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I'm a film student trying to learn about the industry

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Daniel RodriguezI'm a film student trying to learn about the industry
by on Jan 17, 2008 at 9:44:50 am

Hi

I'm currently in my graduating semester in filming at the Art Institute and for a Portfolio assignment, we were asked to learn about the entry level jobs we could possibly take once we graduate. I'm working hard to try to become an Editor so I was thinking on researching the position of Assistant editor.

I've been making some phone calls trying to get informational interviews over the phone from either an assistant editor or a production manager (or anyone else who does the hiring). My problem is that I keep getting turned down and in some cases just get hung up on. I was able to get one interview but it's a face to face interview at the end of the month but my assignment is due this week (I'm still going but it's for personal rather than for school).

I was hoping I could get some help from the film community here. All I need is answers to a few questions (don't need to answer them all if you don't want too) and if you wouldn't mind, the production company, your position (editor, manager,etc.) and your name (just first would be fine or you could PM me if you want to keep it confidential). You can be working in a 200 person company or a 2 man team. It doesn't matter as long as there is a possibility of getting hired with the group.

Or if I'm asking too much, maybe some tips on how to not get hung up on or turned down? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot!


Questions for an assistant editor (doesn't need to specifically be an assistant editor. Could also be editor or someone who works close to the editor or helps with the equipment or video decks or something similar).

What kind of product do you make? (features,commercials,weddings, etc.)
What kind of personality do they look to hire?
The name and position of the individual to send your resume too.
How did you get your job at the company?
What is the companies strengths? Weaknesses?
Does the company hire interns?
Any other tips or information you could give me

Questions for an individual employer (someone like a Location Manager or Production Manager)

Where do you find the people you hire?
What credentials/experience does the person need to get hired for this entry level position
What is your best/worst experience with employees.
How did you get hired on your last job?
What are your strengths/weakness professionally?
Any other tips or information you could give me


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Emre TufekciRe: I'm a film student trying to learn about the industry
by on Jan 17, 2008 at 1:49:43 pm


Hi Daniel,

Questions for an individual employer (someone like a Location Manager or Production Manager)

Where do you find the people you hire?
1-Word of mouth (%80)
2-Industry meetings and networking parties. (%15)
3-People calling for jobs (%5)

What credentials/experience does the person need to get hired for this entry level position

-One thing we look for the most is enthusiasm. Regardless of experience and education, if we find somebody who has a passion for the job and proves they are dedicated to being the best at what they do, we will spend the time to train and mold them to our needs. We also dont mind paying top dollar for talent.

What is your best/worst experience with employees.

-Best experience with employees is to find self motivated people. They need minimum supervision and are inherently creative.

-Worst experience is after having spent months training an employee to find they dont have what it takes to be in this business. Also not being punctual, open minded or organized are real turn offs.

How did you get hired on your last job?
Word of mouth.

What are your strengths/weakness professionally?

My personal strengths are the fact I advanced from the ranks.

1-PA
2-Grip
3-Sound
4-Cameraman
5-Editor
6-Animator
7-Steadicam op
8-Director of Photography
9-Director

This helps me on the set and in post because I understand how everybody should be operating.

My biggest personal weakness is trying to stick my hands into other people


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Mick HaenslerRe: I'm a film student trying to learn about the industry
by on Jan 17, 2008 at 2:00:33 pm

Questions for an individual employer (someone like a Location Manager or Production Manager)

Where do you find the people you hire?

Word of mouth mostly. I live and work in a small market where everyone knows each other. Local network stations are also a good source for me. Most of the crews there are fresh grads looking to gain more experience.


What credentials/experience does the person need to get hired for this entry level position

Although a degree might get your foot in the door, I want to know what you can do. How diverse is your skill set? If you came to me wanting a job just as an editor, I wouldn't hire you. I need someone who can shoot, edit, and do sound. Personality is a big factor. Since I'm a small shop and we will be working very closely, I need someone who is easy to get along with. No egos please.

What is your best/worst experience with employees.

My best experience is my assistant right now. He's a self taught 23 year old who has been shooting and editing since he was 8. What he lacks in knowledge he more than makes up for in raw talent. He's also quite wacked in the head which really helps. He challenges and energizes me and vice versa. We play off of each other. My worst experience was hiring a shooter who was working in production at the local CBS affiliate. He had a degree, a few years experience and seemed like a pretty nice guy. But he couldn't shoot nor could he think for himself. In the heat of the battle he would freeze up and make costly mistakes.


How did you get hired on your last job?

I am currently leaving a corporate position to form my own company. I got this position by networking extensively. I can't tell you how important it is to network in the community where you want to work.


What are your strengths/weakness professionally?

Strengths: Creativity, versatility, marketing, easily adapt to new technology
Weaknesses: Organization, completion. Although these are weaknesses of mine, I have found by focusing on improving them, they are slowly becoming strengths.


Any other tips or information you could give me

Have low expectations about the money you will make. Don't rule out taking a second job unrelated while you build your experience. Learn everything there is to know about this business. Ask questions, read books and magazines, and networknetworknetwork. And remember, you don't know squat, even if you do, nobody wants to hear it, they want to see it.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Andrew KimeryRe: I'm a film student trying to learn about the industry
by on Jan 18, 2008 at 4:51:24 pm

Questions for an assistant editor (doesn't need to specifically be an assistant editor. Could also be editor or someone who works close to the editor or helps with the equipment or video decks or something
similar).

