This is a bad Industry to be in? A Honest Opinion
Hey all IM not sure if this is the right forum but I didn't see one that fitted my subject matter, That said here it goes....
Is this industry dyeing? I can't help but looking around and I keep finding myself out of work, Its seems that allot of POst Production work doesn't pay very well and some doesn't even pay anything, I've had 2 goods gigs in my 4 years since graduating College, and 1 of those gigs was full time at 20/hour, and the other was 30 hours a week at 15/hourly. I'm young, 26, and allot of older veterans in the industry think differently and tend to tell me "its not the tools clients want, its your creativity and storytelling ability that people want..." I can't help but discredit this opinion, I do know lots of successful editors, and they all happen to be 35+ years of age and have been doing this for 20+ years, or went to high school or college with a Producer/Director/CEO of ______(Insert Company name here). I've done everything right and at this point crawling to a successful career in POST seems, well, bad to bet on, Smaller post houses are disappearing in Los Angeles on a Daily basis, and with FInal Cut X thing and Out sourcing of labor, this just seems like a bad career to pursue, At least right now to me it does. I mean these freelance jobs in 2011 when your 26 seem to pay very little and only last a few weeks, meanwhile it what seems like every other job outside of the POst industry gives, benefits, healthcare, vacation pay, and a Incredible yearly salary in the 40-50k range. I keep thinking should I go back to school for a masters? But I stop myself, cause it seems like thats a natural reaction when you can't make a living of the career you choose, You Think "Maybe if I had a masters I'd get more work or get paid more" But I know thats not the case but my mind keeps telling me to do it. I want to make a honest living, and work for my money I'm not looking to make a million dollars, but when I have to stand in line for $50.00 of Groceries and my Card keeps coming up "Denied" I have to stop and think about MY decisions, and if I've made the wrong or right ones. This post isn't meant to be a rant or troll or a tired kid complaining about stuff, I'm putting it on the Cow cause allot of Professionals who make there living read these forums, and have families, Homes, and don't have to worry about being able to eat the next month. The Whole point of this post is this...I Have a chance to change Careers, It would take 1 year of training, and I would have to focus 100% of my time to it, the problem is its a FAR drive, and The more important thing is I would hate doing it, but its starts at 25.00/hourly. This would be something I commit to and wouldn't be able to back out and do something else. I personally feel the Post World is Flooded and losing steam....fast and in a few years anyone not IN-house will be making 10.00/hourly for GFX/Video/Art freelance work.
In the end I'm just tired of Struggling, I live way below my means, and my Attitude and Optimism are fading everyday more and more...
I wear many hats.
I think that an editor job is 90% feeling (talent) and 10% the tool he chooses to work with so if you are good it's becuse of you. It's not important if you use Avid, FC or Adobe, this are just tools to make our life easier.
The same aplies to other branches of filmaking, you are not a best writer if you use Final Draft or a best AD or Producer if you use Movie Magic (or EP or whatever is called now) you just might work faster.
I agree with you that it's a thought business and that big part of it is about contacts but if you feel that you are good at it then you should be patient and you will break in.
Good luck. :)
THis is a tough industry...don't have any disillusions about that. And lately, making a living...earning GOOD pay, is tough. The talent pool is so huge, people can offer less.
But, that being said, a lot of getting work is NETWORKING. You need people to know you exist. First and foremost producers hire people they have worked with before. And then when they run out of those options, they ask for other editors and producers to recommend people. This is where networking is key. You need to meet and know a lot of other editors, and producers. So when they think of needing someone for a job, they think of you. And so it isn't only knowing them, it is them knowing you can edit with a specific tool, or that you have worked on projects in the past that is of the type they are looking to crew up for. And, they need to know you are good.
If they run out of people they work with, and recommendations, then they put out a call for resumes (realitystaff.com for example)...and they request resumes. When they cull those down to the people who have credits similar to the show they are working on, then they call for examples of your work (demo reels), and if they like what they see, they call you in for an interview. Then, it is all about how well your personalities mess. It is the "likeability" factor. Can they stand to be in the room with you for hours on end. Or to deal with you creatively. Stuff like that.
