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Career Goals

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David SikesCareer Goals
by on Sep 30, 2014 at 3:05:33 pm

Hey everyone. I'm in my first position after college. I started in January 2013 and have been here since, doing video production for a company's marketing department.

Something I'm facing when I think about the future is the challenge of what I want my career path to look like. My current title is "Video Producer", and I work as a all-arounder doing corporate production, while freelancing as an AC and video producer on the side. This is essentially the work I want to do, and it's the basically the same job I see several of my peers having at different companies, colleges, etc.

I don't want to become stagnant, and creative work is great because it naturally always pushes me to see how my work could be better in an endless variety of ways, and I'm always working to make better stuff.

But for whatever reason, it's hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of having the same attitude about my career. There's not a clear next rung in the ladder. So it's hard to set career-oriented goals for myself.

The only "next step" I can think of so far is either a) same job, but bigger company or market, or b) to eventually try to specialize in an aspect of production and seek a career in that (ie, editing).

Where I am right now, I'm plenty challenged and it's a great place to grow and learn for now, but I don't want to eventually become too comfortable because I always want to be challenged, I always want to be pushed, and of course (as a somewhat-newly wed), there's financially incentive to move up as we want to start a family.

Anyone else been in this situation? Any advice on what the "next step" can look like, and how to set goals for myself?

Thanks everyone.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Career Goals
by on Sep 30, 2014 at 4:42:36 pm

Well, it may be early for you to have figured out which area of production gives you the most satisfaction. The older I get, the less I enjoy run and gun shooting or aerials, and the more I prefer editing, compositing, animation and writing/directing. As you age, your favorites may also change.

The industry evolves at a frightening rate. Old jobs dry up, and new disciplines emerge. There's a lot of mergers and start-ups and bankruptcies. Demand goes up and down, client loyalty declines as they seek to commoditize what we do and break everything down to competing just on price, while quality continues to become diluted in favor of "good enough". If you're looking for stability in a career, this may not be the first choice, particularly as the only income for a family. It can be feast and famine, rapidly alternating, if you are chasing bigger numbers, bigger projects, bigger clients all the time. Plenty of people are wealthy and successful doing that, but they have to spend a lot of time and energy on marketing themselves.

Other than that, it's fun!

Stick with the solid corporate gig; they are hard to come by these days, but stretch your "muscles" creatively by pursuing outside side-projects with friends or organizations, on whatever budget you can manage. This also builds your network of contacts, your depth and breadth of experience, and gives you more ideas about what it is that you really love most - that thing you'll eventually sell all you have, just to fund making "it" real.

You might start smaller though; explore thru the corporate gig, what charities your company invests in, and suggest making some PSA's or funding marketing communications for those charities on spec. Because it's a "freebie", you might explore more risky or innovative creative ideas for such a project.

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Andrew KimeryRe: Career Goals
by on Sep 30, 2014 at 4:45:42 pm

[David Sikes] "The only "next step" I can think of so far is either a) same job, but bigger company or market, or b) to eventually try to specialize in an aspect of production and seek a career in that (ie, editing). "

Before you can take a next step you certainly need to get an idea of where you want to go. Do you want to start your own production company? Shoot feature films? Edit documentaries? Direct music videos? Why did you get into this field? What's your dream job?

Basically, you decide where you want to go and then work backwards. For example, when I was in college I figured out that I wanted to be an editor and I wanted to take the bull by the horns which meant moving to Los Angeles. From talking with other people in the industry and hanging out in forums like the COW I learned that a typical career path for editor was something like get a PA/runner job at post house, move up to being a logger or working in the machine room/tape vault, move up to assistant editor, move up to editor. I could spend a couple years or so at each level so it could take 8-10 years to go from an entry level position to editor.

My short term goal was how to afford to move to Los Angeles. My long term goal was supporting myself full time as an editor. In between were a much of medium term goals so I knew I stayed on pace and on course.

