PDA

View Full Version : Editing Career Pathways...




corywoolf
Apr 30, 2005, 11:29 PM
I am a junior at a high school near Ann Arbor, MI. I am currently dual enrolled at Washtenaw Community College and have taken just about every video course offered there. I am thinking about trying to go to Full Sail down in Florida, but am seriously conserned with the cost of it. Is there any good places to look for scholarships for high school editors? I am also wondering if anyone that is a professional editor reading this, could give me some advice as far as what pathway is the most reliable. I am not looking to make a lot of Indy films and try to strike it rich or anything like that. My dream job would be editing video for the discovery channel.I have looked at NYFA and Academy of Art San Francisco, but both of those places would be much more expensive to live at. I talked to a guy who visited full sail and said there is apartments near it for as low as $550/ month. So any advice at all would be greatly appreaciated.

thanks



LethalWolfe
May 1, 2005, 12:39 AM
First off, no one cares where their editor, or shooter, or director, or writer went to school. They just care about how well that person can do their job. This isn't like the business world where a Big Name School will open doors for you. I work w/at least 3 people who have Masters from FSU's film school (one of the best in the nation) and people who went to USC and they are paying their dues just like I am (I went to Ball State Univ. in Indiana). Paying big $$$ for a big name school is not the best way to spend your money, IMO.

The best thing you can do is intern or get a part time/summer job at a local TV station, post house, or production company. Even if the work is not what you are interested in doing ultimately any experience and contacts you get are worth it (real world experience looks a hundred times better than any college degree). One thing that youíll quickly notice is that itís a small world out there in this industry and youíll get more jobs via ďhey, I have a friendÖĒ than by mailing off a rťsumť. With the the exception of 1 job (my current job) every industry job Iíve gotten has either been thru a friend or a friend of a friend. Also, most jobs in the TV and film neck of the woods are freelance, not fulltime staff positions (hopefully you are comfortable with that).

As far as colleges go, I would suggest looking in MI for any colleges that have good film or broadcast majors. If you can find anything in state that you like I would suggest giving Ball State Univ. in Indiana a look. Itís not far from MI, not very expensive (especially compared to the places you mentioned), and they have fantastic broadcast college that is consistently ranked in the top 5 nationally. I would also suggest editing anything you can get your hands on. Like anything else you need constant practice to improve. And never forget that editing is storytelling. It doesnít matter if itís 90 min feature or a 30 second commercial the goal is the same, to tell a story that touches your audience on an emotional level.


Lethal

corywoolf
May 1, 2005, 10:48 AM
First off, no one cares where their editor, or shooter, or director, or writer went to school. They just care about how well that person can do their job. This isn't like the business world where a Big Name School will open doors for you. I work w/at least 3 people who have Masters from FSU's film school (one of the best in the nation) and people who went to USC and they are paying their dues just like I am (I went to Ball State Univ. in Indiana). Paying big $$$ for a big name school is not the best way to spend your money, IMO.

The best thing you can do is intern or get a part time/summer job at a local TV station, post house, or production company. Even if the work is not what you are interested in doing ultimately any experience and contacts you get are worth it (real world experience looks a hundred times better than any college degree). One thing that youíll quickly notice is that itís a small world out there in this industry and youíll get more jobs via ďhey, I have a friendÖĒ than by mailing off a rťsumť. With the the exception of 1 job (my current job) every industry job Iíve gotten has either been thru a friend or a friend of a friend. Also, most jobs in the TV and film neck of the woods are freelance, not fulltime staff positions (hopefully you are comfortable with that).

As far as colleges go, I would suggest looking in MI for any colleges that have good film or broadcast majors. If you can find anything in state that you like I would suggest giving Ball State Univ. in Indiana a look. Itís not far from MI, not very expensive (especially compared to the places you mentioned), and they have fantastic broadcast college that is consistently ranked in the top 5 nationally. I would also suggest editing anything you can get your hands on. Like anything else you need constant practice to improve. And never forget that editing is storytelling. It doesnít matter if itís 90 min feature or a 30 second commercial the goal is the same, to tell a story that touches your audience on an emotional level.


