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Career Advice

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Dan Cramer
Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 2:05:56 pm

Hi,

I have been reading the cow for a few years now, and find the post very helpful. I have a few questions about about moving my career forward.

First the facts.

I have a BA and Master's in Television/Film Production, and all the school related experience that comes with it.

After Grad School I did a almost one year internship with the city of Champaign, Illinois' cable channel.
Where I got a lot of experience writing, and shooting different kinds of programing.

Last year my wife and I moved back to my hometown (Cleveland, Ohio) and after a summer of job hunting I got hired as a contractor being in house video guy for the gas company. Where I have been writing, shooting, editing training videos, and mostly in house videos.

I'd like to find a better (and more permanent) job.

Here are my questions:

I can shoot, write, and edit. Does the fact that I edit with premiere and have little HD shooting experience hurt me when employers are looking over resumes?

What can do to get the most out my current job? I have total control over the production process, and even though I'm not on staff the job is fairly secure.

I'd love any career advice you guys give me.

Thanks.

Dan Cramer


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Roy Schneider
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 2:26:46 pm

Hi Dan:
Some would say having full control over the production process is great, but you also need co-workers with more experience to learn and grow with. That being said, consider asking your current employer about the possiblity of making the position a full time position or adding benefits to your contract. Bottem line to most production companies is the quality of your work and your personality. Freelancing in other places can help build your network and give you more options. Join User groups like FCP and video production groups in your area. Research local production companies and find out who hire freelance production folks and make an initial contact.
Best of luck in everything!
Roy

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!


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grinner hester
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 4:42:33 pm

Hi, Dan.
A great reel done in premiere is better than a drab reel done on an Inferno any day. Don't let that hold ya back. Sling that reel around, cold-call away and climb some ladders.



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cowcowcowcowcow
Bob Zelin
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 6:05:33 pm

This is my stupid advice to you. I don't know how old you are, but I am going to assume that you are young (under 30). Where would you like to work ? A local TV station ? An ad agency ? An in house corporate video place ? THEN GET A JOB THERE - doing ANYTHING. Be a nice guy, be friendly, go out of your way, tell them that you can do all their video work for them. Don't worry about how much you are getting paid. Work hard, and work cheap (real cheap) to get in. In three years, you will be making the salary you desire, because you will observe others will "move on" to other companies, and you will still be there.

I am very anti school. I don't give a crap about your masters degree, and education - neither do any employers. Most small struggling companies (including local TV affiliates) want CHEAP labor that can do the job. I see top qualified people being layed off, only to be replaced by younger cheaper people that can do the same job. The opportunites are there, if you have the knowlege and the willpower to stick with it and do the job, better than others. Most people are lazy.

For example, you know Premier. You don't know Final Cut Pro or AVID. Lets say you get into a company at a low wage, and they use Final Cut Pro. But you don't know it. Are you going to take it upon yourself to work nights and weekends to learn FCP, or are you going to wait until they send you for training ? Are you going to say "well, we just had a new baby, and I just don't have time to learn a new software program"- then you will fail, and ultimately wind up with a job at the US Post Office with benefits. Work your ass off, and you will succeed. Pick a company (or type of company) that you like, and just get in. Work hard, and you will move up quickly. Ignore people that are around you that are lazy - they will get fired, and you will move up, and be successful.

Bob Zelin




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grinner hester
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 6:28:36 pm

weeeerd.



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Mike Cohen
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 6:50:39 pm

Here's some career advice - don't post a message saying you work for the gas company in XYZ city doing their video work, and that you don't like your job.

Seriously, in this economy, stick with the job that pays your bills, unless there are actual opportunities you can fall back on. Take the security of a paid job to hone your skills. if you are serious about becoming better than your current job allows, invest in a home editing system - need not be over the top, just something to let you get better at your career skills - so when the opportunity presents itself, you will be ready.

Sounds like what you need more than anything is confidence. What better way to develop confidence than to better yourself through perseverance and the will to succeed.

As we have said in numerous threads recently, an employer wants a dedicated employee who can learn new things on the fly and who is good at what they do.

Mike Cohen


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Dan Cramer
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 8:00:17 pm

Good Point, how can I edit/delete this post to ensure my employer doesn't see this?


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Richard Cooper
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 9:10:42 pm

As always, Bob hits it out of the park. This was my path, almost exactly! And now I have my own company after 6+ years of doing EXACTLY what Bob describes. Now the real "hard work" has begun.