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Bob ZelinRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 1, 2014 at 10:54:15 pm

aah - the innocent, starting in our "cool" industry, with your "cool" job. You will eventually realize several things.

1) working for anyone sucks
2) unless you become SO GOOD at ONE THING (so that it is boring to you), no one will ever believe that you are good. So the only way to become a "star" is to get SO GOOD at editing, color grading, producing, graphics, audio, wardrobe, lighting, etc. and do NOTHING ELSE FOR EVER, that people will say "wow, this guy is great at XYZ". And you better love doing XYZ, because you will be doing XYZ for the rest of your life. So long, that it will become second nature to you, and BORING. For an analogy, if you ever need open heart surgery, you don't want an ambitious young student doing his first heart operation on you - you want THE OLD GUY, that has done thousands of bypass operations, and valve replacements. This guy, THE OLD GUY has NO IDEA about dermatology, or colo-rectal surgery, or opthamology, or orthopeadics - he is a HEART SURGEON, and he knows it SO WELL, that it is no longer a challenge to him. It's just his job, and he makes a lot of money at it, and his only pleasure is to go golfing, or boating, or go on vacation with his wife. THAT IS LIFE.

When the stuff that you love to do is SO DAMN COOL YOU CANT BELIEVE YOU ARE DOING IT, no one wants you. When in fact you are so damn good at "job XYZ" that "everyone" knows that you are "THE GUY" and that they would be a fool not to hire you, then you have succeeded in your career. But you have done it SO MANY TIMES, that you are bored, and would rather do anything else. You don't get to play basketball when you are a football player.

What you do is a job, and you work for a company. One day, if you continue at this, you will be independent, have your own company, and people will hire you, and pay you to do what you do best (producing, directing, editing, whatever). That is the only goal you should have. Because if you work for THE BIG COMPANY (like a TV Station or Cable Station), one day you will be fired, and they will hire some kid JUST LIKE YOU to replace you, because you make too much money, and they just don't want people like you there anymore, because AVID, Blackmagic, AJA, Sony, Adobe, etc. are not COOL anymore, and all the cool kids (it's 20 years from now) are using BRAND XYZ, and you don't know brand XYZ, and you are getting paid 4 times what these kids will take, and they already know BRAND XYZ, so you are out on your ass.

Learn as much as you can, never stop learning, never stop meeting clients, including your bosses clients right now. Do this forever, and you will do fine.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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Rich RubaschRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 2, 2014 at 3:59:15 pm

Mmmmmm, another sweet Zelin post.

It's gonna be a great day!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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Tim WilsonRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 2, 2014 at 5:27:17 pm

On the flip side, I'm on my sixth or seventh career in 30 years, only half of them even vaguely related to even one of the other. The energy I spent on trying to get ahead in my then-current career, in retrospect, would have been better spent on literally anything. Reading. Cheese making. Lifting weights. Watching TV. Sex. Name it.

The thing is, I was passionate, committed, and laser-focused on each of those careers. Absolutely loved them. But the idea of picking a thing, or even a matrix of related things, to build an entire life around is horrifying to me. The irreplaceable treasures I've picked up along a path I'd never have predicted is my favorite thing about my life.

You have been given a gift of almost incalculable value: a steady job at a young age. My suggestion: use this period of relative safety to prepare to blow it all up before you're 30, at the latest. Follow your interests and instincts, remembering that "career path" doesn't mean just one career. And it may not even look like a path at all until you're looking back on it.

It's good that you're thinking about this now, and I'm glad that you're asking yourself what this job will offer you in a few years. The answer might be "Nothing." At which point do something else.

These other fellas are steering you straight, but that's only helpful if you want to keep driving straight. I'd just add that there are rewards that can only be found on the other side of the horizon, which I've always thought of as my starting place. I can SEE the horizon. Why stop there?

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David SikesRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 2, 2014 at 6:18:30 pm

Everyone, thank you for all the great advice. This is all so helpful. I will certainly take the advice to make the most I can of the time I have at this in-house job, to make good work and grow professionally, so I can be prepared for the day I need to go elsewhere, for whatever reason.