One good way to get your foot in the door, in Hollywood, is to be an assistant editor. Even if you have edited before, being an assistant is a way to get into a company, and get known. Soon you might be able to move up. Heck, I've taken assistant jobs even though I have edited for years. It got my name, my face, and my personality into the minds of other producers. So when they have something else, they go, "you know what, I really liked that Shane guy. He knew his stuff, and he was fun to be with."
And networking is also more important than skill. I know editors who are darn bad at what they do, but because a producer likes them, they are always employed. Or you might be better, but because they are fun, and do an adequate job, they are kept around.
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This is a glamor business. There are always a ton of people trying to break in. It only pays well for a few. If you are not compelled to stay in it, then change jobs, especially if you don't have family connections that can give you a start. I have a son and I never wanted him to enter this field -- so what did he do, he got into a tougher one, sports. He works 80 hour weeks at a major university for, get this, 6K a year. One day he will have to decide if it's worth it. Only he will know. Only you will know. Good luck.
Welding. Welding is a good job. Always in demand, universally needed, so you can work almost anywhere. You don't have to compete with people that own better welding equipment, and when you learn to weld, you can use pretty much anybody's equipment to do it. The jobs are easy to find in the paper and online or thru temp agencies. You don't have to be exceptionally creative if you don't want to be. Or you could weld art, sculptures and things. Or wheelchairs for the third world. Anything.
What I'm getting at is, people that do this, long-term, don't do it just for the money. They do it *despite* the pay, which is generally low. They do it because it is what they would be doing on their time off, if they had some other day job, like welding. They do it first for love and self-expression, and the money (sometimes) follows. To get ahead in this career requires a lot of drive and sacrifice, a lot of networking and marketing and salesmanship, just to create the opportunity to be the artist or craftsman. That's not for everyone, and there's nothing wrong with that. If this is not a pleasant or tolerable situation for you, then maybe you should look into welding school. Because for every frustrated person on the edge of quitting video editing, there are twenty people waiting for the unhappy one to go, so they can get on with competing for that same job.
It's not an easy path to riches, it never really was, but thanks to changes in technology and the economy, it is, perversely, easier than ever to have inexpensive, powerful tools and harder than ever to find a place that pays a meaningful wage to use them.
Since you are still here, and not applying for welding school, what I would suggest to an entry-level potential career editor is: don't wait for someone to hire you. Hire yourself. Don't look for a job, create your own, by becoming a producer as well as an editor. Creating and financing your own work is perhaps the only way to seize your own destiny in this business. Now, any shmuck can *say* that. It takes an exceptional person to actually make it happen. Someone driven. Someone with persistence. And a little talent can't hurt. But the talent comes into play last, unless you are exceptionally lucky. First comes the salesmanship. You may need to relocate. You may need to settle for less than you feel you deserve, while you build a career. I do know this: that people who work only for the cash and not the work itself, they don't last long in whatever that line of work is. You have to love it, and that love is what sustains you thru all the crap. If you don't have the love, get a helmet, gloves, and goggles. You will at least have certainty. And in this world, certainty has a lot going for it, there's nothing at all shameful in it.
It could be worse - A LOT WORSE!
Here in Australia the government legislated that by 2012 ALL television was to be high definition and digital only delivery; all analog transmitters were to be shut down.
On the lead up to 2012 there were quotas that had to be met; at 2011 it was to be 80% HD.
So us small post production facilities had some serious upgrading to do. Any money we made went straight back into the business and we remained poor but thought we had a brilliant future.
So, what happened?
Currently (2011) we have 5% HD content, not 80%. They no longer require full HD by 2012, maybe 2018, maybe.
I recently was asked to quote on the post production of a major television series for next year - the network said they were not interested in HD; A MAJOR NETWORK!
We use to make plenty of doco's for the international market - in HD. Now the international market has no money and are just recycling everything.
My point to you is, our industry is in decline but for you it could be worse; you could have invested thousands and thousands of dollars in equipment just to have it sitting around idle while you were still paying for it. If I was in your position I would get the hell out of it before it really does ruin your life.
On line Mastering Facility
FCP, Avid, Adobe
[Sam Cole] " If I was in your position I would get the hell out of it before it really does ruin your life."
I wear many hats.
Maybe part of the reason you see so many 35+ yr old people w/steady work is because it takes that long to build enough of a rep to get to that point? Even then, I know guys who have been cutting in LA for decades and have hit rough patches in the last few years. It's tough for a lot of people and the least established usually get hit the hardest because they have the fewest resources to fall back upon.