What kind of product do you make? (features,commercials,weddings, etc.)

I've worked on reality TV shows, a documentary, and marketing and behind-the-scene featurettes for feature films.


What kind of personality do they look to hire?
Dependable, teachable (no know-it-alls), driven, likable, independent yet good in groups, and you must excel in a stressful environment. Attitude is huge, btw. A good attitude will go along way and a bad attitude will severely hamstring you.

The name and position of the individual to send your resume too.
The title may change depending on if you are trying to work at a post house or trying to get a gig on a TV show or movie. But looking for the the Post Supervisor is probably a safe bet (or asking who's in charge of editing or post production). And if you know
anyone who already works there have that person recommend you to the Post Sup otherwise your cold call will end up in the trash most likely.

How did you get your job at the company?
I've landed a couple of jobs off the internet, but most of my of jobs I land via networking. Notice a trend here? ;)

Any other tips or information you could give me
I'm in LA, but this advice probably applies for any major market. Be patient, be diligent, be prepared to be poor indefinitely, be prepared when opportunity knocks. This career is a marathon, not a sprint so never give up on your goals.


-A





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Nick GriffinRe: I'm a film student trying to learn about the industry
by on Jan 19, 2008 at 2:39:17 pm

First and foremost I need to state that I'm in a different business than most of the people here. We do video production and limited motion graphics for B-2-B sales, training and informational purposes. But we also provide many other services including print advertising, brochures, publicity, a lot of still photography and more for a limited and highly focused set of industrial clients.

The approach that I've taken over the past 20+ years is not to be in the "X" (video, advertising, PR) business rather we're in the CLIENT business. Because we take a great deal of time understanding them, their customers and their marketplace we're in a better position to help them with a broader range of their communications needs. Our clients never have to explain their product to the guys writing their video and then turn around to explain it all over again to the guys writing their brochures or planning their trade shows. Frequently we're providing them with information about their competitors and other happenings in their marketplace, rather than having the flow of information only go in a single direction.

We take a "jack of many trades, master of some" approach and it's proven to be nicely profitable. What we do is not for everyone and not something too many others would want to do, which Is why I point it out up front.

[Daniel Rodriguez] "Where do you find the people you hire?

Again, mostly networking. People I've met through past jobs or who have come recommended by friends. I've used the COW with great success when looking for grips and other resources in cities where we haven't worked before. I believe that this sort of personal referral works for so many of us because with it comes a level of accountability to the person making the referral and to the person being referred. Craig's List isn't embarrassed if the new hire breaks the camera or steals the petty cash, nor will Craig's List stop being the friend of the referred individual.

What credentials/experience does the person need to get hired for this entry level position.

Aside from the proven ability to do the job, a sense of personal style if its a creative position. If it's a non-creative task, saying gripping, then it's all about attitude, timeliness and reliability. Is the person positive to have around, eager to help and anticipating needs or just sitting back waiting to be told what to do next?

What is your best/worst experience with employees.

See the part above about breaking the camera and stealing the petty cash for the worst. And see the part above about being positive and anticipating needs for the best.

How did you get hired on your last job?

Our last several clients have come about through word of mouth backed up by our industry reputation. I'm sorry to say Daniel that these are not things that can come about overnight. Years ago (OK, decades ago) I was hired for one of my earliest jobs because I'd managed months before to secure an un-paid intern position. That was done by appearing to be bright, helpful, highly motivated and willing to learn. (Boy did I have them fooled -- especially the bright part.)

What are your strengths/weakness professionally?

I try too hard to make sure that clients are happy and always get more than they pay for. Hah!! What a Miss America answer. Seriously though, I believe that my personal strengths are a fairly broad yet competent skill set and a high degree of comfort dealing with top level executives in client companies.

Weaknesses? Ask my wife. She could go on for days. OK, again seriously, I don't suffer fools gladly -- which in a client/sales situation can be important. When someone is being an idiot I am far too quick to point it out when I should just shut up.

Any other tips or information you could give me"

Learn as much as you can about as many things as you can. And especially concentrate on writing skills. There's an old prep school school saying that goes along the lines of "people who can write clearly can think clearly and people who can think clearly can write clearly." Especially in this day of sloppy web postings and monosyllabic Blackberry communications you can stand out in the crowd if you can clearly and eloquently express yourself. (Or at least that's what Ron Lindeboom gives me as the reason why no one gets paid for writing these long and involved forum posts.)


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Emre TufekciRe: I'm a film student trying to learn about the industry
by on Jan 21, 2008 at 2:39:42 am

And not to forget, must read for everybody.

Nick Griffins 12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/griffin_nick/wish.php

Emre
http://www.productionpit.com
Boxx Tech PC, dual-dual AMD 2.0,4BG ram,Avidexpress HD w/Mojo,UVW-1800,DSR-25, Adobe Premium CS3.Steadicam OP/Owner.

"Creative cow is udder madness."


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