It's always healthy to hear from the experienced pros here about what a career path can look like in this industry that is changing so rapidly.

I couldn't find my posts, but advice I received while in college is largely what helped me get this job and the jobs I had in college. Thanks to all the folks who have helped out in my career so far, and all the advice that y'all continue to share with me.

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Richard HerdRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 2, 2014 at 10:49:09 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I'm on my sixth or seventh career in 30 years"

Did you have student loans?

I add: pay back those student loans as fast as possible. Don't buy new gear. Don't get a graduate degree. Don't spend money a big wedding. Or a house. Or new gear. Don't buy new gear. Pay off the student loans. Then quit the current steady job.

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Kylee PeñaRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 2, 2014 at 10:55:40 pm

[Richard Herd] "Pay off the student loans. Then quit the current steady job."

While it's obviously important to get rid of debt quickly, if I stayed in my first steady job and never bought any gear until my student loans were paid off, I'd still be at that crappy gig with no end in sight. It seems short-sighted to put your life on hold until one thing is paid.

twitter: @kyl33t

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Tim WilsonRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 3, 2014 at 12:13:21 am

I DID have student loans, and I DID go to graduate school. And my first three careers after school had nothing whatsoever to do with EITHER of my degrees.

I'm not saying you have to go to that extreme. I suspect a handful of careers is enough for most people. LOL

[Kylee Wall] "...if I stayed in my first steady job and never bought any gear until my student loans were paid off, I'd still be at that crappy gig with no end in sight. It seems short-sighted to put your life on hold until one thing is paid."

My father has changed careers even more than I have, and he made quite a few of those changes while he had young kids at home. We moved a bunch. Someone might lament all that as some sign of crumbling modern whatever, but my experience was the opposite. I lived in big towns, small ones, rural flatlands and islands, from northern New England to southern California, from Florida to Oregon, and, okay, a little too long in Texas. LOL I love this whole dang country, and just about every way there is to live in it. I LOVE adapting.

(I also look at American history and see multi-generational roots as the exception, not the rule. There's no more American trait than migration, our tragic history of forced migrations notwithstanding.)

I learned adaptation from my parents, and I assure you there was no money to fall back on. Things were sometimes tough, but it was an adventure. We had fun. I think I was very well served by my experience that there are always new ways and new places to grow.

I also think that that experience is more critical than ever, as we move increasingly into a world where career changes aren't our ideas. If your primary stance to the world is an experience of flexibility and adaptation, then you can more quickly start to see the opportunity that lies on the other side of the crisis.

The last observation I'll make is that 2 of my last 3 careers didn't exist when I was in college. Preparing for them was not an option EXCEPT to the extent that I've been in the habit of getting into new habits on a regular basis. Who knows? My next career might not exist yet either.

Knowing that you CAN make those kinds of changes, because you've MADE those kinds of changes is better than getting into a situation where your career vanishes out from under you in ten years, yes?

This is going further afield that I meant to, and I'll bow out from here. But my point is still the same. If what you really really really want is to drive straight on 'til sunrise, then go for it, my friend. I just wouldn't want anyone looking for career advice to ONLY get advice for the best way to keep going straight.

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Richard HerdRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:30:57 pm
Last Edited By Richard Herd on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:31:53 pm

We can only assume you are still paying on those loans. And what does "crappy first gig" mean?

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Kylee PeñaRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:58:06 pm

Of course I'm still paying on my loans. My crappy first gig after school only paid me $12 an hour.

I would describe it to you further, but it's probably best to stay a little more positive. I learned things and grew and after four years of waiting out the economy, I got the opportunity to leave. During those four years, I was also able to get my side work set up and do passion projects that really rounded my skills out as an editor.

twitter: @kyl33t

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Richard HerdRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:35:37 pm

regarding student loans: The student loan debt in the US has reached crisis. Students need to calculate the cash repayment obligation. Many loans are amortized negatively and unpaid interest is capitalized. That's infinite debt repayment. That is a massive opportunity cost. It is very important to pay them off as soon as possible (sacrificing other purchasing) because student loans cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.

