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What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.

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Evan Thompson
What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 13, 2013 at 4:20:10 pm

Hello COW Community.

I would like some advice from the experienced professionals.
I am considering getting started down the video editing path but there are some prerequisites I need to know about and work out first.

1. Is a college degree needed for doing video editing jobs?
2. Would you recommend getting some sort of degree for going into video editing?
3. If a degree or a college is not necessary are there some good courses I could take to fill in gaps and smooth out any rough edges?

I would prefer to take courses at home rather than going to a college, but if it's the only option than I'll have to work things out.
Any other advice on getting a good start would greatly help as well.

Thank you,
-Evan


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Mark Suszko
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 13, 2013 at 6:44:46 pm

if you search this forum you will find variations on your question answered multiple times, with different schools of thought on college vs. self-taught vs. a trade school. The advice can often be contradictory because there are multiple paths to success, but also because times change and keep changing from when a lot of us faced your problem ourselves. So what worked for us may no longer work for you.


You should narrow your field a little and decide what *kind* of editing you want to do, and what you like to do/have an aptitude for. Do you want to edit broadcast programs? Commercials? News? Sports? Training? Stage/performances? Weddings and events? Documentaries? Theatricals? Corporate? What?


In my day the best path would have been 4 years of liberal arts and sciences with a Bachelor's degree along with loads of practice as an intern or a student worker in a school studio. Joining the local cable access station would also have been a great resource.

But this is not the only path, by any means. Numerous COW members were auto-didacts and graduates of Hard Knox College, or got tech and media training in the armed services, or just went out and absorbed every book, tape, and DVD they could find to learn what they wanted to know. And the internet makes this easier than ever before. There are also trade/tech schools out there like full sail or flashpoint academy and others, all of varying quality.

So, many paths, some traditional, others less so. What kind of people are facilities and business *hiring* today? Well, thy generally pay low wages because of a huge glut of qualified applicants. They ask for long hours and they expect you to be well-versed without needing a lot of on-the-job training.

Something I stress with the young people is: learn how to CUT, rather than getting too deep into any one brand of editing system for cutting. Systems come and go: the underlying principles are what you study how to master. Those don't become obsolete.

You should also be well-rounded human being, with a variety of skills and background to draw on. Some kind of understanding of music will help you as well as classes in image composition and art in general.


Throughout your process, you should be actively working every day to add to your demo reel in some way; to build a portfolio of projects you went out and did, with whatever equipment you can gather and afford. Go out and shoot thins, then edit them. Every day. Then keep re-editing them until they are perfect.


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 13, 2013 at 9:50:25 pm

Thanks for the reply Mr. Suszko.

The kind of editing I would be interested in is more on the cinematic/theatrical side, although for now I'd do whatever odds and ends I can get.

From what you've experienced in your time and from what you see today, would you say a degree is a great help, making it worth it?

I do have experience in other fields, such as graphics and image processing. But it is almost all self-taught. I am wondering whether a good course would be good for teaching me the "official" and "proper" ways to do things, as well as filling any gaps that I might have missed, if I can find one.

I am trying to get a demo reel going here soon.

[Mark Suszko] "Something I stress with the young people is: learn how to CUT, rather than getting too deep into any one brand of editing system for cutting. Systems come and go: the underlying principles are what you study how to master. Those don't become obsolete."

That is great advice! I do know the principles enough to make somewhat quick switches to foreign programs or systems. But I will keep that in mind and not get too attached to or biased about one brand of editing software (especially with this new Adobe Creative Cloud that will probably force me to make difficult decisions in the future.)

I guess one of my biggest problems is whether or not more professional clients (or any clients) would accept me as an editor when I have no degree but am still pretty well experienced.

Thank you for your advice.
-Evan


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Mark Suszko
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 13, 2013 at 11:07:02 pm

Well, what I hear facility owners say time and again is, "I want to see a reel", more than "what school did you go to?". But that doesn't men formal schooling is worthless, not at all. if you take the right courses, that will mold you into the best kind of editor: a generalist with a little knowledge about a lot of subjects, who can tap that background to inform his or her editing decisions.

