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Wanting to begin in videography

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elveax
Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 3, 2007 at 11:19:08 am

Ok, so here's the deal -

I'm a military enlisted member serving in Germany right now (Military Police). Not my first choice. In high school I was the lead dude for our A/V department, which was pretty decent for a small, sleepy town high school (Matrox RT editing, Sony 3CCD Camcorders, live broadcast room with A/V switcher, etc). I've known since my freshman year I've wanted to get into multimedia, but it hasn't proven easy.

Upon completion of my service in the military (June, 2009) I plan on returning from whence I came (Illinois), and giving it a shot. My gameplan involves taking entry level college courses in fields like photography, business management, and if I can find it, broadcast (Montgomery GI Bill, here I come). Meanwhile, I also plan to find the best videographer in the area and see if I can score an unpaid internship with them to watch how they run their show in exchange for running cups of coffee back and forth and taking out their garbage.

My question is, what else should I be doing? Or rather, is there anything I'm missing in my 'game plan'? What advice can anyone out there give me to get my start in videography (and maybe one day more advanced multimedia work)?

Thanks in advance,
Matt

//A1C Hentrich, Matthew D


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 3, 2007 at 2:59:57 pm

Matt,

Your gameplan for the future sounds okay, but I'm wondering if you can't jumpstart your career between now and your discharge in 2009 by getting some production experience in the military? Do you know if there's anyway for you to get involved in any of the military's production of training, news, PR, or even video surveilance while you're stationed in Germany? Any real world experience you can get now will acquaint you with modern equipment and techniques, and will certainly give you a leg up when you get back to your hometown and begin looking for work.

I hope this helps...

Good luck in your quest and don't hesitate to come back and ask additional questions.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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Tim Wilson
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:11:40 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "I'm wondering if you can't jumpstart your career between now and your discharge in 2009 by getting some production experience in the military?"

It's ideal if you can. For decades now, AFN has been the world's biggest producer of television. Even if you can't get reassigned, a "nights and weekends" internship with THOSE cats will be a very, very good thing.

DRW's advice is helpful and sincere. I'll also give you the advice that my writing teacher - a self-described weiner...although he used another word - gave folks back in the day:

"You want to write screenplays? Write one. Then write another."

His point was that you can get started on a shoestring, for nobody but yourself. You'll learn the skills that you can eventually get paid for...if you have the skills. So don't wait.

Since you mentioned multimedia, you can start with free, legal media that you find online, and start animating it with one of many free apps that you can also find online. Any even vaguely modern computer will come with free DVD burning software.

You can do even better with the video part of the deal. Free apps like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker have a startling number of the tools you'll use with FCP, Avid, Premiere, etc. After you wrap your head around cutting, titling, graphics and music in the free apps -- from there, learning any other app is mostly just learning buttons.

Seriously.

Of course, if have a few dinars, you can buy some very cool software suites and start up in a bigger way....but you really don't have to if you can't afford it.

So start somewhere, anywhere, and as David says, we'll be happy to help as you do.

Good luck!

Tim





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beenyweenies
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:06:23 pm

College courses are great, but I always felt like I didn't have enough access to the actual gear. I also felt like the instruction was heavily tilted toward people looking to shoot fictional narrative work, rather than corporate-style video which is where the money is for most of us. There is a lot of daylight between fictional work and corporate video, so you might find yourself needing to supplement your education a bit.

I would highly recommend that you consider buying your own gear so that you can practice as much as possible, because doing is much better than reading. You can pick up a used Panasonic DVX100 (which is a great camera being used by a lot of people for professional video) for about $2,000, a basic (but good quality) light kit for another $1,000 and a good lav mic for a few hundred bucks. That $3,500 investment will probably teach you more about the actual process of video production than anything else. Worst case scenario, you will have a leg up over your fellow students and, when you are ready, you will already have what you need to go out and starting shooting for pay.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:30:27 pm

Hi Matt...

Firstly, thank you for your service.

The advice given to you above by the other two guys is very good and valid... great suggestions.

I guess it bothers me a little that Uncle Sam doesn't provide you the help you need, OR make use of your talent and my tax dollars by already using you in the area of your growing expertise. I mean, you're not learning anything about the video biz by being an MP (and sounds like you don't want to be one either), and it's not making good use of abilities that you already have. I realize of course that it is not exactly your choice as to what you get to do while in the service.

Couple of cases in point...

Over on the "Art of the Edit" forum there was recently a soldier asking for tips on improving the video production that he does for the Army. His work was not bad, not bad at all... and he obviously was getting some resources, toys, and maybe some instruction. He will be in a darn good position when he is out of the service.

A past junior editor of mine joined the Air Force after he left our company. He is presently shooting and doing various video production for the Air Force. True, he is in Baghdad... but at least doing video.

Just last week I got a resume and DVD in... the showreel of a young guy fresh out of the Navy, where his assignment was "videojournalist." His reel has several "news story" type pieces that he produced on board ship... where he did everything, shooting, lighting, editing, etc. I must say that I was very surprised in that it was pretty good. Pretty darn good, in fact. One of his stories was on the plumbers on board a ship. Another was on the guys whose duty is to restock all the vending machines on board (who knew that was even a job... let alone a HARD job? You should see these guys literally throwing thousands of heavy cases of Cokes from one deck up to another all day).

My point is, our service members (with a few exceptions) don't get paid enough for what they do... so I wish SOME of that payment was in the form of training that will help you back out in the real world. I know you can't just transfer wherever you want whenever you want and do whatever you want... but if there was ANY way to get you in that position that would be the way to go.