Lethal



Thanks for the advice, i have already heard that going to a big name school doesn't mean much, but it does open up a lot of connections. They have good job placement at Full Sail from what I have heard. I have already taken college film courses like I said. My teacher, for Video Editing 2, had been in the business for about 35 years and had directed many of the national level car commercials. He gave us a lot of advice, but basically said the same thing you said about not needing to go to a big film school to land a job. But it certainly helps a lot. I still haven't created a piece of work that I don't have to point out one or two things while showing it to someone, but that is my goal. I would rather not go to a local college after high school, because, like i said, I have already taken some pretty advanced courses in after effects, final cut pro, DVD Studio Pro, and an overall video production course. I basically am in the need of some quality footage. It's a catch 22, I can edit well, but I have a hard time finding something good to edit. I am not a script writer, nor do I plan on becoming one. Is it worth spending money on stock footage and then editing it? I had to edit a segment on a rainforest last semester and I really enjoyed working with that quality of footage. It came with the final cut pro book lessons. I know its best to use all original content, but I have no friends who can act, I don't have the skill of writing scripts ( I have tried, and don't really care for it, everything gets clich'e), I do have access to a Xl1-S and a green screen, but I have messed around with that for a couple of years and it gets old fast. I could use stock footage in a resum'e reel, right? Everything I shoot looks overly homemade because its on mini-dv. I guess most of this stuff might be pretty common with amatuer editors. I really hate doing clich'e stuff, so I try to be completely original but nothing really turns out like it should. So is editing for a living basically like being a starving artist? Should I instead turn away form it and go on to do the everyday jobs, like corporate jobs? I think Full Sail would at least give me a good platform and 75% of the students (who go for their film degree) that graduate there get a professional editing job within 2 years. 2 years! That's a long time to be working at a red lobster! I have checked out the local production companys and they all look for people that at least have a college degree. So my final question is, if I have to go to a college to land an editing job quickly, then why not go to Full Sail? It may be expensive, but at least it wont leave me working at a Wendy's after I graduate. I don't want to go to another local college and review half the stuff I already have taken courses on and then not get a job in editing. It sounds like it is as hard to get a good paying editing job, as it is to become an astronaut.

LethalWolfe
May 1, 2005, 03:13 PM
Thanks for the advice, i have already heard that going to a big name school doesn't mean much, but it does open up a lot of connections They have good job placement at Full Sail from what I have heard.

I checked out Full Sail's website. If post production (editing) is your thing and you aren't that interested in movies I don't know why you'd want to go there. The focus is 95% on film production (unless I missed something). Also, the 75% number is for students that "gained initial employment." That sounds like they got an entry level job as a runner or PA or something (and it was most likely a temp/freelance gig). When you get out of school you arenít going to walk into an edit bay. You are going to fight to get an entry level position.

I have already taken college film courses like I said. My teacher, for Video Editing 2, had been in the business for about 35 years and had directed many of the national level car commercials. He gave us a lot of advice, but basically said the same thing you said about not needing to go to a big film school to land a job. But it certainly helps a lot.

Going thru a big name film program like FSU or USC wonít really open up any more doors for you, but it might provide more doors in general. Itís not a magic ticket, but it might mean you get a few more chances for opportunities than someone from a smaller school.

I would rather not go to a local college after high school, because, like i said, I have already taken some pretty advanced courses in after effects, final cut pro, DVD Studio Pro, and an overall video production course. I basically am in the need of some quality footage.

Editing is storytelling. Itís not about AE, or FCP, or DVDSP. Learning how to use the tools of an editor is different than learning how to edit. Learning the tools is easy and often confused w/learning the craft. No classes I took at Ball State were about how to use the tools. They were all about how to tell the story. I also spent about 30-40hrs a week in extracurricular activities. Working on student films and shooting/editing content for a live, weekly student produced TV show that aired locally on PBS. I learned more outside the classroom than I did inside the classroom, but I wouldnít have been able to be outside the classroom if I wasnít paying tuition to be inside the classroom. I walked out of Ball State having more than a dozen cut pieces under my belt, and my friends that went to big film schools had only a few movies under theirs. Now, did their stuff look prettier than mine? Sometimes. Did it look 10ís of thousands of dollars better than mine? No. ;) At at that stage of the game having a dozen good looking things is better than having a few very good looking thing, IMO.