Let me put it this way: I went to a good Liberal Arts University in Chicago, and another guy in our shop eventually got a GED. We both did editing, but over time, his edits never got any better. He had learned what buttons to push to get a result, but nothing about aesthetics and WHY and WHEN you push that button. He also had no easy way to converse with clients about their needs in any kind of depth. For music cues, for example, if you told him "I'd like something Copeland-esque here", he wouldn't have a clue what that meant. He didn't have any knowledge of typography or principles of layout and design, beyond knowing the difference between a sans-serif and a seriffed font. He didn't understand how to use a color wheel and what triadic complements are and how you could use than when deciding on the font colors.
So his color choices would often be horrible. He'd use dissolves and wipes interchangeably without any regard for the established meanings of each regarding time and place. He didn't understand an L-cut.
I could keep going on, but it would start to sound like I made him up. He's a successful guy in t he biz today but he's not an editor.


So if you go the college route, for the 4 years you spend in a school, what you are doing, hopefully, is learning HOW to learn, to adapt, to seek out and integrate disparate facts and bits of learning into a base that you can tap to make good aesthetic decisions.

Here, in no particular order is a list of applicable courses that will help make you not just a well-rounded editor, but a well-rounded functioning human being:

You'd want some photography, some art history, some music appreciation or theory, enough to identify what a 4;4 beat is, at least.

Some introduction to principles of design. Some drama or stagecraft, theatre appreciation, dance appreciation, so when they tell you: "cut wide on the pas-de-deux" you know what they said.

Take some science, some physics, learn about acoustics, electronics, optics, chemistry.

Take a foreign language, Spanish of course, but maybe also one other, one of the Asian languages could prove very useful.

Take some sculpture, it will improve your 3-d compositing skills by learning to think and visualize in depth.

Take all the history of Film and Film appreciation courses you can, learn all the tricks from all the pioneers and masters who came before you.

Take some English Comp, so you can work with script copy on a set or in a suite and not look inept. Take math, take computer languages, take some basic business courses so people can't rip you off easily. Take some marketing and some psychology, because the second thing the guys hiring want to see after a killer reel is just how well you can relate to clients working in a dark cave for hours at a time under deadline pressures.

And take some philosophy, so you can figure out how it all fits together.



You should be out every weekend with a friend or two, writing, shooting, and editing your own little projects, using whatever tech you can afford. Do NOT wait for someone to give you permission to go out and be creative; be creative TODAY. And you should merciless re-visit and re-edit your work as you go along, revising, upgrading, improving. Pick a concept and LEARN it thru this practice of trial and error. Create your own exercises, replicating things you've read about from past masters of film and TV. Don't just imitate them but de-construct them: take them apart to understand how they are put together.




Or... you can go to button school, become certified in version xyz of software ABC. But don't let them get away with just teaching you that alone. I can train a second grader to make simple edits in final cut pro. What takes longer is training someone to be able to tell a great STORY, visually and with sound, working together to reinforce each other. THAT is what an editor ultimately is: the one that brings all the elements together and turns them into the story, making MORE of the elements than just their sum, while solving problems, covering mistakes, and inventing things that were never shot or recorded because suddenly you need them to exist.

Learn compositing, learn color timing, learn how to make music with loops and how to record and cut audio. Learn some 3-d CGI, using free apps like Blender.



All this sounds like a lot of effort, and it is. The business is hard, the pay is low for most, the competition is high, there are many more applicants than jobs and the cloud will have you competing against people on third-world salaries. To survive, you have to love this job for itself, ahead of any consideration of profit. This has to be a thing you would do for free in your spare time, you love it so much. Only that kind of love for the work, and a single-mindedness of purpose, can carry you through the low times and hardships to the point you can make a living at it.


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 14, 2013 at 12:05:43 am

Thank you for all of that information.

I really couldn't do a full scale college at this time, but what would really benefit is a good video overview course that gives terms and techniques etc.

There are terms I don't know about or have never heard, but I still know about the technique and use it, just didn't know the name.
That is the type of stuff I am looking for, to fill in the gaps.
I just don't know where I would find that type of course.

