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What moves to make?

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Jonathan FraserWhat moves to make?
by on Jan 7, 2009 at 4:07:14 am

Hello B&M section of the COW, first (few) time poster, long time reader. I've been working as an in house editor/videographer/graphic designer for a church in my area (SoCal an hour from LA), and have recently started to branch out. I've posted some of my work here (I would appreciate some honest feedback), and have been poring over various job sites looking for any chance I can get to get my foot in the door. My passion is telling stories, and I'd love to be in a place where I can cut for either TV or film. I guess my question is simply does it make sense for me to get any job I can in hopes that it can get me to where I want (PA, runner, designer etc)? I realize that it might be a while given the competitive nature of the industry, but I'm willing to do what it takes to get to my goal. Any advice I can get from you folks is more than welcome as I don't really have/know any peers in my area. Thanks in advance for your time.

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Mark SuszkoRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 7, 2009 at 3:26:05 pm

How picky you are is partly a function of your finances, age, and how free your life is. Young bachelors and bachelorettes with few attachments or debts can try the most variety of things with fewer consequences if they stumble. If you're older, with more responsibilities and ties, you should focus on things that best align with the path and goals you've figured out you want.

But who's to say you wouldn't love some detour you stumble upon and make that the new goal? I thought my career out of school was going to be news broadcasting or working in advertising agencies somewhere, but after a short stint as a freelancer and corporate guy, I wound up in government doing public service work... where essentialy I do news and make advertising, but from the client side.

This is a hard time in the business, with economic trials, an oversupply of talented people and a shrinking pool of jobs... in the conventional areas. On the entrepreneurial side, in the New Media areas, and in niche markets, opportunities may be sweeter. If I was just starting out now, I'd find a niche market where I've built up expertise, find a need that's not being filled, and exploit the heck out it, probably thru direct marketing and the internet.

You may have such an opportunity right in front of you with your current gig as a springboard. Ever think about making some salable products for use by churches?

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Mike CohenRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 7, 2009 at 4:44:09 pm

I have been on airplanes and rental car shuttles with my camera and have had numerous conversations with media folks at churches who need advice and guidance (not the kind of guidance you can get in a church) they need the church of video knowledge. There might be an opportunity to take the skills and know-how of doing church video and consulting with other churches wanting to step up their production.

Nice interviews.

Mike Cohen

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Jonathan FraserRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 7, 2009 at 7:59:25 pm

Hey thanks for the feedback guys building a bigger church based network might be a good stepping stone for me. I'm 25, don't have much debt, and there's no gf or wife in the picture. As I hope you saw in the videos, I think I've got some sense of storytelling and technical ability, but I'm running out of things to work with. Sub question (and if this belongs in a different forum let me know): was there ever a time when you guys felt like you were outgrowing what was going on around you? I mean I know I'm not the most killer editor out there, but it kinda seems like what I can do and what I've got to work with aren't really neck and neck anymore you know? Thanks again for the responses, hearing back is very encouraging.

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Mark SuszkoRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 7, 2009 at 8:23:06 pm

That's when you look for another job, or at least do some moer advanced stuff at home on the side or on weekends, to keep sharpening the saw.

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Randy WheelerRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 8, 2009 at 6:59:52 pm

I noticed that the majority of your videos on Vimeo have interlace artifacts. You could really improve the way those videos look by deintelacing them before uploading to Vimeo.


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Mick HaenslerRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 12, 2009 at 3:56:42 pm

Some great advice here. I firmly believe niche markets are the way to go and is how I've built my business. If you want to stick with church work AND do some creative storytelling with great opportunity, there are several sites which you can market independent shorts for ministry and split the take with the web site. Clips generally cost between $20 and $40 a download. Popular clips can experience hundred and in some cases, thousands of downloads. I know of a few church media departments that fund their operation through making indie shorts for this market and several freelancers that make some decent residual income from this.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media

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Kris SimmonsRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 22, 2009 at 8:03:59 pm


I felt the way you did about 6 months into my first real job as a videographer/editor. After a squabble with my boss over a $1.00/hr raise (from $9 to $10/hr), I decided I'd be better off trying to make it on my own as a freelancer and eventually, an owner of a turn-key video production company. I was 22 when I left full-time work to build my own business. Here's a brief glimpse at what I did to jump start the transition:

1. Called EVERY professional video contact I had made while in college and while working for my previous employer (producers, directors, video business owners, church media pastors, etc.) and told them that I was planning to start a freelance career and if there was ANY work they could throw my way, I'd be willing to travel anywhere and work for any rate. The result was an opportunity to shoot 93 athletic events at a Division 1 University at $350 per game over a 6 month period of time. It also resulted in numerous freelance gigs throughout the southeast at the same or better rates. The key is to be flexible with both availability and rates...and to prove yourself as someone that is willing to work as hard and as long as necessary to make your client successful.

2. Requested meetings with every video production company within a 50 mile radius so I could introduce myself and tell them more about my freelance capabilities. If/when they indicated that they weren't interested, I called them the next month, the next month, etc. until they were willing to give me 10 minutes of their time. This resulted in several gigs as a production assistant and camera operator at industry standard rates...and even resulted in them throwing me smaller projects they didn't want to mess with. I get calls all the time now for jobs that I don't want to deal with so I recommend younger, less experienced videographers/editors all the time. You want to become one of those people that more established companies refer business to.

3. Attended every public networking event I could afford so I could get to know people in the business community and so they could connect my face with the video services I provided. To this day, 3 of my best clients are people I met in those early days of networking. A lot of people may tell you that networking is a waste of time, but it's not. If you don't have a substantial network of REAL people in your community, if will be difficult to break in. People want to do business with those who they know and trust. Later in your career you won't need to network as much but you always need to make plans for generating new business relationships.

4. Joined several organizations and websites (,, etc.) and put out an All Points Bulletin that I was willing and able to help edit whatever they needed help with at whatever budgets they were comfortable giving me. The result was that I picked up about 20-30 wedding videographer clients throughout the US who sent me regular editing work via FED EX. I was national before I even knew what being national meant! This process also helped me pick up a few weekly local-access television show edit jobs that lasted about a year each.

There's a lot more to the story but I hope what I've shared thus far will get you moving in the right direction. Feel free to respond to this post with any questions. Good luck!


Kristopher G. Simmons

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Jonathan FraserRe: What moves to make?
by on Jan 22, 2009 at 8:10:51 pm

Wow thank you guys so much for responding to this post, all of the advice has been helpful and encouraging. As of right now I'm watching work sites like a hawk and kicking myself for not thinking about hitting up production companies a little further away. I still need to find my source files to fix the interlace errors on vimeo, and working on a mograph/design reel to put up there as well. I'm excited for this year and am looking for opportunities anywhere and everywhere for any rate to get me off the ground. Thanks again everyone I really appreciate it!

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