It's a catch 22, I can edit well, but I have a hard time finding something good to edit.
Get involved w/your local amateur film community. Even if the footage isnít the best thatís beside the point. At this point in the game you should cut anything you can. Youíll also learn more about realistic workflows and how to fix/work around things. Also cut trailers of your favorite movies using the DVD as source footage.

So is editing for a living basically like being a starving artist?
At first, yes.

Should I instead turn away form it and go on to do the everyday jobs, like corporate jobs?
Your call, but ďnormalĒ jobs are just seriously boring, IMO. Iíd rather make $30k/yr (living in LA mind you) editing than $80k trapped in some business suit.

I have checked out the local production companys and they all look for people that at least have a college degree.
I think you asked about positions way above your head. Tell them you want to intern there. The industry loves interns (who wouldnít like free labor?). You goal right now is not get paid for editing. Or really paid at all. You goal is to get experience being in/around a professional environment.

So my final question is, if I have to go to a college to land an editing job quickly, then why not go to Full Sail?
You arenít going to land an editing job out of college. You will come out of college and get an entry level job as a runner or assistant or something. From there you will start paying your dues and working towards an editorís chair.

It sounds like it is as hard to get a good paying editing job, as it is to become an astronaut.
More along the lines of starting QB in the NFL (and right now you are playing High School ball). ;) Starting out is the roughest part because there are literally hundreds of people fighting for every entry level job (if you are in a huge market like LA or NY). Smaller markets have less people fighting for each job, but they also have fewer jobs.

Going into any creative field should be a labor of love. Yes you can make money editing (and if you do it very well in a large market you can potentially make a ton of money) but it's long hours, odd hours, nights, weekends, high stress, and tight deadlines. Especially if you want to work in TV or film it's not a 40hr a week job. The Film/TV world operates on a 10hr work day. That is the weed-out process. If you aren't passionate about what you do you'll bale 'cause there is no amount of money that makes dealing w/all the crap worth it. But if you ARE passionate about editing, no matter how ugly it gets, you'll always have a smile inside 'cause you are getting paid to do what you love (and nothing is cooler than that).



Really, there is no right or wrong way because everything has trade-offs and everyone is different. Not going to college and going straight into the workforce has the potential for greater rewards but also greater pitfalls. Going to a four year school gives you a general education (in case you find out you donít like this industry) and it gives you 4 years to use the schools gear for free. Going to a trade school, like Full Sail, splits the difference.

But it pretty much boils down to luck. Being at the right place at the right time. But, it is w/in your power to help make your own luck, but now we are getting ahead of ourselvesÖ

I donít want to take anything Iíve said as an attempt to discourage you because Iím not. Iím just trying to let you know the reality of the situation. I just want you to be fully aware of how insane this industry can be.

And I wouldnít dream of doing anything else :D


Lethal

corywoolf
May 1, 2005, 04:44 PM
I checked out Full Sail's website. If post production (editing) is your thing and you aren't that interested in movies I don't know why you'd want to go there. The focus is 95% on film production (unless I missed something). Also, the 75% number is for students that "gained initial employment." That sounds like they got an entry level job as a runner or PA or something (and it was most likely a temp/freelance gig). When you get out of school you arenít going to walk into an edit bay. You are going to fight to get an entry level position.



Going thru a big name film program like FSU or USC wonít really open up any more doors for you, but it might provide more doors in general. Itís not a magic ticket, but it might mean you get a few more chances for opportunities than someone from a smaller school.



