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Re: Studying for the business - looking for helpful advice

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Brendan Coots
Re: Studying for the business - looking for helpful advice
on Nov 6, 2009 at 5:36:21 am

The first step is to gently let go of the notion that things will "turn out exactly how you pictured them in your head." When doing commercial, for-pay work, you are lucky if things even remotely turn out the way you expected or were even capable of, because your client will ALWAYS stick their big braying jackass of a head into the equation and make sure that you are unable to deliver a successful product.

Hah! Okay seriously, that was the precursor to my "tough love" speech to follow. I wrote out a big long post about all the things you could do after school to break into the industry, but I realized something far more important needs to be said, and I'm just going to say it without any sugar coating. The editing field is ridiculously over-saturated these days. I literally get 30 editing resumes for every 1 graphics or 3d person. It seems that editing is the entry point into post now, so you will be up against a LOT of competition. If you want to be an editor, you will need to address certain issues NOW (while in school), and spend the remainder of your schooling honing these skills. I watch dozens of editing reels a week and I rarely see anything crafty or standout. It's just a bunch of edits, usually very lazy edits, with the assumption being that their job is to "cut footage." Wrong!

The truth is, anyone can edit 2 shots together. I'm going to generalize here and say that studios are typically looking for someone who:
- can cut fast for long periods of time
- can make good creative decisions on the fly, on their own
- knows the software/tools inside and out
- knows the common gotchas of working with all the various SD/HD flavors and codecs the studio uses
- understands pacing/timing
- can do up their own titles or basic graphics in a pinch
- understands the entire workflow, including receiving graphics from the animators, audio issues, output etc.

You would be wise to focus on these types of issues, because almost none of the "new" editors that come my way can do much more than slowly hack footage together. I could literally hire my nephew to do that, what do YOU offer beyond that? Come to the table prepared to edit like a professional and you have already won the battle of "what to do when you graduate."

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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