To build a bit on what Shane was saying, cold call (or cold e-mail) people you've met on industry forums. Say you're looking for advice, not a job, and that you'd like to take them out for lunch/dinner/drinks/whatever. I've landed work indirectly that way even though my angle was never to hit someone up for a job. I meet them, pick their brain, and hopefully leave them w/a good enough impression that if they hear of something they'll contact me. Either way it's a win/win for me.
Just for perspective, when I was 25 I was a vault manager at a post house. I started training as an AE there and then left to AE on a tiny reality show for a cable channel no one even knows about. Getting that first AE gig was a bit of dumb luck (a friend met a post supervisor at party, brought me up in conversation and got me contact info). That led to another AE gig w/the same, awesome post sup. Unfortunately that show got cancelled abruptly and I ended up editing full time for a then small website. A mid-range goal of mine was to support myself by editing before I was thirty and I'd done it w/a few years to spare (although nothing happened quite the way I expected it to).
And all of that was *after* I'd already crashed and burned in LA on my first go around and had to leave the city for a couple of years w/o a penny to my name and totally disheartened.
Bottom line though, go after what you desire 'cause you only live once. If your heart isn't deeply in editing or post then staying in this side of the industry will only delay the inevitable.
3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)
Like Shane Said....be super cool to everyone you meet. Do favors....keep in touch...BJs....whatever it takes to have people remember you as a really nice guy whos a pleasure to work with!!!
[Greg Burke] "I'm young, 26, and allot of older veterans in the industry think differently and tend to tell me "its not the tools clients want, its your creativity and storytelling ability that people want..." I can't help but discredit this opinion,"
I agree very much with you.
There is a lot of bull-shit in all that of creativity and story telling.
Just switch a TV on, and you'll realize the very little creativity needed to do 90% of what is shown.
Few times we have real freedom when shooting or editing..
Often you will need to leave your creativity beside and edit the crap they ask you.
Creativity and storytelling?
Of course we have to use all our creative resources and always look for and try new ideas and solution. But that on every aspect of life, not just on filmmaking.
What really helps me is my technical background.
I'm not hired because my creativity or storytelling skills.
I'm hired mostly because I make things easy for my customers and because they know they will end up with a product up to the higher standard.
My only science is that with the same camera and computer/software (and budget), I'm able to give them a better picture and sound than the others.
What has been really hard for me was keeping up to the last development in video with my after 25 years.
When I'm not shooting or editing and always reading new things, downloading documents, watching tutorials, discussing with people. I have no time enough to learn the so many things that will help me to do a better job.
Tools are not just tools. Tools are the extensions of our self that allows to make real the ideas we have in mind.
Master your tools. Learn to get from them all that they have to offer. Learn everything related with your job: lenses, cameras, lights, signals, processing, compression, streaming...
This will give you a self confidence that is much better than any self-marketing strategy.
Creativity relays some how on inspiration, skills on hours and hours subtracted from my free time (and from my family time) month after month, year after year.
It's hard word we live in, we should be glad our dads didn't name us Sue to make us strong. ;)
[Daniel Sametz] "we should be glad our dads didn't name us Sue to make us strong"
They were the days when Johnny had the CASH!
On line Mastering Facility
FCP, Avid, Adobe
I remember when I turned 40 and people said that work would dry up as people wanted "young" and "fresh" and "new". That was 8 years ago and I'm as busy as ever. The industry has always gone through cycles, so I wouldn't say that the current downturn is necessarily a long tern trend. In fact it's been recovering a little in the UK over the last few months, so hang on in there wherever you are in the world, that may well happen in your territory as well.
I've come to thinking that what people want when they employ you is someone they can trust to (a) take responsibility for stuff, (b) bring it in on time and on budget, and (c) make them look good. So the craft, storytelling, etc, is very important but it's only part of the whole package.
I reckon that this IS a good industry to be in for me, but it depends on your personality and aspirations. I've never expected it to make me rich, but I get a lot of satisfaction my job, I have a nice house, my kids are in a good school and I enjoy my life. It took a long slog to get there, I was skint through my 20's, working long hours for low pay, but it's worked out for me so far.