Finding a first entry-level professional job
For the past two years since out of college I've been on a difficult path to find my first editing job. I've worked as a temp worker at FCP (FOX) but I'd like to get a job doing something that I love. My promo demo reel is from 2015 but I had a few professional editors look at it and they said it was fine. However they said since I lacked the real world skill as they can do it themselves rather than teaching me which hurts emotionally but very understandable.
I recently completed an Avid workshop that helps you get an Avid MC User Certification which I can display proudly. My question is where do I go from here? I've been looking non-stop at CC, Craigslist, NBC, WB, FOX, SONY, DISNEY, and other places.
How did you land your first editing job and how did you keep your referrals warm or hot? Any tips and advice is welcome.
Also, would getting an ACE internship help?
Hey David, is your location in LA correct? The advice you get for LA-based editing jobs is different from other areas because the industry works differently here. I want to tell you first you're going to get a lot of different advice, much of it bad, so take it all with a grain of salt. Including this advice.
Assuming you are in LA, what kind of work do you want to do? This will inform what job you get now. If you want a staff editing job, looking in the places you're currently looking is one way to go, but finding one will be pretty rare. If you want to work in TV (scripted or reality/docs) or film, you have a few options and they mostly start at the bottom of the ladder with either being a post PA or assistant editor. Many people get their start working nights in reality for larger companies like Bunim-Murray or Pie Town, which often hire loggers and overnight assistants. If you want to follow this sort of path, you can work 100 days minimum to be roster-eligible, get on the industry experience roster, and try to find a union assistant editor gig.
That's not the only path, but it's a common one in LA. There are increasing opportunities for other kinds of work, freelance and staff, as an editor on non-broadcast stuff -- web series, web content to support TV and film, trailers, Snapchat, whatever. You can find jobs on Facebook groups and StaffMeUp and other sites.
But the thing that ties all the possible paths together is that you need a network of people who will help see you through your career. You don't need referrals and connections, you need real relationships with people in the community who will get to know you, trust you, and give you the opportunities you need to step upward. I have never gotten a job through applying for it, only through knowing people. And not through "networking" because that's cold and dry and people see right through it.
So I would encourage you to get into the community more and meet people and ask them about what they do. This is a thousand times more valuable than a certification. You need good people in your circles that will let you learn and share their knowledge and learn from you as well. Editors that tell you they don't have time to help you because they'd rather just do it themselves aren't worth knowing.
As far as the ACE internship: if you qualify for it, it doesn't hurt to apply. I know editors who were able to use it as a big stepping stone, and even if you don't get it you get invited to a lecture series. Have you registered for Editfest LA? I can share a promo code with you for a lower cost ticket.
If you're free on Saturday, a group I work with called Blue Collar Post Collective has a meet-up in Hollywood on Saturday evening. It's a great community of people in post, many of which have been able to help each other get jobs. We have a very robust Facebook group full of people your age who ask questions like this all the time. We're a non-profit and our mission is to support emerging talent in post production and make the industry more accessible, so you'd fit right in. We're also doing a pre-Editfest meet-up on August 11. You can see some information here and a link to Facebook to join the discussion and get some solid advice online and in person:
Thank you for your kind response. I reside in LA and I would want to do docs, TV (long form episodic and promotional), film (short and long form), and music videos. So pretty much everything.
Where do I look for Post PA or assistant editing jobs as this is where I want to start? What do you mean that they see right through it? I've been told networking was the upmost essential way of finding potential gigs and meeting new contacts. Is this not the case anymore?
I would like checkout Blue Collar Post Collective, it sounds interesting to me. I have not registered for EditFest LA but I would like to check it out as well.
[David Gillick] "Where do I look for Post PA or assistant editing jobs as this is where I want to start?"
You can look on the websites directly, as I know many of these larger reality companies list emails for collecting resumes for entry level positions. You can also look on Facebook for groups like "I need a PA" or "I need an assistant editor" because there are a lot of gigs posted there. Most jobs will be through people who know you. Not just people you've met once and given a card to at a networking event, but have gotten to know you at least superficially and see you periodically and know your personality and goals. Which leads me to --
[David Gillick] "What do you mean that they see right through it?"
When I'm at a social or networking event, I loathe when people know where I work and approach me only to connect for a job. I hate when people ask me to coffee not to enrich themselves, but simply to try to weasel a gig. I know the hustle is a big part of this, but everyone wants to work with people they know they can trust to some degree. Most people I know in post are super turned off people people who treat networking as a business-card-gathering-Rolodex-building game instead of a thing where you are meeting people and bringing them into your life.
Networking is important, yes. But if you think about people like assets you can use and not people, they see through it and don't want to associate with you. People like to be valued, so value them. That's what BCPC is built on, and that's why so many of our members are so successful.
If you want to register for Editfest, you can use our promo code EF17ACE for a $100 ticket. Many of our members will be there. If you come to one of our meet-ups on the 29th or 11th, you can start building your network of contacts -- and hopefully, friends -- and a lot of people will give you valuable advice. Same as on our Facebook page.
Also a side note -- LA is a town that values people who specialize to a degree. If you go to an event like ours and tell people you want to do everything, it's hard to give good advice. If you say "I'm interested in everything and not sure what to pursue" that's easier. If you can hone your career goals to be more specific, knowing they can change at the drop of a hat, you will always get more actionable advice from people. Something to consider!
I tried signing up for the July 29th (which is today) but it seems that I missed it so I'm signing up for the August 11th but upon checking, it says the 12th. Do I have the date wrong? Thank you for your help!
Have a great weekend.
Hey David, the meet-up today is later at 6PM.
The Editfest Pre-Party is Friday the 11th at 6PM.
These meet-ups don't require any sign-up. They're at Saint Felix Hollywood on Cahuenga.
This is all laid out pretty clearly on our website: http://www.bluecollarpostcollective.com/bcpc-west/
Or a Facebook link if you like -- RSVP not required: https://www.facebook.com/events/147180329188472/
ACE Editfest itself, which requires a ticket, is on Saturday the 12th. You can find that on the American Cinema Editors website.