Editing is storytelling. Itís not about AE, or FCP, or DVDSP. Learning how to use the tools of an editor is different than learning how to edit. Learning the tools is easy and often confused w/learning the craft. No classes I took at Ball State were about how to use the tools. They were all about how to tell the story. I also spent about 30-40hrs a week in extracurricular activities. Working on student films and shooting/editing content for a live, weekly student produced TV show that aired locally on PBS. I learned more outside the classroom than I did inside the classroom, but I wouldnít have been able to be outside the classroom if I wasnít paying tuition to be inside the classroom. I walked out of Ball State having more than a dozen cut pieces under my belt, and my friends that went to big film schools had only a few movies under theirs. Now, did their stuff look prettier than mine? Sometimes. Did it look 10ís of thousands of dollars better than mine? No. ;) At at that stage of the game having a dozen good looking things is better than having a few very good looking thing, IMO.



Get involved w/your local amateur film community. Even if the footage isnít the best thatís beside the point. At this point in the game you should cut anything you can. Youíll also learn more about realistic workflows and how to fix/work around things. Also cut trailers of your favorite movies using the DVD as source footage.


At first, yes.


Your call, but ďnormalĒ jobs are just seriously boring, IMO. Iíd rather make $30k/yr (living in LA mind you) editing than $80k trapped in some business suit.


I think you asked about positions way above your head. Tell them you want to intern there. The industry loves interns (who wouldnít like free labor?). You goal right now is not get paid for editing. Or really paid at all. You goal is to get experience being in/around a professional environment.


You arenít going to land an editing job out of college. You will come out of college and get an entry level job as a runner or assistant or something. From there you will start paying your dues and working towards an editorís chair.


More along the lines of starting QB in the NFL (and right now you are playing High School ball). ;) Starting out is the roughest part because there are literally hundreds of people fighting for every entry level job (if you are in a huge market like LA or NY). Smaller markets have less people fighting for each job, but they also have fewer jobs.

Going into any creative field should be a labor of love. Yes you can make money editing (and if you do it very well in a large market you can potentially make a ton of money) but it's long hours, odd hours, nights, weekends, high stress, and tight deadlines. Especially if you want to work in TV or film it's not a 40hr a week job. The Film/TV world operates on a 10hr work day. That is the weed-out process. If you aren't passionate about what you do you'll bale 'cause there is no amount of money that makes dealing w/all the crap worth it. But if you ARE passionate about editing, no matter how ugly it gets, you'll always have a smile inside 'cause you are getting paid to do what you love (and nothing is cooler than that).



Really, there is no right or wrong way because everything has trade-offs and everyone is different. Not going to college and going straight into the workforce has the potential for greater rewards but also greater pitfalls. Going to a four year school gives you a general education (in case you find out you donít like this industry) and it gives you 4 years to use the schools gear for free. Going to a trade school, like Full Sail, splits the difference.

But it pretty much boils down to luck. Being at the right place at the right time. But, it is w/in your power to help make your own luck, but now we are getting ahead of ourselvesÖ

I donít want to take anything Iíve said as an attempt to discourage you because Iím not. Iím just trying to let you know the reality of the situation. I just want you to be fully aware of how insane this industry can be.

And I wouldnít dream of doing anything else :D


Lethal



thanks again for the advice. I guess I will try to get an internship when I graduate from high school and work full time at a restaurant or hopefully something tech oriented. If all else fails then I will start looking at a film school. But it would be nice to have a degree under my belt. Maybe I will just finish up at the community college since I already have lots of credits from dual enrollment. What do you edit, and what type of income are you making?

thanks again

hal0n
May 2, 2005, 03:30 AM
Hey..

I am a semi- hard core amatuer videographer in Ann Arbor. I have found that as an amatuer you are more desirable with more rounded skills. So, for me that means that I need to know how to setup the sound/lights/cameras, edit, create dvd masters, etc...

