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motion graphics/editor career path

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Steve Renardmotion graphics/editor career path
by on Oct 2, 2009 at 7:22:18 pm

Hi all - I'm a mid-senior level editor and motion designer in the Toronto area. I'm 30, and I've done work on a few TV spots and lots of corporate video, and after being laid off about six months ago started a freelance business that is starting to keep me pretty busy. For the short term (next 5 years or so), my career path is fairly clear, I think - keep working on the freelance business, work on bigger and better projects, and, as Nick Campbell of grescalegorilla says, "Make cool shit."

What's not clear to me, and what I'm hoping folks on the forum might offer their thoughts on, is where I could or should be looking to go in the next ten years or so. Almost all of my work is done at some production houses or similar places, where I am one of very few editors (if not the only editor they work with). Of the few folks I do run into, most are within five years of my age one way or the other, but I don't see many people in the 35-45 range doing what I do, and I don't know of any who USED to do what I do, but now have taken on a role with more responsibility or a different sort of task, or what have you. I realize that to a certain degree this has to do with digital video being a relatively new medium, and there simply aren't that many people who've been working on this stuff for more than the last 15 years or so, so my pool of potential advisers is fairly limited. Therefore, this post - hoping I can find some folks in the broader world to offer their thoughts.

Potential paths that have occurred to me are: 1 - continuing with freelancing and eventually building up enough work that I could open a post house with at least one other employee editor to help me with the project, 2 - trying to get into an established post/effects/graphics house in some sort of mid-to-senior-level role, 3 - stopping the insanity and becoming a banker (;)), 4 - attempting to shift my freelance market toward more TV and film work, though my experience so far with that sort of thing has been, uh... shall we say discouraging?

Thanks in advance anyone who has the patience to read this and respond thoughtfully.


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grinner hesterRe: motion graphics/editor career path
by on Oct 2, 2009 at 11:12:25 pm

I think option 2 is your best bet for now, Steve.
Most of the time, folks staff for a decade or so, the go freelance for a while then, utilizing the knowledge gained while staffing and the contacts aquired by freelance, open their own shop with clientele waiting. Open without that and it's just unemployment with an overhead. In reading yourpost, it seemed like you skipped the staffing part. This is what will lead ya to proper freelancing.
I mentioned a decade earlier. Don't look at it as a sentence. You've already done some time. You'll know when the time is to evolve.

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Brendan CootsRe: motion graphics/editor career path
by on Oct 3, 2009 at 7:36:43 am

Ding! Ding! Exactly what I was going to say.

I started my studio with no senior level experience, had only been a Creative Director. Five years later if I had it all to do over again, I would probably seek a producer or similar position first. You can do it without this, but prepare for some very bitter lessons along the way.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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