I really appreciate your experienced advice.
Thank you for all of that knowlege.
-Evan


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Mark Suszko
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 14, 2013 at 1:10:56 am

Then start with film history and appreciation courses at the local community college, or pull up those terms at Amazon and start buying and reading used copies of books on film history and theory. You can also buy used college TV textbooks on the cheap. Also, read all the books by Walter Murch. That's a good start.


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 14, 2013 at 1:44:18 am

Thank you for your advice.
I appreciate it very much!
-Evan


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Simon Roughan
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 14, 2013 at 9:33:12 am

Mark, you are indeed a very selfless fellow!
In The Blink Of An Eye by Walter Murch is one of the most insightful books I have ever read, on any subject.

Evan, I can only reinforce what Mark has already explained. Just like language, pictures have composition and grammar rules. They must first be learned and understood, before you go breaking them. Where and how they are learned is up to you.

You know I'm born to lose, and gambling is for fools, but that's the way I like it, baby. I don't want to live forever!


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 14, 2013 at 10:55:30 am

Simon, thanks for the book recommendation and the advice.
I'll look into that book and see what I can get out of it.

Thank you,
-Evan


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Roy Schneider
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 16, 2013 at 12:37:36 pm

Evan Mark is really on point with his answers. I might also add that no matter what you do in editing, it isl always smart to study Marketing and Business, because though we are all in the business of creating, we are all in BUSINESS to earn a living.

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 16, 2013 at 10:39:10 pm

Thank you Roy for your advice.
I appreciate the knowledge all of you are giving.
Keep up the good work!

Thanks,
-Evan


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Andrew Kimery
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 17, 2013 at 8:09:33 am

Great info from Mark as always.

With regards to learning the "official" or "proper" ways to do things I've found that on-the-job training is really the only way to learn many things. If you can get a job (even part time) at a local production facility that can go a long way to helping you learn both technical and creative aspects of editing.

On the broader view side of things, make sure to make goals. Short term goals, medium term goals and long term goals. I know it sounds obvious but goals are waypoints to your final destination and without them it's kinda like hitting the road w/o a map and hoping you'll end up someplace you want to be. For example, you said you were interested narrative features. If your goal is to cut ultra low budget features you can do that just about anywhere. If you want to indie features you might need to move to some place like Austin that has a big indie community. If you want to cut bigger budget features you'll pretty much need to move to LA (possibly NY though NY tends to have a bigger documentary community). Once you decide what your long term goals are then work backward from there.

For example, when I got out of college one of my long term goals was to be supporting myself editing full time in Los Angeles before I was 30. Every professional decision I made was always put in the perspective of "Does this help or hinder my long term goals?" Some moves helped directly and some helped indirectly. Almost like playing chess where at times you have to make lateral moves, or even backwards moves, that are part of a bigger plan that will hopefully lead you to success. For those wondering, I squeaked in under my deadline at the age of 29.

I'm on my way to another long term goal of editing docs/unscripted material full time and one leg of that path had me stop editing for over a year to work as an assistant editor. Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward.

I guess my overall point is act with purpose. Many parts of this world can be a grind but if you are moving forward it can make the grind worthwhile.


-Andrew




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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 17, 2013 at 1:11:18 pm

Andrew,
I guess the most encouraging part for me is that the on-the-job experience is one of the best ways to learn. I have had quite a bit of experience with video editing, though not many big or public ones, yet.

Congratulation on making your goal on time!

I will definitely keep goals in mind. I am going to have to keep them short-term goals for now.

Good advice. Thank you.

By the way, what is the proper, or most preferred method of transferring video and resources, raw or finished to and from your client or video source? Would you have to make a physical hand-off or would you use some online method?

-Evan


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 17, 2013 at 3:35:07 pm

I use Dropbox for delivery to my clients most of the time - although there are a "select" few who just don't understand the concept, so I use WeTransfer for them.