I've been doing this on the side for about 3 years. I am 25 and do not have a relevant degree, if that helps you understand my situation. I think realistically I have never made more than 15$/hour. That was working for the U of M shooting conferences and seminars. I also got to edit the footage that they shot before I started on that project. Let me just say... you have not lived until you have edited an 8 hours per day, 8 day, C++ seminar that was shot on a canon zr50 down to 20 minute downloadable clips. My favorite part was cleaning up the audio and color correcting... Part of the video was shot with the projection screen behind the speaker too.

Obviously I am on a different path than you are suggesting... and I have not yet made the commitment to go full time with this as a business. I am close but this works out for me for now. I work my day job and collect the cash for my own gear (important for freelance cam op work) and nights and weekends I am either out shooting or at home editing. Sometimes I get a break and can work on some fun creative projects. And that is where it is at... when it's fun I can't imagine much else I would rather be doing.

Kevin

LethalWolfe
May 2, 2005, 04:00 AM
thanks again for the advice.
No problem. This industry is a weird beast, and I like to share what I've learned from past experiences (both good and bad).

I guess I will try to get an internship when I graduate from high school and work full time at a restaurant or hopefully something tech oriented. If all else fails then I will start looking at a film school. But it would be nice to have a degree under my belt.
If you would feel more comfortable w/a degree then go for it. Just don't feel confined in thinking that you need to go school X. Like I said before, there is really no wrong way to go about it. Just make sure you pick the path that is best for you, that will have the opportunities you want, and that will take you a step closer to where you want to ultimately be. I never was in the position you are in 'cause I never picked up a camera or cut a piece of video until my 2nd year of college. Most of my friends in college had been doing it since high school so I guess I was a late bloomer. ;)

Also don't be afraid to go after some freelance production work. Many times productions just need assistants/PA's/utility people for the duration of the shoot (day-hires). It's a good way to make contacts, build a work history, and make a bit of money. When I was in college I worked some sporting events (typically 1 or 2 day gigs) and one time I was a utility person for a Monday Night Football game. All I did was basically pull cable, but it's always a point of conversation when people see it on my resumť. A friend of mine got me a week long gig shooting the RCA Tennis Championships in Indianapolis years ago and I got talkin' w/the director about stuff and how I'd really like to get into editing. Well, the director (really cool guy BTW) was friends w/the senior editor at the biggest post house in Indiana, and the director told me to give the guy a call and drop his name as a reference. Everybody knows somebody. :)

Being so close to U of M you might want to make some calls to the athletic department and see if you can find out who does the coverage for their sporting events, then give those guys a call and see if you can be put in the pool of people they call when they need utilities. Also check out your local PBS station to see if they need any part time help.

What do you edit, and what type of income are you making?


I've gone from Indiana, to LA, back to Indiana, and back to LA. I've been staff, I've been freelance, I've worked crap jobs just to pay the bills. I've cut weddings (and hopefully never will again), I've cut short films, I've cut news-type stuff, I've interned and been in charge of the boss's pet project. I've said, "Wow, I can't believe I'm making this much" and I've said, "Wow, I can't believe this is all I'm making."

I just started assistant editing for a company that produces EPKs (electronic press kit) and behind the scene/bonus material for feature films. I also pick up low/no budget projects to edit nights/weekends to keep honing my skills. I'm not making a lot of money right now, but it's not paycheck to paycheck either. But that is life for everyone trying to break into LA. Where I work the editors, depending on experience, probably make
$400/day and up. An experienced editor on a mid-level reality TV show can make upwards of $700/day. Now, I've yet to meet an editor that actually *liked* cutting reality TV, I've also yet to meet an editor that hasn't done it at least once 'cause the money is just insane.

Always keep your eye on that brass ring and always keep moving towards it. Even if moving towards it means moving back 'cause the current path you are on isn't working out. And be patient. Depending on how high you want to go in the industry you could a very long adventure in front of you. I say adventure 'cause it sure as heck won't be boring. But life is about the journey, not the destination, right? ;)


Lethal

DeSnousa
May 2, 2005, 04:44 AM
LethalWolfe

Im a high school student that is confused about what career to do. I was thinking about doing business, but i love technolgy, films and stuff around those areas. Well i bought a mac and with it imovie, untill then i never thought about making movies. I grabbed Footage from a caperia festival and edited. It was one of the most addictive things i have done. I edited it 4hrs non stop and did touch up during the following days. Overall i though i would not mind doing it as a career.

