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Trainee or Uber-experience

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Rich Rubasch
Trainee or Uber-experience
on Feb 27, 2011 at 1:34:31 am

If you were a growing video production company looking for an editor would you opt for the entry level editor with some skills that you can train (lower salary, cost of training) or would you just negotiate for a top notch editor that can sit down and start cutting?

Thoughts?

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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grinner hester
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Feb 27, 2011 at 4:53:01 pm

I hate to say it because times are tough, things have been slow, and I've been slinging reels and resumes around only to hear I am over qualified or can't be afforded. That said, I'd sooner hire 3 eager youngans for the same salary as a veteran editor any day. A: let's face it, we can teach a monkey what the buttons do. B: they don't have to be at scouts or the soccer field by 5:30. You can work their asses off and they are happy as a lark. C: They don't yet have opinions or habbits... you can train em to your work flow.
I do realize there is a great worth in vast experience. I have that in my shop though.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Feb 28, 2011 at 3:18:22 pm

If you dispassionately graphed the two choices on a time vs. money axis, the experienced cutter works faster to get get to the same level of quality, versus the noob. His productivity is higher.

This means the jobs take fewer hours overall, and you can then decide to schedule more of them, or give customers a more reasonable rate than some other shop that consistently takes longer to do the same work. The noob carries more risk of needing make-goods and "do-overs" and will take longer. You say, "so what if he takes longer, I'm billing by the hour, that's MORE money". Yes, to a point. But it doesn't take very long for that kind of thing to wind up in more costs than profit, if you're constantly running into overtime.

Normally the experienced cutter costs more than the noob up front, but these are tight times, there's a surplus of talent, and wages are depressed, so the exprienced guy might be had for somewhat less than normal wages. This also makes him or her a steal.

The noob may not have a fully-developed sense of aesthetics of the cut yet: in some more basic jobs this won't matter, but in anything where the job requires more creativity/artistry than simple cutting for time, or a wider variety of aesthetic tools, the experienced guy or gal should have an expanded sense of how best to tell the story or best realize what a director was going for on a shot. Being able to apply that talent on demand under deadline is the essence of why you hired him.

I would say then to hire the most experienced cutter you can afford right now, and bring on a noob as an intern or editing assistant to shadow this "rock star", learn all his or her tricks, and osmose enough of the job to eventually become as useful as the pro. A good team works on building their bench all along every season, even as the heavy hitter is in his prime, because nobody stays on top forever, and without a bench, if the heavy hitter is suddenly out of commission, you're out of the game.


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Feb 28, 2011 at 4:26:26 pm

I think you need to be honest with yourself.... are you a control freak who wants to monitor
and tweek everything that goes out the door to your liking? If so your better off with a few kids,
because that will wear thin with an experienced person real quick.

Or are you looking for people that can just do the job and you don't have to look over there shoulder
every few mins?

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:51:34 am

Like others have said, it really depends on your needs and what you are looking for. Young bucks, even hot shot young bucks, are going to need a lot of hand holding. This is doubly true if you do broadcast work because that is a massive black hole in knowledge that schools don't teach and you can't pick up on your own. If you are going straight to the web it's not as big a deal if the editor doesn't know what 'broadcast legal' means or what video fields are.


-Andrew

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



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Andrew Rendell
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 1, 2011 at 2:36:44 pm

In a way, what you need depends on what you need! A place I used to work at had 2 very experienced guys, 2 "improvers" and one junior (not exactly a trainee, but first editing job). That worked pretty well, but you have to be a certain size before it's worth employing that many. Young and keen is good as long as there's someone experienced around, but don't forget that a few of us are still young and keen in attitude even after 20 years of cutting...


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:00:01 pm

I really like what Andrew said.
Couple of things I would ad is a lot of the ratio of noobs to experience has a lot to do with the type of client, and the working environment. There may be some decent 'wet behind the ears' editors that might have a tempting reel, but I don't want them spending hours in the bay with some clients. Seems like there are a lot of youngsters out there that don't really have a handle on etiquette. This may not matter if it is the type of gig where you just turn them loose on a project solo.
And if you are going to have more than one editor, get your experience in place first. And if your only going to have one, I'd say go experience, since if your going to be that small they will have a bigger impact on your operation.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Mark Suszko
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:05:49 pm

One more point in favor of experience is, that your editors often work in close partnership with the clients, thus need great interpersonal skills to be your company's "ambassador".

They need to know how to communicate technical info to clients in a way they can understand, as well as how to interpret the inarticulate musings of clients into actionable orders to execute on a timeline. They need to know how to keep a session flowing and moving along under deadline, when the client wants to preview the same graphic in each of 127 shades of yellow.

The older editor who has done this job longer will naturally have these skills already built and well-developed, whereas a noob may need more coaching and may have a few bad patches where theymget a client riled by accident, especially in dealing with the more "challenging" types of client, aka "grinders" or just plain psycos.


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 2, 2011 at 9:59:46 pm

See, you're all thinking here, and creating another solid COW thread on an important topic. Thanks all...

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 2, 2011 at 10:02:40 pm

Now you're bound by custom to report back what the final decision was.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Trainee or Uber-experience
on Mar 3, 2011 at 2:32:45 am

[Rich Rubasch] "If you were a growing video production company looking for an editor would you opt for the entry level editor with some skills that you can train (lower salary, cost of training) or would you just negotiate for a top notch editor that can sit down and start cutting?"

I'll offer a few loosely thoughts I didn't see mentioned elsewhere in the thread:

Will the top-notch, experienced editor bring new business over? This will affect both his or her worth to you and his or her potential compensation.

What's the current culture of your company, and what do you want the culture to be? Will your new hire get you closer to or farther from the culture you want?

What's the attitude and current situation of the potential hire? It can be hard to transition from years of freelance to a staff position, and it can be equally hard to transition from college to a staff position. I think this ties back to the culture question.

Personally, I'm a big believer in hiring for personality (which you can't change with training), then training if necessary to fill in skill gaps.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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