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Career paths

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Sam Lanes
Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:14:28 am

I often read some of the very experienced people on these forums and am often interested to learn what career paths they have taken to get to where they are today.

I am currently working as a Video Technician (7 years) at a reseller in the UK which has given me a great background in the technical side of many editing packages and a LOT of equipment.

In the short to medium term, I have plans to try and get back into the creative side of the industry and would love to get into the post-production field (particularly as an editor).

I did a degree in Media Production which was very practical but weak on technical and I now feel I am trying to reverse this in terms of my knowledge.

Would anyone else care to share their career paths to this point?

http://www.aefromscratch.com


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Bob Zelin
Re: Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 12:31:49 pm

Sam -
you have 7 years of technical background. You work for a reseller, which means that you already know who the clients are that your reseller sells to. YOU CONTACT THEM. You say "hey, I am leaving Root 6" or whatever dealer you are with, and tell them that you want to work for them. You don't need any degree. They already know you. They probably already like you. You have already done work for them, and they know you are qualified. That is I ASSUME that you know who your bosses clients are, I ASSUME that you have had contact with them, helped them in the past, had friendly conversations with them. You have more of a chance of getting into any of these companies than ANYONE that is going to contact them looking for work.

Perhaps you are shy - perhaps you don't want to "piss off" your boss by contacting his clients - SCREW YOUR BOSS, you contact them, and move forward with what you want to do for a living.

You are not a newbie - you are qualified, with great credibility. Make some phone calls today, or even just go and visit some of these companies. And if you DARE to say "what if they tell me that nothing is available", and this terrifies you, then you should just crawl back into your corner and keep doing your job. Now pick up the phone, and start making those calls. You need nothing other than confidence. You are already qualified.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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Sam Lanes
Re: Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:47:04 pm

Bob,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

You are right on all points (I think you have even guessed my character right with some of your comments!).

I think that is some of the motivation and common-sense thinking I need.

Thank you.

http://www.aefromscratch.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:15:49 pm

[Sam Lanes] "anyone else care to share their career paths to this point?"

Happy to, although my career path has been extremely short and relatively straight. I'm betting this is wildly unusual, but at 50 years old I've had exactly two real employers in my professional career (and one of those is myself).

After leaving college with a film degree, I actually started in the journalism side... working as a news reporter for an NBC-affiliate television station. I did that for six years, and hated every minute of it. This is where I learned that much of television news is a joke. I had a sign on my desk that said "I'm not a journalist, but I play one on TV," but the news director made me take it down.

Throughout this time I was also an occasional working film actor, doing little parts in the occasional bad movie, or very good TV show (I'm lucky that while the movies were baaaaaad, the TV shows were excellent, and a great experience). I learned a lot about filmmaking while doing this. As I have said before, I learned more in my first four hours on a real film set (especially about DP work) than I did in four years of film school. No lie.

After I couldn't stand it any more, I fled the news department for the other side of the building to the promotions and marketing department, where I became the Creative Services Manager. There I concepted, wrote, and directed station promos, etc... everything from daily topicals to the big image stuff, news and show opens, etc.

I continued as a working actor now and then throughout that time.

After six years in Creative Services, I had an opportunity to leave broadcast TV and form the company I have now, Fantastic Plastic, where I have been for 16 years. We do most anything in the video/film/television world... but mostly we produce broadcast commercials. We've never officially counted, but I think I've directed something in the neighborhood of 3,000 of them.

And there you have it. Very glamorous.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:57:05 pm

My career path has been of a more or less the 'traditional' route Coming out of college (with a degree in broadcast TV and radio production) I already knew that I wanted to edit for a living so that narrowed my focus right out of the gate. I worked my way up from machine room operator (aka 'dub monkey') to vault manager to assistant editor to editor. These were all at varies companies/productions mind you as many times you have to move out in order to move up. I'm currenting bouncing between editing and assistant editing as I'm trying to get a foothold on bigger projects (which sometimes means taking a step back in order to move forward).

