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Chris RainesMoving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 12:11:42 am

Have any video editors on here made the move from news to the post-production world? I've worked in news for 6 years and I've been trying to get out for 2 years, and I'm finding it to be extraordinarily difficult.

Do production houses not want former news people? Do they view them as one-dimensional or "not high-end"? What is the trick? Any advice from those that have navigated the move would be helpful.



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grinner hesterRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 1:21:54 am

Many of us used news as a leg up to get into production. You stayed in it for a long time though. A year was all I needed to get an entry level job in production. You'll be getting an entry level job. While news is not impressive to any post house, it will be less of a gamble for some places than going with a student with no experience at all. As long as your salary expectations are not high, you should be working shortly after looking.
Be tenacious. Be humble. Take what is offered. Work hard and move up. Don't hesitate to relocate.



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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 1:50:24 am

Good advice. I've met with pretty much every post house in town, and haven't had any luck. I'm pretty confident in my abilities and skills, but I'm starting to feel like being in news has been a strike against me, although perhaps not intentionally on the part of would-be employers.

It's kind of disheartening to think that I'd have to start all over being an assistant editor or something after 6 years of experience.


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David Roth WeissRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 3:28:37 am

[Chris Raines] "I've met with pretty much every post house in town, and haven't had any luck. "

If you've read many of the other threads on this forum you'll notice that we're not exactly in the midst of great times in the post-production business as it is, so trying to break-in to the business is going to be harder now than it's ever been before, and competition is fierce all over.

You can't learn or know too much if you want to get noticed. And, don't think for a minute that an assistant job is beneath your dignity. In times like these you should consider that any job you can get is dignified.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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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Steve WargoRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 7:04:38 am

Just wanted to reply because DRW hasn't seen me posting in awhile.

Oh, and yeah, now is a very tough time to try to jump in without a huge skill set. Here in Phoenix, we are cranking hundreds of kids through 5 local film schools and it can make things tough when people hire based on price rather than experience.

We fix lots of screwed up projects.


Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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grinner hesterRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 2:22:26 pm

It's not a strike. It's just not a selling point. Editing or shooting news is a step below wedding videographers. It's not that it says you don't know what you are doing, it's just that unless you create stuff on the side, you have nothing on your reel to show your capabilities. Create that reel. Mok up projects and do some pro bobo stuff to get the stuff you need on your reel. Leave the news stories off of your reel but do list your employment history on your resume.
And again, look far beyond your home town.



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Bob ZelinRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 1:59:18 am

Here is my rude answer -

do you know AVID Media Composer inside and out ? How about FCP, Motion, Adobe After Effects, Apple Color ? Is your initial reaction to these questions "I am an editor, not a graphics guy or a colorist?"

That may be the reason no one wants to talk to you. You have spend years editing news stories. Can you do everything else ? Being only good as a "creative editor" only gets you somewhere if you already have clients. If you don't, then you have to know "all the tricks" to get work.

Bob Zelin




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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 2:16:46 am

I've actually invested quite a bit of time learning FCP and After Effects and Photoshop on my own. I already know MC because that's what I use for my job every day.

Have I learned enough or do I need more skills?



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grinner hesterRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 2:27:41 pm

Have I learned enough or do I need more skills?
You've never learned enough and you'll always need more skills.
That goes for all of us.
You just are not marketing yourself enough. Your lack of confidence is your biggest handicap. Don't question yourself. And don't go into interviews boasting about yourself either. Explain what you can do for them and how much money you can make for them. Your speed, your skillset, your people skills, and your creativity are your selling points for that. I'll stress that people skills bullet one more time. It's half the gig.



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Ned MillerRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 2:48:20 am

I have the best advice for you because I just went through an experience where I REALLY needed a former news cutter:

HIT UP THE PR AGENCIES, especially the big ones with in-house edit facilities.

