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Are Old Editors employable

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Don Walker
Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 18, 2010 at 10:49:33 pm

I am a 49 year old editor/director who's 21 year old son has passed by him in AE and editing skills. I have been in the business since 1981 and a Post Editor since 86. I have done it all; from 2' to DigiBeta CMX, Accom, AVID FCP with some Quantel Harry thrown in (won an regional Emmy with a piece that I did the first time I sat at the Harry) I just finished shooting and posting my first indie film. But I get the sense that I am going to have a harder time finding work because of my age, and the large young talent pool (like my brat son! whom I love dearly) I'm looking for hundreds of old timers to tell me how wrong I am.

John 3:16


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Mark Suszko
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 18, 2010 at 11:24:41 pm

Are you hiring? ;-)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 18, 2010 at 11:35:51 pm

You know the old saw about Guile and experience overcoming youth and skill. This is a business that is very much about building personal relationships and a reputation, and in that, an oldster retains an edge. When I first got into this business, I was the young turk learning to get along with and sometimes oversee co-workers older than myself. That took some time to learn how to do without hurting feelings or insulting skilled help, but I think I did learn it.

And now, many of my clients, and sometimes my temporary bosses, are so young, they hadn't even gotten their driver's licenses when I was already in my second decade of working my profession. That too takes skill to manage well. It also takes some patience to subsume your ego and concentrate on successfully accomplishing the work while getting along with everyone, regardless of their skill levels or experience. When it gets hard, I remind myself of the time I was on the other end of the telescope. Also, that my famuily likes to eat every day:-) Every day is a new chance to practice client/co-worker contact and relationship skills of all kinds. I'm still learning.

But you know, who said you ever had to stop learning? Why not have Junior train you up and keep challenging you to match him? Have you tried collaborating with him on a project? Keep "sharpening the saw" as they say, sharpen it every day, or you start to rust.


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James Dow
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:57:37 pm

When I'm loading up my production kit I now have to remember my bi-focals and/or reading glasses. I can't hear the audio quite as well as I once did, either. And those steadi-cam gigs are now out of the question. And humping gear at 49 and counting sure ain't what it used to be...but like my former co-worker Mark said, never stop learning. This internet machine sure is a great resource. Anybody need an M-Format recorder?

JPD


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 20, 2010 at 2:08:19 am

Don,
This is a thread you should read.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/871440

Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 21, 2010 at 10:11:58 pm

Remember, there will always be a kid who loves every cheesy wipe or move transition in FCP, has a pocketful of plugins and filters, and thus thinks there's nothing left for him to learn, but you know how to tell a story.

It's the difference between being an operator and an editor.


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David Johnson
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 22, 2010 at 3:04:12 am

Don,

I was just going to recommend the same thread that Scott Sheriff did ... there are also other good ones in that forum that are relevant to this subject (which is one I think about too at only 42).

Others who've responded already made very good points such as Alan Lloyd's "the difference between being an operator and an editor". At the same time, it also seems important to consider a point I tried to make in one of those other threads in a slightly different context ... how often do paying clients know or care about the difference between an operator and an editor when it comes time to pay the bill? In other words, "are old[er] editors employable"? In my opinion, absolutely (due to the first point). Will we find it increasingly difficult to compete with younger guys who are able/wiling to work for half our rates? Especially in an environment where everyone has significantly tightened their belts? In my opinion, absolutely (due to the second point).

Obviously not an easy subject, but I for one am glad to see others both thinking about and talking about it.