I have a 100GB contract with DB, and, when a project is started, I create a "Client" folder, which contains subfolders. "From Client" is one of them, for assets necessary to the project, which the client sends me (logos, print examples, etc.). I also create an "Approvals" subfolder, as well as a "Final Delivery" subfolder. In this way, I can keep track of what I've received from the client, and what I've sent. I also create more or less the same folders locally on my workstation in Adobe Bridge, so I can label the clips and graphics I've sent (Review), and also mark them (Approved) when they're OK'd. It takes a bit of work, but it's sure easier than making notes on a yellow pad (which I also do), then trying to figure them out.

Another possibility is SoShare (http://www.soshareit.com). Sometimes Dropbox gets a case of the slows. SoShare is a free service which allows you to send up to 20GB. It's quite fast, and as far as I know, allows you to send the largest capacity in GB for free.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Bob Zelin
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 17, 2013 at 7:54:03 pm

What an interesting post -
you ask -

1. Is a college degree needed for doing video editing jobs?
Answer - NO

2. Would you recommend getting some sort of degree for going into video editing?
Answer - NO

3. If a degree or a college is not necessary are there some good courses I could take to fill in gaps and smooth out any rough edges?
Answer - NO.

I would like to know how old you are. Are you a young student ? Are you in a career that you hate, and want to switch into editing ?
While you may have "dreams" of doing a certain type of job in this industry, let me assure you that you (or anyone else) will be lucky to get ANY job editing ANYTHING without previous experience. You get your first jobs by being an assistant or being an intern and working your way into a company. I can't think of one professional post house that would say "wow, you have a masters in post production with a 4.0 GPA and have an AVID Certified Editor certificate - YOU ARE HIRED - here is 40 grand to get started !". This never happened in history, and will never happen.

This is what you need. You need a job. You need to go to work. You need to get into a company (one that you may aspire to be important in one day), and do ANYTHING for them. Eventually you will get your chance, or make friends that will get a job else where and tell you about their great new company that needs someone just like you.
You will be amazed the opportunities that you are offered once YOU ARE WORKING THERE, even as the janitor, but until you are IN, no one will say "come edit my documentary, you look like you have great vision in this area".

Bob Zelin



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Kylee Peña
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 18, 2013 at 12:33:34 am

I'm going to answer this a little differently than others maybe. For background, I'm 26 and graduated from college in 2009. I got a degree from IU that was essentially video production but covered multimedia in general. I also completed 3 internships in school. And I spent a lot of the last 4 years looking for jobs both for myself and others, so my "entry level" experience is pretty recent.

That said, the question of needing a degree or not is tricky. I think a lot of people will tell you absolutely not. That's true. However, these days it's a whole lot more difficult to find editing work without a degree of some kind -- ANY degree. If you're not editing movies or tv or documentaries, you're probably working on a lot of corporate stuff. If you want a staff job with a company that isn't strictly creative work, you're going to have to get through HR, and they speak in credentials. No degree and you go to the trash. Comparable experience? Nope, does not compute. Also, a lot of these jobs want you to know a little of everything rather than just editing.

It's totally possible to freelance, but it is pretty difficult to get started, especially when you have no street cred. Definitely possible without a degree. Also totally possible to work your way into a company doing anything at all and learn on the job. These opportunities are sparse everywhere but the major cities, and tend to get filled with interns sent from colleges in my experience. Priority to people who are committed on paper.

Editing is in an odd place as a trade. You don't really need a degree. What you learn in college definitely helps you be a better person and editor, but it's not a prerequisite. But you shut yourself out of a lot of jobs without any higher education credentials.

I would say the best thing to do would be to find an editor or five in your community and become their best friend. Learn as much as you can on your own, and do whatever your new BFF asks of you. They'll help you figure out your next step, whether it's going to college, shooting your own stuff, or dropping everything to go attempt to work your way up the food chain in LA or something. Depends on your expectations and what you're willing to do, because editing work is very diverse and very difficult to get. But any way you go, you'll find that these relationships are the actual key to your career.

I got way more out of my internships than my degree classes, including paid work after school ended.