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Linda NaksRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:00:51 pm

This thread is the best I've trailed in all of 2014.
Seems we ALL have something important to say.

Keep it coming, folks-- this is the best show I've seen in town for a very, very long time.

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David UebergangRe: Career Goals
by on May 28, 2016 at 12:21:52 pm

This was all I could think of reading your post;

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Kylee PeñaRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 2, 2014 at 8:27:20 pm

You're kind of describing me during my first year (plus three more years after that) out college, like almost exactly. It's good that you recognize that you could become stagnant. Once I realized that I was the only video expert in the whole company and I could get away with doing less than what I found to be acceptable work, I actively challenged myself to learn something new with every project. So for some, I made myself try a new technique in After Effects. With others, I tried pitching a project in a style I'd never worked on before. That mostly worked to keep me engaged for like two years.

The thing that really kept me going was using the stable job with regular hours to explore stuff on my own time and figure out what I wanted to do next. I was able to do a lot of independent film work and become a much better editor. I also directed a couple of short films and found that I liked writing and directing, but really hated actually shooting. And I did some other jobs or volunteer work that were nothing like video production work just to see what it was like. I had a lot of time to develop business relationships with people that I still work with today, on mostly fun stuff.

So with all that time, I was reaffirmed in pursuing purely post production work, and that ended up becoming my sole focus in my down time and then my next job move. It could have easily gone another way.

However, being someone that has always been really unhealthily obsessed with a linear path to career success and happiness and junk (to the point of working myself to terrible health in college just because I HAD to graduate in FOUR YEARS or ELSE), I strongly urge you to follow the advice in this thread about chilling out and realizing there may be no clear path until it's behind you. That will save you a lot of anguish about moving forward in your career.

twitter: @kyl33t

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Nick GriffinRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 3, 2014 at 7:26:58 pm

Gee, why do so many of the really good threads start when I'm out of town at a conference or neck-deep in a shoot? My two cents: As others have said and I'll try to say more plainly, add skills and keep adding skills. And then… add some more.

As someone who has been self-employed since… well let's just say it's measured in decades… I've had to continually re-invent what I do, almost always without leaving any of the previously developed skills behind. This has taken me from radio production, to sales, to advertising, to PR, into computer consulting, from still photography into videography and production. And I'll say with the exceptions of radio and computer consulting I'm still doing most of these things for a highly select group of clients.

Never stop learning (as Mr. Zelin so succinctly points out). Keep learning new things so that you stay valuable to your employers, or should you decide to go out on your own, to your clients.

I also agree that step one is keeping the day job and branching out from there, as long as it NEVER conflicts with the day job. Those who equate going into business for themselves as an either/or proposition are setting themselves up for the strong possibility of failure. I was dumb and lucky. Most are not. Build a business on the side that's already up and running before you expect it to pay all of your bills.

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Ned MillerRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 4, 2014 at 2:21:14 am
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Oct 4, 2014 at 1:14:25 pm

OP writes: “we want to start a family.” Uh-oh…Independent video/freelancing/producing and having a family don’t go together unless:

1) You married a rich girl.
2) You married a girl who makes a high salary.
3) Preferably a combo of #1 & #2
4) You are from family money.
5) Most preferably a combo of #3 & #4 which many in video are!

Otherwise you’re forced, as a male who wants to start a family, to go staff/steady paycheck. I’m an exception to the rule, being freelance for 36 years, but my generation rode the Golden Wave of making great money (until Digital/Internet/DSLR destroyed it). What was good for the masses was bad for the Pros. You was born 20 years too late. Now there’s too much competition to make a really good living like we did. Sorry! Supply and demand, Econ 101. Too many people now doing video. Clients now have a lower expectation of quality and won’t pay like they used to. Unfortunately, video production has become a commodity if not DIY, unless you find or stumble across deep pocket clients which is getting to be like finding hens teeth.