Some things puzzle me still, like if i got into editing would the job just be straight up editing or does it involve filming. Any advice on the lifestyle and enjoyment on it.

Another thing i am concered about, is there ever time where the job is boring.

LethalWolfe
May 3, 2005, 02:23 AM
LethalWolfe

Im a high school student that is confused about what career to do. I was thinking about doing business, but i love technolgy, films and stuff around those areas. Well i bought a mac and with it imovie, untill then i never thought about making movies. I grabbed Footage from a caperia festival and edited. It was one of the most addictive things i have done. I edited it 4hrs non stop and did touch up during the following days. Overall i though i would not mind doing it as a career.
I'm glad you are experimenting and trying new things. IMO the most important part about looking for a career is finding one that you enjoy. Yer probably gonna be doing it for 40-50 hours a week for 40 or 50 years so you might as well enjoy it, right? :)

Some things puzzle me still, like if i got into editing would the job just be straight up editing or does it involve filming.
It all depends. You can work at a small place where you are responsible for many things, or you can work at a larger place where everyone specializes in their own area.

Any advice on the lifestyle and enjoyment on it.
I'm not positive about what you are asking, but I'll respond to what I think you are asking. The hours are long, it can be very stressful, and there is little room for error (give a client a bad experience once and you could lose that client forever). But I'm the personality type that digs the pressure, and I'm so passionate about editing that chugging thru all the crap doesn't matter. I'll work 13 or 14hrs, go home, work on a side project for 3 or 4 hours, sleep for 5 or 6, then have to be back at work. And somehow I derive enjoyment from this. :D
I really can't see myself doing anything else.

Another thing i am concered about, is there ever time where the job is boring.
Any job has it's not-so-fun parts. Logging footage can be tedious, and project management/organization type stuff can be boring. But if you work at a big enough place you'll have an assistant that does it for you.


Lethal

Kingsnapped
May 3, 2005, 02:52 AM
Hit me up on Aim sometime (kingsnapped).

I was a lot like you in highschool. As a sophomore, I was the only one with any shooting/editing skills. After progressing through iMovie and Final Cut, I wound up running pretty much everything the school district produced.

I'm currently going to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for Digital Media production, and I'm loving every minute of it. I've taken up freelancing here, and I'm making $25/hour editing and shooting, as many hours a week as I'd like.

I'd love to go into more detail, but I really need some sleep. Be sure to talk to me later.

DeSnousa
May 3, 2005, 06:45 AM
I'm glad you are experimenting and trying new things. IMO the most important part about looking for a career is finding one that you enjoy. Yer probably gonna be doing it for 40-50 hours a week for 40 or 50 years so you might as well enjoy it, right? :)


It all depends. You can work at a small place where you are responsible for many things, or you can work at a larger place where everyone specializes in their own area.


I'm not positive about what you are asking, but I'll respond to what I think you are asking. The hours are long, it can be very stressful, and there is little room for error (give a client a bad experience once and you could lose that client forever). But I'm the personality type that digs the pressure, and I'm so passionate about editing that chugging thru all the crap doesn't matter. I'll work 13 or 14hrs, go home, work on a side project for 3 or 4 hours, sleep for 5 or 6, then have to be back at work. And somehow I derive enjoyment from this. :D
I really can't see myself doing anything else.


Any job has it's not-so-fun parts. Logging footage can be tedious, and project management/organization type stuff can be boring. But if you work at a big enough place you'll have an assistant that does it for you.


Lethal

Thanks for the reply. Yeah i don't mind long hours, like i mentioned its addictive for me and i find i behind the desk for a couple of hours without realising it.

My major concern is i live in Australia where the bussiness is small. But thats the fun i guess, making yourself bigger in the industry.

I will tell if i will like this as a career as our school is holding a fashion parade, i have volunteered to shoot and help edit. Should be fun :D

Thanks again.