So, needed? Eh, depends. Recommend? Eh, depends. Classes? Plenty of stuff to help you figure out the tech online. Just find stuff to cut and focus on that. Once you start, you can't stop thinking like an editor. Everything is a lesson. Have fun never being fully immersed in a film ever again! But seriously, one good place to start is cutting your own trailers of popular films. Your own take, or changing the tone. Making it funny instead of scary, or dramatic instead of comedic. Do that, find a BFF in a post house, have them critique it, bond for life. You can decide if a college credential will help you get the job you want, but knowing people is where you'll learn everything.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 18, 2013 at 9:56:38 pm

Thank you for all the advice.

They say "It's not what you know, it's who you know". I see how it is a huge help knowing the right people, and that's one thing I have yet to get.

What I am mainly getting here is that a college degree for editing is not needed for most video editing jobs, and on-the-job experience is one of the best teachers. I would assume this to be the case, but I wasn't totally sure about the degrees. Your feedback is very encouraging.

Although I haven't had opportunities to work in professional companies, I do hope to be able to do so in the near future to help me get closer to where I need to be.

Thank you everyone so much for all of your seasoned advice and tips!
If anybody else has any more advice, tips or hints from their past experiences, feel free to add on, it would be beneficial to get all the advice and tips I can.

Thank you,
-Evan


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Tim Wilson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 18, 2013 at 11:00:52 pm

My father once suggested that I spend some time with want ads, find jobs that looked interesting, and see what kind of skills and achievements those jobs required.

This was hella hard work back in the day, because my small town newspaper didn't advertise a single job I wanted. LOL And the regular dailies from nearby large towns didn't have much either.

Today, this is painless. Start with jobs.creativecow.net, plus wherever else you can think. Find something that sounds interesting. They'll TELL you what they want.

Of course, the other thing is, not everybody finds one career and grooves into it from the outset. This was one of the great things about growing up with my father -- he jumped from industry to industry without blinking. I love that I've been able to do the same, and am kind of annoyed that I'm still here. LOL Not for long, suckas.

But if all I'd done is follow the specific path for the exact thing I was thinking about doing when I was younger -- generally summarized as costumed superhero or gigolo -- I'd never have actually wound up with a career in video. And hey, not like I'm ruling out the others either. I'm just saying, I get that some people choose careers, or even individual jobs, that they stay at their entire lives. That sounds worse than tragic to me. That sounds more like, "I'd kill myself, but I'm too sad to work up the energy to pull the trigger."

The grain of salt to take with all the advice you're getting is that, other than Kylee, most of us (including me) are old enough to be your father. Many of us are OLDER than your father. And just as with your father, most of what we say is worthless. LOL Or maybe it was perfectly worthwhile advice 25 or 35 years ago, but simply not as applicable now.

Anyway, doesn't matter who you know if you're not the kind of applicant somebody is looking for, for the kinds of jobs you're interested in. Start by looking at the job requirements for those, season to taste.


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Mark Suszko
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 18, 2013 at 11:47:52 pm

Even if you decide a degree is not for you, I urge you to go buy used college TV class textbooks and really read up on them, and even take a few of the tech school classes like the Sony workshops, to learn some fundamentals. There is over 100 years' worth of accumulated knowledge and techniques out there to learn and apply, and believe me, not all of it has become outdated. And your future boss or clients will not appreciate you having to learn them fresh on their dime.

University was great for me; I left there trained, pre-qualified, and ready to actually do meaningful work in the field I wanted. But an added benefit to someone like you, today, is less tangible, but still useful:

If you're still in your teens, your generation can expect to go thru 5 or more careers in your lifetime, and I don't mean you will work five different JOBS, I mean you will work in completely different CAREERS, meaning, each time you switch careers, you'll have to re-train, re-qualify, learn all the new tricks of each trade. You may start out an editor for five 0r eight years, then become a teacher for five or ten, then a tradesman, or a medical caregiver, or a chef, or what-have-you. In my dad's day, you picked one career and stuck with it until you retired. You will have to be more flexible, adaptable, and lifetime learning is fundamental to that pursuit. Expect to see a lot of your community college over the years, or the online equivalent of it.


Going to college prepares you,not just for the immediate job you seek, but for every one AFTER that one.