Everything changes, not when you get married but when the (first) baby comes and it gets tougher when the stork keeps dropping by. Then your career choices narrow because you have to make even more (steady) money and you become: The Bread Winner. At that time a steady paycheck with job security and insurance overrides all. Even with the Affordable Care Act because that has very high deductibles. Your “happiness” takes a back seat to putting food in the fridge, making the car(s) payments, rent, etc. Even if your wife goes back to work it will be tough. Once you have two kids it can be cheaper for your wife to stay home with the kids than the price of day care for two or three kids. So be prepared: You must figure out a way to make the most money, regardless if you find the work “fulfilling”. Sorry about that. I hope I’m not the first one to tell you.

Unfortunately Zellin is right. Things look different when you’re young and starting out, bright eyed and bushy tailed, overly optimistic. When you start in a “cool” occupation that perhaps once was a passion or hobby there’s an excitement level, when you have to do it as a way to make money, then it can become work or the clients/projects/mission grind you down. I know this from dealing with too many people who quit their day job to get into video or stills as a livelihood.

I would say for your generation, if you have landed a corp video staff job, the “secure” career path I have seen (I shoot for many Fortune 100s) is to get a more advanced degree and/or certifications, that will allow you to stay in a creative dept (marketing, advertising, video, PR, etc.) and make more money. Since you want to start a family keep that gig and figure out how to use it as a stepping stone but DO NOT go freelance or independent unless you have that family money security mentioned above. As Mark said you can release your inner filmmaker on your side jobs, maybe do charity fund raising videos for non-profits, music videos for local bands, etc. But…your priority is to provide for your family once the first bambino comes.

The REAL PROBLEM of the video biz is basically there’s no real cash flow like a for real biz, it’s a PROJECT centric business, like contracting:

• Look for work
• Get work and complete it.
• Get check (which can take awhile).
• Spend profit
• Repeat- over and over. And there’s no predictability or stability.

It is however the perfect profession for people who do not care for regularity and that is why freelance creative services draw the ADD & ADHD crowd. That may be what's bugging you: The Regularity of Corporate Work. Many of us life long freelancers can't handle the regularity but deep down we're jealous of a steady paycheck and matching 401K contributions, and did I mention health insurance?

If you go independent there are 4 identifiable stages to your career:

1) Who is Ned Miller?
2) Get me Ned Miller
3) Get me a YOUNG Ned Miller (meaning I’m considered too expensive)
4) Who is Ned Miller?

I am in stage 3 right now and trying to elongate it.

So nowadays, if you aren’t from money or married into it (which many in the creative arts are) it is nigh impossible to:

• Save for an engagment ring.
• Pay for a wedding.
• Save for a down payment for a house then make payments.
• Afford kids
• Have decent car(s)
• Save for a college fund
• Have a nice annual vacation
• Put money away for retirement
• Etc. Adult life. Ugh!

I have two kids in their late 20s and I would not recommend this business to them (or anyone). We made the mistake to teach them to “follow your bliss”, it’s more important to be happy than make money. Well, my wife and I were wrong. Mr. Rogers was wrong. Now they are doing something that’s fun, fulfilling, challenging and helps Mother Earth but there’s NO MONEY in tree hugging. It is hard to be happy when you're older if you're broke. In fact, that’s an old expression: “There’s no money in it.” Even in a corp video dept, which is susceptible to the axe in hard times, it doesn’t pay that well. That’s why you need to move up the corporate ladder, learn how to play golf, be good at shmoozing, etc. Get an MBA, get certified:

You want to have a lot of letters after you’re name if you're in a corp. And in regard to those posters who suggest starting your own "production company", if you are a one-man-band you are NOT a production company, you're a freelance producer. That's me, I know.

