jobs in even more repetitive steps until my job is more about optimizing, organizing, etc.. than actual editing. One day you separate the clips in bins (ie) and instead of editing the 1st video.. you go on and you do bins of all 10 hours. Then you level all the audios... Then you work only on the first layer syincing audio (or whatever) .. and before you realise it... you are at the end of the job.
It's not very creative.. but it works.. and in these kind of jobs the client (or the boss) will never say "It's to simple or to plain".. he will just be happy to know it's finished. Not always.. but once in a while is nice to have your mind empty for a few days... I like doing colour correction every now and then... At the end of a job.. after the client has seen (and asked me to change) cuts, scenes, coice of footage, etc... there is only that to do.. I take my time, eat snack, listen to radio (music or talk is the same) and relax. If I get a phone call is just a pause and I need no concentration to start again. Working all life like that is fu**ing voring.. but a few days a month.. it's even nice

siRoma di Marcello Mazzilli
Corporate video productions in Italy

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Scott Sheriff
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 30, 2009 at 6:14:52 am

Lots of good tips here.
Mine would be 'work on your mindset'.
Sure it's great to have something, visually stimulating to work on, but the reality of it is that very few have the luxury of only working on 'cool' projects. Being an editor is part art, and part professional trade skill (like plumbing for example). And like all jobs, it isn't always what you want it to be, but as a tradesman you must learn to turn your skills on when needed. There is no 'method' editing, and you shouldn't have to be in the mood in order to edit.
What ever you are working on is someones project, and it means a lot to them, and your motivation should be the pride of being able to use a skill to help your client achieve his goal and tell his story.
I don't want to insult you, but if you find lack of motivation, and the requirement to be constantly stimulated in order to achieve results, being a full time editor may not be for you and there is no shame in this. I have been doing it since the mid 80's, and have seen plenty of people decide that it wasn't for them and move on to something else in the industry.

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Vince Becquiot
Re: Motivation Needed
on Oct 30, 2009 at 3:45:41 pm

You haven't done boring until you've done RX training videos, with guest VO artist: Jim (AKA the guy who qualified since he also happens to be the one to setup the company PA at Christmas parties).

If I posted that video, you would instantly regain consciousness, dim the lights and figure out that your job just ain't that bad.

Did I mention Jim's heavy breathing and slow pace?

If you work with fluorescents, gel them ASAP and shop for some tracks...

Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area

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Kai Cheong
Re: Motivation Needed
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:42:53 pm

I'm with Marcello on this - break the task down into something very rational and organized. It's really a mental game - you just have to accept this is not an inspirational, life-changing, creative edit. Though what you're working on is sort of meaningful - since it's going to be something to help the elderly.

Often, I find that even though THINKING about an icky/long-drawn out edit makes me feel demoralized and frustrated, once you get into the actual task of cutting and splicing, it gets pretty mechanical and automatic. Then time passes and your videos gets built - slowly but surely.

Sometimes, I do get left alone to make certain edits on my own time. And in all honesty, the spirit AND flesh can get pretty unwilling. But it all boils down to knowing you have a job to do and the faster you start it, the quicker you get through it and the more time you get to enjoy [without having the silly edit haunting you at the back of your mind].

Get into the right frame of mind, build up your 'mental set up' time [you can be doing some form of procrastinating here but you know you're just setting up for the job ahead] then fire up your NLE and go at it!

FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
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Bob Cole
Re: Motivation Needed
on Nov 1, 2009 at 2:09:56 pm

[Aaron Cadieux] "I've complained about my job on the Cow many times."

Just a reminder: this is a public forum, and if anyone Googles your name, they can find this post.

There's a lot of great advice in this thread. You could, indeed, just "suck it up," and focus on the craftsmanship side of editing, or work faster, or divide the work so that the management process itself makes it interesting. But if most of your work bores you, it may be a sign. I agree with Scott that there's no shame in moving on if editing is consistently a boring chore. Even if you're really talented, if it doesn't float your boat, move on - it could be the best thing that happens to you.

Only when work regularly draws on all or most of your talents can you be happy in work.

Bob C

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