I recently had three occasions with two clients who wanted me to shoot an event news style, then IMMEDIATELY edit packages of b-roll and soundbites and FTP them up on PR Newswire so TV stations who were too busy, poor or lazy to send their own crews could download, edit and broadcast the stories within a few hours.

The problem I had was I used "regular" editors who cut the footage on a laptop in FCP at a cyber cafe to upload but because they did not have a news background they were flummoxed. There is a certain procedure that the news stations want, a different rythym to the story that if you haven't spent time actually doing news, you can not imitate.

So, hopefully you are in a major market and you can use your news skills to sell yourself as the best choice for cutting VNRs and PSAs since you know the ropes. Use your weakness to to your advantage. Also, get active on http://www.b-roll.net thats where a lot of former newsies are.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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Chris BlairRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:30:46 am

It also helpful to cut a separate "creative" reel to show that you can edit more than just news style pieces. The majority of news edited pieces I see are hamstrung by footage that is anywhere from fair to downright awful. News shooters in general are not good at shooting sequences of scenes that cut together...they seem to shoot individual shots of various things, none of which seem to have much relation to the other (other than they're in the same location and are part of the same event).

From my experience, bad footage or poor coverage makes for bad editing, regardless of the skill level of the editor. So find some great footage, with good coverage and showcase your editing skills by cutting a creative piece on your own. Include some graphics and compositing using Photoshop and AE. Color correct the footage etc.


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Rick TurnersRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 6:18:16 am

My 2 cents..

Nothing peeves me more then "editors" who are motion graphic artists, colorists, graphic designers, web designers, and a whole lot more! (cheesy QVC voice).

Would Walter Murch run around claiming to do it all? No.. hes an Editor. He cuts stories together out of nothing, and has spent his entire life focusing on that specific craft. Good for him.

Often when I see the reels of editor/mograph/color/online/web/compressionist/dvd author/director/cinematographer/sound mixer.. it's awful and it shows that they have focused on learning the tools and not the craft. But.. they will find a place in the broom closet of some low end post group.


So, choose your craft and find a foot in.


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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 3:23:23 pm

Rick,


Thanks for the comment. I have the same perspective regarding specializing. It is true that Walter Murch wouldn't claim to be a motion graphics artist or a colorist. Truthfully, if he were an amazing colorist, then he wouldn't be a great editor, because it takes time to hone a craft like that, and he would have had to devote that time to practicing color grading instead.

I believe in expanding your toolset, but only after you have achieved some level of mastery in one area.




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David Roth WeissRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 6:27:47 pm

[Rick Turners] "Would Walter Murch run around claiming to do it all? No.. hes an Editor. He cuts stories together out of nothing, and has spent his entire life focusing on that specific craft. Good for him. "

Actually, Walter Murch began his career as in the sound department, first doing location sound, then moving on into sound design, where he used his technical abilities and story sense to create interesting and innovative techniques for using audio to tell stories more effectively. Over time, he graduated to picture editing, of course, never forgetting the methods he learned when his purview was the audio department.

Walter Murch is a right brained/left brained technical and creative "master storyteller," who knows how to use words, images, and sound to tell stories. And, like Robert Rodriguez, another very right brain/left brain master storyteller, there is nothing too technical these guys can't sit down and master quickly if it helps them to tell the story better. Walter Murch has received Academy Award nominations for his editing on four different edit systems in his career, and Robert Rodriguez directs, shoots, edits, and creates the music on all of his films.

The concept of specializing in only one area or another in post just doesn't work for many these days Rick, as many of the top technicians in Hollywood will attest, because many of them have been put out of work by boutiques employing the very kind of flexible and multi-talented personnel who peeve you.

The bottom line is, Chris had best learn every facet of the business of storytelling that he can wrap his brain around, because he'll need to.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 3:17:03 pm

Ned,

Thanks for the tip. I've never heard of PR agencies doing that, but it's worth investigating at least.