I know from whence I speak, I was just hired as a Wisewords Advisor which is consulting to people wanting to enter the DP profession. I also will be starting a blog for young DPs on my new website, mainly because I do not have the time to answer every email query about how to get into the biz. I will tone down my real perspective but I can tell you honestly, if you are planning to have kids, in this crazy irregular business, keep your staff gig at all costs and save every damn penny. LBYM (Live Below Your Means). I am one of the fortunate few but that is because I entered the biz at the right time. Now it is too late, unless you have that back up money mentioned above.

So normally I would charge you for that advice but since you're a buddy on our forum it's gratis. Here is the site where you can get advice for $25:

Well good luck! Let us know how it goes.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer

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Bob ZelinRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 4, 2014 at 9:31:00 pm

I LOVE Ned's Post -
Ned writes -

1) Who is Ned Miller?
2) Get me Ned Miller
3) Get me a YOUNG Ned Miller (meaning I’m considered too expensive)
4) Who is Ned Miller?

Let me translate, for those too young to understand. In #1, you are no one, and you work your behind off to become someone. Then "everyone" says "get me Ned Miller" (or get me Bob Zelin). Then Bob Zelin gets too expensive, and "they say" get me someone like Bob Zelin or Ned Miller, but who charges half that amount".
As the years go by, the "new kids" who are now 30 years old are starting to become established, and unlike the "old time professionals", these new successful kids have NO IDEA of who Ned Miller or Bob Zelin are, and we may contact them, and they say "who are you". Which for us "professionals" is the ultimate insult, and we want to say "don't you know who I am" - but in reality, we are no one, because there is probably some 35 year old that can run rings around what we do. If you don't want to face up to these facts, that the world keeps changing, and if you don't keep up, and keep fighting, you will be unemployed, and forgotten, then you should NEVER consider going into this (or any) hi technology business. Because the #1 Panavision Cinematographer is NO ONE to a 30 year old producer that want to shoot with a RED Epic Dragon, and the 60 year old Academy Award DP can only say "6K, what is 6K".

If you don't like this reality, just get a job, and have a family.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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Bob ZelinRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 4, 2014 at 9:34:29 pm

quick summary to my last post on this subject -

"who is Walter Biscardi ?"

Anyone that can't answer that question should not be allowed to work in the post production industry.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 5, 2014 at 12:28:50 am

Depressing item of the day:

While I've been scrabbling at a living these past 27-odd years, there's an 8-year-old kid on the internet, clearing over a million dollars a year on YouTube, just unboxing his toys in front of a locked-off camera.

And he's not the only one.

This fact is making me mightily struggle with Matthew:20. I'll get over it, but the take-away should be that there still are million-dollar ideas out there in areas you may not have considered.

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Tim WilsonRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 5, 2014 at 1:03:39 am

[Mark Suszko] "the take-away should be that there still are million-dollar ideas out there in areas you may not have considered."

Exactly my point. Even without the million dollars. Just talking about happiness and maximum creativity. No contemplation of a career path should ONLY include options for staying on the CURRENT path. Certainly not in one's 20s.

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Linda NaksRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 6, 2014 at 3:47:49 am

Hallo David,

With only 17 years of LA under my editing belt, I'm only just getting started now. The following is the best I can give you:

It's stupid, it's cliche, but it's so very true: do what you love, and love what you do. Whether in production or in post, this is not a 9 -->5 industry, any way you dice it. When your day has reached hour 14, or hour 26 (no, not a typo, that was my world record to get a show to air,) you need to love your craft or else you'll do a Walter White. I recently had the privilege to work with one of LA's finest companies, and in my first of a 2-week gig, I put in 80 hours. It was (cough) challenging to say the least. I missed sleeping and eating. Often I was in quite a lot of pain. But I wanted my new boss/client to trust me, and trust me he did. The experience was invaluable, and loving my job made the hours so much easier.

TV/Film is not the easiest road to take. A mere 5 years into the game, I cracked under the pressure and quit, stating I'd never touch a computer again. Rigged parachutes for two years. Re-screwed my head back on, and now, I love editing so much, that my DVR is perpetually max'ed at 99%. I watch anything and everything. I watch stoopid diaper commercials in slow motion and sketch out the designs of how a seemingly-mundane spot actually solves fitting a lot of attractive graphics into one screen. Learn from everything and everyone.