Good luck!

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska

Everyone has a story to tell.
http://www.FrostLineProductions.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 6:56:12 pm

[Dan Cramer] "I have total control over the production process, and even though I'm not on staff the job is fairly secure.

I'd love any career advice you guys give me. "


First of all, you need to know that there are only like two "Hollywood" directors who have control over the production process (that would be Woody Allen and Francis Coppola, both of whom are making movies in foreign countries for peanuts these days, just so they can control everything). So, better keep an eye looking behind at all times, because the other Hollywood directors may covet your job.

Second, I'm going to give you exactly the same advice I gave a friend of mine who's thinking about breaking up with his girlfriend. Just as I told him, whatever you do, don't do it until you find a suitable replacement first. So, whatever you do, don't tell you current boss at the gas company that you're looking for new employment.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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cowcowcowcowcow
Tim Wilson
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 4, 2009 at 7:37:47 pm

Best career advice EVER for 2010: keep your job. Don't sweat the rest.

[David Roth Weiss] "there are only like two "Hollywood" directors who have control over the production process"

I remember hearing Robert Altman say that he never had final cut. Never.

He wasn't complaining exactly. He was saying it with a sigh. He came up in the studio system where directors had little control over ANYTHING, but he was obviously still something of a lion heading into the 1970s, and saw what the kids were getting. But he was willing to trade freedom for resources.

So yeah, if you have control, you have more than Robert Altman did.

And you have resources, which is to say, a job with benefits, and somebody paying you to be nominally creative.

If you ask your question another way, it might be, how can I find creative fulfillment within a corporate environment?

To reframe Bob's advice, what kind of work do you want to do? Then do it. Do it in your current job, where they will pay you to get better at your job.

Here's the deal. Even if they're telling you now, Take it easy son, nothing fancy - ignore them. Use your free time (nights, weekends) to make beautiful logo treatments. Easy way to get started, and makes a big impact fast. These guys watch TV. They may even go to movies. They're not going to object to seeing something beautiful, something "major market," something "Hollywood." And even if they do, it still goes on your reel.

When shooting interviews with yawn-inducing bosses, make your lighting better each time. Really WORK at it. Then practice doing it more quickly every time. Then add in some green/blue screen and add in some beautiful backgrounds that you've created and animated.

Make your lower thirds GORGEOUS. Maybe "elegant" is the word you prefer. Even if the animations are simple, you can practice keyframing and compositing.

I bet you're going to start getting traction with this. My experience is that value begets value - they're soon going to want EVERYTHING to look good, and they're going to start expecting to see this kind of stuff at your desk when they walk by. Since you've been practicing this all along, you're getting faster, sharper, and can now do everything you want to do ON THE CLOCK.

And you're putting it all on your reel.

And you're getting SALARY, and health care, and you're living where your wife is happy. Good god man, this may be the best gig you ever, ever EVER get.

The best gig ever that you get after this - in-house corporate video with somebody else. Now with a staff.

You feeling me?

I knew a guy who did in-house corporate video for Chrysler. He's probably long gone now, but here was the set-up.

Five full sound stages, two of them cycs with curved wall/floors.

They were doing HD VERY early on, because it was all in-house. Bob will tell you, some of these companies use closed systems to their advantage in a big way.

They did two newscasts every day, in both Spanish and English (a total of 4) that went to facilities around the world - manufacturing, dealers, partners, etc.

They did scores of demo videos - here's the new ordering system for the Jeep Cherokee spare parts, here's how to calibrate this new machine, etc.

They had a bunch of Avid Media Composers, a couple of Autodesk systems (then discreet - flint, flame, smoke), and all the storage you want.

On and on and on.

I wouldn't be shocked if my boy got his job with a corporate video demo reel.

Now, gigs like that are few and far between, but you can easily wind up with a smaller-scale version of this - 3 or 4 guys under you, doing pieces for the company meeting, fundraising pieces for investors, interviews with bosses who WANT to look like movie stars, etc. etc.

Figure out the kind of work you want to do. Then do it. NOW.

Seriously. You have arrived at nirvana. Embrace it. Cultivate it. Grow your skills to inhabit this land of milk and honey and SALARY and HEALTH BENEFITS, and a 401K, and a HAPPY WIFE.

You may be the luckiest SOB in this forum. Today. If you ACT like you are.