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Kylee Peña
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 19, 2013 at 1:07:41 am

Regardless of what you decide, the main takeaway in my opinion is that you shouldn't ever use not having or not being in a position to get a degree as an excuse for not actively working toward your goals.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Evan Thompson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 19, 2013 at 2:21:46 am

Mark, I'm glad to hear it was very successful for you. I don't hear those kind of turnouts often.
I understand what you are saying, thank you for the advice. I'll look into it more.

Kylee, I understand.
If anything, it's more like it's the degree that would be in the way; either I need it and don't have it, or I get it but I don't need it.
But I will keep working toward my goals regardless of whether I would be getting a degree or not. I just needed to know the balance between getting a degree or bypassing it. And it is getting clearer for me, allowing me to decide which direction to take.

Thanks,
-Evan


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 19, 2013 at 2:46:43 pm

As everyone has said here, in one form or another - the degree is just a piece of paper which will open certain doors. It's the knowledge and experience you're after, and you can get that through an internship, textbooks (used on *bay is a great source of these), web tutorials (but you've got to be self-motivated), and studying what's on the air, cable, and the web.

I started my education as an English major (pushed in that direction by guidance counselors - and knowing I wanted to go into music), transferred to music school at the end of my first year, went three and half years to music school, then went on the road (I wanted to perform, not teach). I earned a living in music for twelve years, then was guided into advertising and television production by a mentor - I've been working in electronic media ever since, with no degree...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 19, 2013 at 6:40:52 pm

[Evan Thompson] "I just needed to know the balance between getting a degree or bypassing it"

Okay, here it is taken to the extreme:

"Dammit I've learned too much! I know so much about so many things, and have so many options that it's keeping me from being a good editor." LOL

There are noooooooooooooooooooooo disadvantages to getting a degree. None. None. None.

Now, if the question is, can you do what you want in this life without a degree, the answer is obviously yes. But less so by the second. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were college dropouts. Wanna guess how many they hired?

To once again say it in the extreme: not having a degree creates obstacles. Having a degree creates opportunities.

So, how much do you love obstacles? How much knowledge, experience, and potential are you willing to sacrifice in the name of an obstacle-laden career with fewer opportunities? That's crazy talk, man....but then again, maybe that's exactly what you want.

I'm not being condescending. Getting a job is a challenge under the best circumstances, and some people need extra challenges in order to excel. Maybe that's you, in which case, go for it.


[Joseph W. Bourke] "I started my education as an English major....transferred to music school..."

Opportunities.

I've told the story here many times of beating out much more experienced people, as well as many people who charged a lot less, for a natural science-related TV show with a 6-figure budget because I knew biology and geology. I lost the gig when I more than doubled my price....then got it back a few months later at my new asking price when they realized that the new guy, whose work was really pretty -- arguably prettier than mine -- just didn't know enough science. They'd gotten spoiled by what my knowledge brought to my work, and never actually aired the episodes they'd paid him to create.

I was also more than a shooter/editor. I was a co-producer because I had the experience to manage a lot of moving pieces that had nothing to do with video. Almost all of it came from doing the day to day stuff that students have to do, irrespective of the content of the classes -- preparation, pacing myself with a million things on to-do lists for different people with conflicting needs, delivering on time no matter what. Word problems. Pretty much every problem you'll face will boil down to a word problem. That stuff gets easy with practice.

The fact is that you're going to start any job pretty far down the food chain. I didn't step into a management job. But I had experience in things besides shooting and editing that made people think of me when management jobs became available.

Again an extreme example, but even if you want to gallop straight into a video production career, you never know what's going to give you the edge. It might even be the one thing that "you're never going to use in real life."

[Joseph W. Bourke] " web tutorials"

I know that you and I agree on this Joe, so I'm going to just expand a bit on this.

We obviously post a bunch of tutorials here at the COW, and I'll put ours up against anybody's on the net -- but no amount of online training is good way to teach yourself anything big. It's a great way to help answer specific questions or teach specific techniques, but even something massive and comprehensive like lynda.com or fxphd, both of which will teach you good stuff -- if I saw those on a resume, I'd toss it out. I don't want to know what books you read or TV shows you watch either. That's not the BASIS of anything.