Learn the legalities of the business. Keep everything legit to a T, and always keep your deals in writing. I truly think that our particular industry tends to bring out the worst in many people, more so than do other industries. BUT, I have also met so many of the finest, kindest, most genuine folks as well-- folks who have become the best of the best, simply because they love what they do. When you find a great individual, or a super company/client, work hard to keep them tight.

Everybody knows EVERYBODY. This is sometimes good, other times very bad. In a random elevator at a random network building, in stepped a former colleague from an ugly gig many years ago. You will cross paths again which you wouldn't even believe, so always remain polite and remain professional. The past tends to resurface around town, and you want your interactions to have concluded nicely. EVERYBODY talks, and it's easier to live up to a good reputation than it is to live a bad one down.

All of the above replies are excellent and a joy to read. I hope you can find some nuggets in my ramblings here as well. Stay strong, be good, remain honest, in whichever road you take. I'm sure things will work out just fine, even when you hit some inevitable (but temporary!) potholes, sinkholes, tornadoes, and collapsed black holes along the way. It's a fun ride, so enjoy :-)

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Joe KnappRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 7, 2014 at 3:37:11 am

Sorry I'm late to the party....

Truth: Corporate in-house video can be both savior and enslaver. What do you really want to do, in your heart? Do you like video for video's sake, or do you deeply desire to make particular types of content?

Corporate video can be a great source of stability, tends to pay better than peers at production/post companies, and can be a great learning ground where you can sample many different aspects of the video production universe. Depending on the company, you can have a great deal of creative control.

Conversely, it usually is very dry and repetitive, unless 1) you're in the right company, or 2) you're in the right mindset. Your 'ladder-climbing' options are usually non-existent, your creative direction is often overruled by office politics or whims of an executive, and you tend to get isolated from others in the industry. And how many talking-head and year-in-review videos can one person take, FFS? ;-)

Know that it's pretty important that you decide early in your career which direction you'd like to go in. Otherwise, you get addicted to the corporate teat (corporate & federal government work tend to pay pretty nicely). The other reason is stigma. Broadcast-oriented people want people who have broadcast experience, no matter how great you edit/produce/animate/composite. And it gets harder to jump to the other ship later on. It's pretty hard to take a sizable pay cut and try to beat out others that have industry experience. Not impossible, but difficult.

TL;DR advice: Give yourself 4-5 years of stability, save your cash, continue to freelance. At the 5 year mark, that's a great point to decide whether to stay in-house corporate, or jump to other parts of the industry. Good luck, brother.

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Andrew RendellRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 19, 2014 at 6:27:44 am

Reading this thread I feel so boring, no degree, no multiple careers, no wide range of different skills. I started cutting around 1989 and still make my living from it. The big Z is right that when you get good at something it does get boring in some ways (NLEs are indeed seriously boring, but you can do some interesting things with them) and I moved from sports to music to factual TV to find an area where solving creative challenges keeps it interesting for me. I've also done plenty of boring cutting jobs for the pay check.

If I've any advice it's this: don't let what you do to make a living take over you, you need to have a life outside work. I paint pictures, make experimental music and go to the theatre as often as I can afford to, but it doesn't matter what things you do as long as you have something that means when you're having a bad time at work (and we all do from time to time) you don't interpret it as an attack on yourself personally, which you can do if you identify yourself too strongly with what you do for a living. And that wider experience of life will make you a better filmmaker as well. So what are you going to do next weekend, sit in front of a computer learning some intricacies of a software package or go to a ball game? Go watch the he game, man ;-)

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Linda NaksRe: Career Goals
by on Oct 20, 2014 at 2:33:10 am
Last Edited By Linda Naks on Oct 21, 2014 at 8:50:43 am

Thanks so very much, Andrew-- your post inspired me to dig out an old painting of mine this very morning, which I had left abandoned earlier this year when work had hit the fan.

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