How much editing experience do you have? You might be better served trying to get assistant editor gigs (which are very technical in nature) to allow you to get your foot in the door, network and meet experienced editors that you can learn from. Cut things on your own time to get your editing chops up and then see if any of your contacts can help you make the jump to the editor's chair.

I'm in Los Angeles though where it's highly competitive, highly saturated with people trying to make it, and highly specialized. I'm not familiar w/the lay of the land in the UK so my experience might not be an accurate representation of what to expect.




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Stephen Smith
Re: Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:01:19 pm

Todd forgot to mention his award winning career in Plastics Processing at his Utah facility.

I got a bachelors degree. Personally meet with about 50 video production business owners hoping that one of them might have a job. Did some PA grunt work for Lone Peak Productions and they seemed to like me so they gave me a shot at doing full time freelance editing for them. Then I landed a full time job at another one of those companies. Worked at both for about three months. All I did was work eat and sleep. I hope to never have to do that again. Both offered me great full job the same week. I've been working at Lone Peak ever since and loving it.

Stephen Smith - Follow me on Behance

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Todd Terry
Re: Career paths
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:51:43 pm

Didn't forget, Stephen... I just don't like to brag.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Bill Davis
Re: Career paths
on Aug 9, 2013 at 3:15:21 am

Left university for a community college program because they had the working radio station and people had been telling me I had a good radio voice. Got my first "on air" gig doing overnights as a teenager. Learned to edit audio on reel to reel tape. Started getting offers to write radio scripts. Got so good that the radio station (A Pulitizer affiliate) made me the production director and I started churning out 10-30 spots a week. Left radio to partner with another writer and a media buyer to open a small ad agency. Bought a Mac and Laserwriter and started learning typesetting and print design. Used a tax rebate to buy my first video camera. Fell in love with shooting video. Our print clients started hiring me to do their video work. Bought an EVO-9700 dual Hi-8 video deck so I could start editing my own work. Stumbled into Final Cut Pro at NAB 99 when it was introduced. Ordered it the next day. Started landing bigger and bigger clients to do both print and video. Ended up producing, writing, directing, shooting and editing more than 400 corporate video projects. Simultaneously kept creating broadcast work for TV and radio along with the corporate stuff. Kept writing as a contributing editor at a trade magazine for a decade or so. Now I'm trying to decode the mysteries of the migration of eyeballs to the web. I'll keep making content one way or another until someday I cant see or hear well enough to continue. Mainly because I see a blank page or an empty digital storage device as the ultimate opportunity to fill it with something that might help someone else better understand something - while helping me better understand stuff too.

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Sam Lanes
Re: Career paths
on Aug 9, 2013 at 5:37:38 am

Thanks guys - some really interesting stories.

Todd - I also felt I learnt more outside of University than I did in it. We had very little concept of technologies that we were using to make all these little projects and I learnt so much more about this stuff once I was working across the board on different editing platforms, constructing studios and actually USING a wide range of kit.

Andrew - I have a fair experience of editing, but not much is recent. I am picking up a few projects here and there at the moment to try and develop (I have produced a brief web video for a business my friend works for, for example) and I'm trying to develop my After Effects skills which I am chronicling in my blog (see sig). It is very exciting to be working in these programmes and I can definitely see myself working in this environment in future.

Stephen - The hard work and dedication paid off for you then! That's very inspiring. The work on your Vimeo is very good.

Bill - It is very interesting to see how you have moved through different fields throughout your career and worked towards what is 'relevant'. I imagine that the variety has kept your career interesting?

http://www.aefromscratch.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Career paths
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:20:33 pm

Took video production in junior high/high school, black and white EIAJ reel-to-reel portapack stuff. Did simple machine to machine linear editing with a stopwatch, grease pencil to mark the tape, and a pot of coffee, because if you blew one edit, you had to start again from the beginning. First job was McDonald's at 16. (Counterman and fries station.)