In the meantime, take the other guys' advice greatly to heart.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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David Roth Weiss
Update
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:58:44 pm

Matt,

I've attempted to contact an old professional acquiantance of mine who works for the D.O.D. (Defense Dept) in a production capacity, to see if he can be of any assistance to you. He was stationed in Germany for several years in that capacity and he may possibly retain some connections there that could prove helpful. Its been about two years since he and I have communicated, so hopefully his email address is still working. If not, we'll see if you can possibly find him at D.O.D. stateside through your channels.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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David Roth Weiss
Re: Update
on Aug 3, 2007 at 10:23:19 pm

Matt,

I think today is your lucky day!!! I just received a note from my old friend Scott Childress, from D.O.D., and he is going to log onto this forum later to see if he can offer up some help for you.

Good luck...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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Mark Suszko
Re: Update
on Aug 4, 2007 at 9:31:53 pm

You are getting good advice so far. Where in Illinois are you headed? If Southern, SIU Carbondale has a very comprehensive program, Final Cut suites, KU and C-band Uplink dishes, a respected journalism program as well as a focus on producing documentaries.

Up North, Chicago offers great programs at Northwestern, and Columbia College has a very comprehensive hands-on media department we were always jealous of when I was at Loyola (I'd plug my school here, but I'm afraid their programs have gone downhill since I was there). Pursue all the internship possibilities; they are what make the adademic tracks at these schools more useful: leveraging the theoreticals you get in the lecture classes with practical hands-on work with the real tools, making things you can put in your demo reel, and the university/college internship programs give you an inside track to many businesses tht work with the schools, ad agencies, all the Big O&O TV stations, etc.

While you're still in Germany, if your German is fluent you might explore contact with Radio Deutche Wella, (or however you spell that), they may be able to use you as a correspondent or stringer when you get back to the states, to file radio and video reports by internet. I feel the key these days to getting a decent career in video is to find a niche market that you are uniquely qualified for, and exploit it, creating a job for yourself rather than applying for one.

One of the things I did to get by just out of college was videotaping legal depositions; made really good money, but the schedule was feast or famine: could make a thousand one week, then only a hundred the rest of the month, that kind of thing. Getting into that business was easier back in the eighties; a lav, a camcorder and a tripod and you could start charging upwards of fifty an hour:-) Nowadays, there's more to the game, it helps a lot to be certified by an outfit like WEVA or similar. Still, it makes a great way for a young single guy to make money in video on weekdays, while you shoot weddings or parties on weekends.

So does working on remote trucks cross-country, shooting sports or concerts or corporate IMAG work. They need guys who have no family life, that can travel on short notice and stay in crummy motels without complaint, and put in long hours loading in and out. The payback is a lot of great hands-on experience with broadcast level gear in a hurry, and the money can be okay if you save it rather than spend it all.


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elveax
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 7, 2007 at 1:46:45 pm

Wow.

I'd like to thank everyone for their very active responses to my post. I kinda figured I wouldn't get much response and thusly didn't check this board for a couple of days. Apparantly I was wrong :P

Everyone's advice seems to be very solid and I think I may try to adapt some of the lines of thought many of you were suggesting. While I share the frustraton some of you expressed in my position in the Air Force, as it was said, we don't get to choose what we do and this is the card I was dealt. However, I can't complain and I should mention that the local AFN detachment has already accomodated me very well in the past. I approached the local AFN NCOIC (boss) and asked if I could help out with some graphic projects, and sure enough not only did the let me do a couple of backdrops, they used them on TV a couple weeks later! (Imagine my disguist when one of their troops, a kid about my age, responded to my explanation of the graphics by asking 'What's Afer Effects?')

Anywho, I'm leaving my local station soon to head to the middle east for a bit (no where dangerous, don't worry) and am going to see if there are any media outlets I can get invovled with there. Again I can't thank everyone in this forum enough for their input. To have real media professionals lending me advice is greater than gold.

And to answer one writers question, I'll be in middle Illinois/border of Iowa. If I decide to try and get some education with some real substance, however, I probably be looking in the Chicago region.

And no, I don't speak german. I can, however, fluently order a beer at the local pub :P

Thanks so much to everyone again,
Matt


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Scott Childress
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 8, 2007 at 8:12:58 pm

test


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 8, 2007 at 8:14:34 pm

[Scott Childress] "test"

Reading you loud and clear!!!

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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Scott Childress
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 8, 2007 at 8:35:00 pm

don't you ever work? LOL!!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 8, 2007 at 8:41:58 pm

[Scott Childress] "don't you ever work? LOL!!"

Hey Scott,

I'm rendering on one computer, creating titles on another, compositing on yet another, and answering emails and Cow posts on all of them when I get a break.

BTW, thanks for getting back on this... Great post!!! Should be lots of helpful advice there for our new friend over in Germany.

Come back anytime Scott and join in over here, you're always welcome to the party. Let us know how biz is doing in Alabama, cuz we don't hear much from down there very often.

All the best,
David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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Scott Childress
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 8, 2007 at 8:34:22 pm

Okay my account still works!!

There are many avenues to approach breaking into Media in Germany. Get with your Public Affairs Officer and let them know about your background!! Also I used to work closely with Robert


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elveax
Re: Wanting to begin in videography
on Aug 10, 2007 at 9:28:56 am

Sir,

Thanks again for all the input. I'll see if I can make contact with some of those individuals when I get back from downrange in the February/March timeframe. I know people move around a lot around here, do you suppose they are still there/still will be there?

If I can't get in with any of the more major production houses in the area I will probably dive back into the local AFN detachment on my base, it's a small pond, but I hear it's easier for some fish to work in small ponds.

Everyone thanks again! I will take any suggestions or thoughts or criticisms or Air Force jokes or whatever you guys want to throw at me!

Thanks again.
A1C Hentrich, Matthew


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