It's also worth noting that the number of people who finish online degree programs is somewhere in the 30% range. It's one reason schools love them so much. They're like gift cards or subway passes. The school keeps all the money without having to provide all the service. One of the great false hopes of our time.

On the other hand, actual certifications from Adobe, Avid, etc -- THOSE are good. You pay money, you take tests, you have to PASS them. When I was working in that field, the goal was a 50% failure rate. If more than half the people passed the test, we failed as test-makers. You could retake the class for free until you passed, but these certifications are far from gimmes. Certifications tell me that you want RESULTS, something that will last longer than the latest cool preset you downloaded.


[Joseph W. Bourke] "It's the knowledge and experience you're after...."

Yep.

Most of us geezers have been talking about straight-up liberal arts degrees. I certainly have. I loved mine, and loved the long, twisting route it helped me take to everyplace else I've been.

That may not be fore you. There are many different, equally valid approaches. There are technical and business oriented programs, both of which also provide plenty of production opportunities on the way to potentially different career paths.

I'm also a HUGE fan of programs like Full Sail. As well as 4 year and Masters degree programs, they offer a 2-year associates degree jammed into 13 months with a massive range of internships at major companies, many of whom sponsor programs there. You have to hustle like a ninja demon to get through that thing. Another of my favorite things is that you take drawing and painting classes before they let you touch a computer -- but it's a hardcore focus on doing the WORK, a true gauntlet for people who know what they want.

There's a heavy seminar component, which brings up another advantage of formal education we have't really talked about -- working with, competing against, and being inspired by passionate, driven peers. You may even find some of them more valuable to you than some of your teachers.

Being around other students will open your eyes to what's possible, and sober you up that you're not just facing "the market," but people more skilled than you who want the job more. If you don't have blood dripping from your fangs, you have to find a way to get ahead of the people who do. You can, and this too comes with practice.


I want to also be clear that everything Bob Zelin said is absolutely true -- and it'll still be true after you have your degree. You will still have to be a dripping fangs ninja demon, and like I said, if you're not one naturally, you're going to need to figure out how to beat them at their own game, or somehow change the game. School's a good place to do that.

And it's fun. LOL


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Simon Faris
Re: What is the best path for starting a video editing career? - Requesting advice from professionals.
on May 21, 2013 at 10:35:50 pm

Hi Evan,
The only thing I could chime in on is being 49 this year. Re-inventing myself 5 times via career changes and interests. It has always boiled down to "Show me" Never had a piece a paper to get any job at any career I ever wanted. Not saying it won't help. Some of the gate keepers as Kylee eluded too. Only understand certain pre requisites. Missing 101, but you got 201,301 the gate keeper is confused. If they are stuck in 2nd gear maybe you don't need to convoy with them?

Determination is the key to success. No matter your field. I take online classes amongst other lessons like on here at C.Cow (That is how I learned about C.Cow) You can pay the test fee, to prove you know how to do something that may never be asked. However, like me, when looking for actors, I ask Got Reel? When I talk with Indy's to help out on a scene, or the whole thing. They ask Got Reel? When I was asked to shoot a series, guess what? Got Reel? That is the real 'nuts and bolts'.
Mark was straight and had elaborated on the whole deal. One thing rang out...Got Real? When he says, revisit your old stuff and tweak it, and know what and why you are tweaking it (Theory) What I knew yesterday, is not what I know today. Sure your reel can always use updating. See Tom Cruise and Risky Business vs M3...
The hardest, easiest, most rewarding job, is the one you create. Your Reel....I see a ton of people in my neck of the woods with nothing but talk and pro websites they paid for. impressive, but where is the reel?
No Reel....='s fake. Unless they can say; "Umm did you catch Star Trek? Yeah, I did that". A reel. Not that your reel needs to be Star Trek caliber, however it help you meet others on your playing field so they know what you know and how they jibe with you.
Be professional and you will be treated professional.
You can do anything you set your mind to. You might have to look a few things up along the way...
Peace,
Simon

S.Faris
http://www.NetCommercial.Net


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