Worked on an assembly line at Motorola for to help pay for school, assembling CRT monitors one summer, then the next summer, worked at VCA Teletronics labeling and packaging video tapes, the source of my hate for labeling and archiving tapes to this day. College was one third my own earnings, one third my parents, and the rest were scholarships/grants.

Went to college with a pre-law major, communications minor. Got into one of the campus' 3 radio stations as a freshman, became a DJ, as well as the production guy, making spots; end of first year, swapped my major and minor, deciding I loved TV and radio more than law. Also, the law i was interested in was anti-trust, which was going nowhere under Reagan....

Second year, promoted to general manager of the school's FM station over the summer, got money and academic credit for that summer "job". Got kicked out of the radio station when they replaced student managers with hired "pros". Joined student government as promotions/ PR guy as a junior, and a year later, was elected President as a senior. Got an internship at Continental Cablevision, produced a show very much like PM Magazine, shot, edited, directed, reported on-camera.

I graduated, languished without direction for the summer, found a sales job selling high school video yearbooks, back when that was a new idea and you had to offer both betamax and VHS versions. That folded in less than a year, due to bad management, so I did some volunteer production work at Cox cable while looking for paid work.

I started a business with a college friend producing video training for restaurants, it folded after our first client ripped us off, I went freelance making corporate video for institutions, and as a shooter for legal depositions and jury brochure videos, which was highly lucrative, and almost became my career, but the biz was highly variable: feast one month, starve the next, and I needed stability so I could save up money and move out of my parent's house..

Then I found my current gig thru a blind box ad in the paper, and moved to the capitol, where I've worked for over twenty years, under five governors so far, making public service spots, cable access political talk shows, tons of training shows, and shot a ton of news footage all over the state.

I dreamed of working in advertising on Michigan Ave back in school... but in many ways, this was better, as although it was and is small and low-budget, I get to "own" the entire process end-to-end, be the auteur. I pitch it, write it, produce it, direct it, shoot it, post it, etc. where at a big agency I might only work on a tiny slice of a project, and be in constant career churn from agency to agency until getting a breakdown. So I get great variety of work here, decent pay and bennies, and I'm making a living doing what I enjoy, with retirement about two more governors away. Still learning new things, and enjoying life.


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Sam Lanes
Re: Career paths
on Aug 12, 2013 at 5:34:19 am

Mark - That is a great story. I enjoy the tales of people who set out to do one thing then end up falling into something completely different.

Andrew - Thank you - some great advice there. I am working hard at the moment to really make sure I know about a really broad range of skills (most of which is refreshing myself creatively whilst USING various programmes, equipment etc...these have moved on a lot whilst I've been a tech and although I know how to use many of them, it has been a long time since I've used many in a creative way over a long period). Persistence is also becoming a theme! I am not presently on facebook but I will sign up to get access to the groups you recommended.

http://www.aefromscratch.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Career paths
on Aug 12, 2013 at 6:47:58 am

[Sam Lanes] "Persistence is also becoming a theme! "

Persistence and having clearly defined goals is a winning combination. Persistence will keep you going and the clearly defined goals will make sure you keep going in the right direction. I've run into a number of people that were very smart/talented and persistent but they didn't have defined goals and eventually burned themselves from aimless meandering.




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Stephen Smith
Re: Career paths
on Aug 9, 2013 at 3:04:46 pm

[Sam]
Stephen - The hard work and dedication paid off for you then! That's very inspiring. The work on your Vimeo is very good.

Thanks for the kind words.

Stephen Smith - Follow me on Behance

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Shane Ross
Re: Career paths
on Aug 13, 2013 at 12:48:36 am

Here...instead of typing all of mine out, I have a podcast about, well, how I broke into the industry.

http://lfhd.net/2009/05/13/the-edit-bay-episode-13/

I, like Andrew, did the traditional route. Apprentice editor>Vault Manager>Assistant Editor...but then to Online Editor, back to assistant, then to editor. But I started out wanting to be a camera guy.

But the above podcast link (6 min podcast) shows how I broke into the industry.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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