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Richard Clark
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 23, 2010 at 8:43:02 am

Of course "OLD" editors are employable, I am approaching 70, just turned 67 :) and this past year finished a couple of Indie feature films and a couple of short films and am now working on my own feature length Doc. It's all a question of attitude. I began in film on a Moviola in the 60's and kept evolving, flat beds until 1993 then back to USC where I fearfully embraced AVID and Computers. I designed a whole different console in a custom edit suite for myself in Hollywood and then in 1998, I embraced FCP and felt as though I were back in Film Editing mode. I have continued on FCP ever since and, while it's not perfect, while it's not a great editing tool, it works for me and I am totally comfortable taking on any sized project. I feel the real issue is that true film editors, those who learned the hands on craft of editing film have been taken over by producers who want eye candy and real story telling doesn't need eye candy. Just my thoughts at 9PM on a monday night as I work in my studio.

Richard Clark's kiwicafe.com
Film | Photography | Writing
http://www.kiwicafe.com/
Aotearoa New Zealand


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grinner hester
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 27, 2010 at 9:37:31 pm

I think you know the answer.
Somwhere along the line I went from the young eager editor who was not taken seriously and way underpaid to the overpaid vet who noone listens to because he's a middle aged white guy. Can ya relate?
Bottom line is you'll have to produce turn key videos because any post house will sooner pay 3 of your sons who have no lives or opinions before antying up for your salary. Yes, there is something to be said for experience but that's what you'll bring to the table by offering your onw clients finished videos. Post houses seek MTV watchin, doob smokin' youngans they can work 70 hours a week at an annual salary you and I make in a month. Seek not employment... go grab some gigs.



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Richard Clark
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 28, 2010 at 5:13:59 am

as I said "It's all a question of attitude." I well remember the great New Zealand author, Katherine Kansfield who stated; " listen not to the voices of other but do the hardest thing for you", I still follow that. I pay no mind to what others do or think, keeps me focussed on what I do and think, simple really. Pity our so called leaders couldn't embrace that concept at times :)

Richard Clark's kiwicafe.com
Film | Photography | Writing
http://www.kiwicafe.com/
Aotearoa New Zealand


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Don Walker
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 28, 2010 at 6:12:29 am

Grinner,
That's great advice! (So is everybody else's by the way) Your right in suggesting that the older generation is probably able to deliver the total package better than the younger generation. (pre-production to delivery). And to those of you who said never start learning, I will re-open my Lynda.com account and get busy.
Thanks to All
Don Walker
Texarkana, Texas

John 3:16


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Richard Clark
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Aug 28, 2010 at 6:41:28 am

wow, thanks Don, I had never heard of that site and now i am hooked in two minutes watching Rick Smolan, Photographer, reminds me of my own journey and how I need to share it with others for it to have had any value.

Richard Clark's kiwicafe.com
Film | Photography | Writing
http://www.kiwicafe.com/
Aotearoa New Zealand


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Tom Matthies
Re: Are Old Editors employable
on Sep 3, 2010 at 4:05:00 am

No problems being the "Old Guy"
I'm fortunate in that I like to learn and I learn easily. My wife kids me because any time anything new comes into the house the first thing I do is grab the manual and read it cover to cover. I too came up thru the ranks of floor crew, film editor, ENG editor, Production Editor/Shooter, Convergence, ACE, Grass Valley CMX Omni, Avid, Final Cut and ???. Add to that all the other software, After Effects, Motion and so on. One of the biggest differences in my editing and some kid's is that when I do a cut or an effect I know WHY I'm doing it. Not just because I can do it. There are a LOT of basics that just aren't being taught anymore. I came up through film shooting and editing. Because if this I can PLAN a project better than most. Back in the old days, you had no choice but to plan it out. Few clients would fork over the cash to have you just go out and shoot with a film camera the way you would put out a fire with a hose. Just spray it! I don't think so. There is just no substitute for knowing the basics. And it doesn't hurt to know a lot of the advanced stuff as well. Plus 30 years of learning how to work with clients won't ever hurt you either. One of the most difficult things I'm finding is working with younger producers who are still pretty clueless when it comes to...well, just about anything. Patience is something learned and not forgotten.

I'm 54 and still learning new things everyday and enjoying every bit of it. Bring it on!
Tom

Faster! Better! Cheaper!
Pick any two.


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