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Larry MeltonRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:39:43 pm

I don't know what size market you're currently in, but I would suggest first making a lateral move doing creative work at a TV station or cable company. Maybe it's different today, but when I worked in midize TV markets, it was an incredible opportunity to be creative with promos, local TV spots, news graphics, etc. They were hungry for folks that were willing to work hard. It's a grind, and the pay is crappy, to be sure. But it WILL give you the chance to build up a reel that can get you noticed.

Some forward-thinking stations will have the same tools as top post houses...and no one who really knows how to use them well. Good luck.

Larry Melton
Triangle Productions Inc


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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:49:11 pm

Larry,


Would you recommend trying to switch departments? I will say that there aren't incredible opportunities to be creative in the newsroom. It's very much like a factory, video in, video out. And the tools aren't there. Plug-ins, photoshop, AE, none of that is present. And I wouldn't call my station "forward-thinking" I'm trying not to just make excuses, but that's sort of the reality of things.
What kind of TV station were you working at where you had a massive amount of creative tools available?

Chris


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John Grote, Jr.Re: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 6:30:26 pm

I consider myself a hybrid, I am a post production editor by trade that is able to cut network news.

These things are two completely different beasts and disciplines. News is for the most part cut and dry, but with the pressure of getting your piece to air on time and without any black holes. This is a very different stress than having an agency standing behind you trying to micromanage every thing you do from the edit to kerning the hell out of one line.

As a news editor, when you are done your piece for the day, for the most part you're done. The piece has aired and tomorrow is a new day. As a post editor, you could be working on the same spot for a month or two, and I have had many of these edits. This discipline requires a lot more management of assets and being buttoned up with what we used to call a clean list (edl) or in this case project. Many (not all) news editor that I have encountered have bad project keeping skills, their stuff is all over the place. The reason that this is important is that you never know when you'll have to re-edit a piece or for that matter someone else will have to jump in and finish the piece for you.

Bob Zelin, makes another great point, skill set. Trust me, people not only want an editor, you should know both AVID and FCP. They want graphics, Photoshop, After Effects or Motion. Plus someone who knows how to compress files to send to their clients or make dvds. And now days they want you to write and produce as well, plus troubleshoot the equipment as well. So it is new world out there.

My advice is to find a client that may not pay you much, but maybe willing to let you cut your teeth on a couple of projects. I gave this advice to someone years ago when ABC switched to AVIDs from GVG linear and he thought I was nuts. People/clients don't have or are not willing to have you cut your teeth for the most part. They want someone to be able to sit down and get to work.

Cheers,

John

J. Grote, Jr.


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Mike CohenRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 7:11:04 pm

Media workers tend to be either storytellers or technicians or a combination. Murch is a master storyteller who uses whatever technical tools are required to make his magic. The guy who switches the 6pm news obviously has some technical skill if he is driving a multi-bus switcher every night.

I work outside broadcast, and wear many hats - shooter, editor, photoshop artist, designer, audio editor, voice over artist. Any or all of these skills help me get the job done.

So don't get hung up on X skill or Y skill - you probably need them all, but they are a means to an end to become a master storyteller, rather than a technician.

I am obviously simplifying things.

Some years ago I trained a new employee in on-line tape-based editing in our gradually dying Ampex bay. But he grasped the concepts of both storytelling (the Cine-Med version) and enough of the technical aspects to be effective. He had come from freelancing in news, doing studio camera, teleprompter, Chyron. After a couple of years he went back to news to be a TD, so clearly the technical side was his forte.
Fast forward to the present, and he has his dream job - he switches SportsCenter on ESPN.

So figure out what you are good at. If you are really good at technical things, learn what you need to learn and get jobs that will move your career forward. Likewise if you are really good at telling stories, learn what you need in order to not only do the job you are currently doing, but to do the job you want to be doing.

And follow whatever Bob Zelin says.

Mike Cohen


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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 7:17:34 pm

Wow, thanks everyone for your valuable input. I'm still sort of learning how the bigger world of production and post-production works, so your insight is extremely valuable.