Yr pal,
Timmy





Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:41:14 pm

Tim, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Tim, Mike and Bob have really shown you the way on this. You don't know how good you really have it, right where you are: it's the most stable situation with the greatest creative freedom and level of personal control you can expect to have, outside of funding your own studio from a massive lottery win.


...if you do things right.


You want more "glamour" or something? "Glamour" jobs in broadcast and advertising mean more money (sometimes) but also high turnover, lots of travel, no job security, high stress. Oh, did you want to have a family, a good relationship with your wife, the chance to see your kids and raise them yourself, instead of thru hired help? You are complaining about living in Hawaii, as far as I can see. Hard to get much sympathy!:-)


Work on some stuff that will be awards-worthy, at work and as a private artist. Enter a few contests. Train yourself on more systems in your spare time, and work on non-office stuff at home on the weekends. "Sharpening the saw", they call it. Make the absolute best of what you have available to you, then try to take things a step further.

And if I can make one other plug, if you are truly in control of all the aspects of the production, the fastest way to improve the work is not from any hardware, but from BETTER WRITING. Write better scripts. I don't necessarily mean more *expensive* scripts, but more *ambitious* scripts that are clever and effective, as well as economical.





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Tim Wilson
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 3:04:31 pm

[Mark Suszko] "it's the most stable situation with the greatest creative freedom and level of personal control you can expect to have, outside of funding your own studio from a massive lottery win."

The massive lottery win is the key, especially if you have enough money that you never have to work again. You don't have to look too far around the Cow to find lots of well-funded studios that simply don't have clients walking in the door. All the experience, expertise, awards, freedom, and self-determination that comes from owning your shop mean NOTHING if there's nobody coming in the door.

Unless of course you have enough money that you don't need to work.

There are obviously plenty of reasons to strike out on your own, and lots of people here have. But you can also strike out, period. Solid is a good thing.


[Mark Suszko] "You want more "glamour" or something? "Glamour" jobs in broadcast and advertising mean more money (sometimes) but also high turnover, lots of travel, no job security, high stress."

Glamour jobs don't necessarily mean more money anymore -- especially as companies are increasingly taking formerly glamorous work in-house!!! Leaving an in-house gig is going exactly the OPPOSITE way the industry is going.

Swimming upstream can be fun, but there's a reason that salmon die when they finish the trip up the river. No job is all gravy -- that's why they call it WORK -- but you might be able to have a longer, happier, more productive and creative life with a steady job in corporate/non-profit/in-house work, and work fewer hours, with actual benefits and paid vacation.

You're young now, but you have no idea how much these things are worth. That's not to say that this isn't a good time to be bold and start something for yourself -- but it's virtually certain that when you get older, you're going to look for a job that's exactly like the one you have now.

As ever, yr kindly if sometimes cranky Uncle Timmy.






Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!


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Stephen Smith
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:30:53 pm

You need to read The Power of Passion in Creative COW Magazine issue 5, page 10. This is one of my favorite articles written and I think you would really get a lot out of it.





Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out the Graphics Demo Reel I did.

Check out my Motion Tutorials


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:21:08 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Tim, Mike and Bob have really shown you the way on this."

And, what about David? Remember me? Sheesh, I'm getting oh so tired of you leaving me out of the credits.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:25:52 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Sheesh, I'm getting oh so tired of you leaving me out of the credits."

Yeah, but we're just tradespeople, David, so we're never going to get to rub shoulders with the money people here on the forum.

;)

Boomer


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:43:01 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "Yeah, but we're just tradespeople, David, so we're never going to get to rub shoulders with the money people here on the forum. "

No way Ron, we're both strictly above the line. Mark's just envious because we're on the left coast.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:59:38 pm

"With Special Guest Star" work for you, David? Like they used to do in the Irwin Allen sci-fi TV shows when they really didn't want to pay a character actor more money? :-)

"Oh, the pain, William, the pain!"


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:14:18 pm

[Mark Suszko] ""With Special Guest Star" work for you, David?"

Yes, it works, and I'll work for scale just this once.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 7, 2009 at 4:03:46 pm

David -

Add Clint Eastwood and the Coen Brothers to your list.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Career Advice
on Oct 7, 2009 at 4:58:09 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Add Clint Eastwood and the Coen Brothers to your list. "

Right Herbie!!! And, though it just doubled, but it's still a very short list.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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