Definitely gives me motivation to continue learning and expanding.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 16, 2010 at 10:33:41 pm

"...The majority of news edited pieces I see are hamstrung by footage that is anywhere from fair to downright awful. News shooters in general are not good at shooting sequences of scenes that cut together...they seem to shoot individual shots of various things, none of which seem to have much relation to the other (other than they're in the same location and are part of the same event).... "

Chris Blair



That's a pretty broad brush you got there, Chris:-)

I would say the exact opposite has been my experience: for good events-based shooters, look to experienced ENG shooters, especially those that cut their own packages. Because that guy has a very short time to shoot everything and put the story together, he often does "edit-in-camera", starting and stopping his shots in such a way that he's got most of what he needs, already in story order, without extraneous shots in the way. Just a little trim here and there and he's good to go. I always shot my wedding footage this way, afetr shooting a lot of news-style work, and it DOES make a huge difference in the viewing experience to see footage that alternates correctly between tight and wide shot cuts, versus one long tromboning 30-minute shot where the camera never stops, but just wanders all voer the reception.


Events shooting is a natural step after ENG work, IMO, and there you have some extra creative freedom in composition and editing to show off what you can do, with less time pressure.

Now, I will stipulate that I have seen a lot of lazy-@@@ news shooters, mostly younger kids. This may be a generational thing, and it may also come from the influence of their own station's procedures and ways of working. What I mean is: I see ENG shooters come to events I support, and not even bother to hook into the clean audio feeds I provide. They show up late to events, shoot 30 seconds of cover from one position with just a shotgun mic, skip shooting anything else, then hang around afterwards to get one of the speakers to re-state what they already said in abadly-overlit extreme close-up from arm's length, in two 20-second question bites... and they are GONE.

I understand their logic. They feel that they need only shoot just enough to cover a 90-second VOSOT and anything beyond that is a waste because if it doesn't air, it didn't happen. I don't think that's good journalism at all, and it ticks me off royal. It means they already wrote the story before they showed up to cover it. That's lazy and it doesn't respect the viewers or the truth. Look, they're stuck there anyway, waiting for the event to end so they can get their two little one-on-one bites, and they can't be bothered to roll on anything AS IT HAPPENS!?!??? In case something happens live that is, you know, NEWS??? These are the same folks that shoot live stand-ups in front of closed and dark buildings for the 10 O'Clock, just to have a "live update" that only introduces the edited package from 5 hours earlier, with no new information to add that rates a live shot and.......

......But I digress...:-)


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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 17, 2010 at 3:34:06 am

John,

Regarding trying to find a client who you can work for to build you reel and resume, any tips on how to do that? How did you do it?

Chris


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walter biscardiRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 19, 2010 at 12:12:46 pm

Chris I was at CNN for five years before moving out to post production. What CNN taught me was the need to make quick decisions under heavy deadline pressures. And I was cutting for an international market. I also took advantage of the fact that we were non union and learned a LOT of gear.

So those were three things I really played up when i went looking for a job outside of CNN. The ability to make quick decisions and not waste the client's time turned out to be one of my strongest selling points along with the amount of gear I could operate.

I think news is an excellent proving ground because you have to be able to tell a complete story on 30 to 90 seconds for the most part. That's excellent training.

It seems many people now when they are looking for editors what they are really looking for is q hot motion graphics guy who can also cut. Not me, I'm always looking for storytellers. Motion graphics guys are a dime a dozen, but good storytellers are harder and harder to find.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Chris RainesRe: Moving on from news
by on Jun 23, 2010 at 11:38:50 pm

Walter,

Thanks for the feedback. It's good to know that some facilities are looking for editors. I can do motion graphics, but the truth is I'm not very good at it and I'm not super interested in it.

So when you talk about getting to learn a lot of gear at CNN, what do you mean? We don't have a lot of extra "gear" at my station. It's local news so it is pretty bare bones. How do you go from bare bones local news to high end post production?

Chris


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