MovieCutter
May 4, 2005, 01:25 AM
Basically what these guys said. I go to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, not exactly a big name film school...in fact, I personally can't stand their film department (very artsy underground experimental stuff) so I'm a broadcast major. The beauty of it is, I'm the only one in the department who knows Final Cut Pro, Motion, and DVDSP. Not only do I know the programs, I also know how to edit. As LethaWolfe said, it's not knowing the programs, it's knowing how to tell a story. Ironically, I've developed my storytelling skills in the journalism department working in documentary and news.

Other than knowing what you know, I'm sure you've heard it plenty of times, but it's all WHO you know. Through my journalism professor, I've worked on a major motion picture (Mr. 3000) and made a lot of connections there. There's even a possibility that I may work on the crew of the Da Vinci Code filming this summer. I've worked on several documentaries, commercials, and other corporate projects. Being practically a sole editor in a university department is great because everyone comes to you with work. I do a lot of freelance work on the side and make roughly $50/hr. I also met a friend who is an independent film critic and wants to send me on studio junketts to meet-and-greet with studio guys and spend some time in LA to get to know the town. It's all in the connections. Keep those connections close, but don't keep them just because you can get somewhere with them. Some of my most valuable connections are also some my closest friends and the people I trust and can be myself around the most.

I lived in Orlando and considered going to school at Full Sail. But after speaking to my girlfriend's dad who has been a lighting designer in the industry for 25+ years, he told me to steer way clear. He said while they have a lot of hi-tech stuff, they don't really teach you the craft, and it's just a quick way to get a cheap degree. In a nutshell, you're paying a buttload of money to rent equipment.

So my advice would be if you HAVE to go to school, go to one you can afford and that has either a decent film department, or a great journalism department and build on your talents there. After graduation, I'm moving to LA on the request of some friends who say they can get me an editing job at Imagine Entertainment or Disney. What I really want to do is direct...but to think that I'm 20 years old, grew up in a small southeast Wisconsin town for most of my life, and will hopefully be hitting it big in LA in a few years is an exciting prospect.

Moral of the story? Keep doing what you love, and meet a lot of people. Go somewhere because they will offer you a good education, not because it's a big name. And be prepared to pay your dues. I've spent many an hour as a lowly PA. It's good money, but it's hard work and long hours. But most of all, have fun. I can't imagine myself stuck in a 9-5 corporate job. As said before by another poster, I'd rather make 50K a year living comfortably in LA (if you can even live on that in LA) than making 100K living lavishly but working in an office.

LethalWolfe
May 4, 2005, 03:46 AM
Ahhh... soapbox time.


It's about storytelling people!


I just got back from a festival screening of about a dozen short films (including one I cut), and boy some of those were painful to watch. There were around a dozen films total and a pretty equal mix of narrative and documentary. Some of the were just bad (3 reminded me of bad after school specials), and some of them (mainly the docs) just had wasted potential. And those were the hardest to watch. All the docs, save one, had interesting subject matter but no story. The filmmakers had no central focus. No main theme. No point. No personalization. They never engaged the audience (at least not me) on an emotional level. I don't think the filmmakers ever sat down and asked themselves, "Okay, what is our film about and what is the best way to communicate that to our audience?" I found myself sitting their going "Why should I care about this person?" way too often.

Argh! it was so frustrating to watch such potentially good subjects get butchered by inexperience.

Argh! Argh! Argh!

If you want good examples of how to humanize a story, how to pull people and make them care watch "60 Minutes." Seriously. "60 Minutes" has been successful because they take huge issues, national issues, global issues, and humanize them. If "60 Minutes" does a story about SUV's rolling over they won't just toss out facts, and figures and quote statistics. They'll find 1 person or 1 family who's life was radically changed because of an SUV roll over. And anchored in that personal tragedy they will weave their story about the dangers of SUVs rolling over.

"1 death is a tragedy, 1 million deaths is a statistic" - Josef Stalin

What's more powerful? Seeing a graphic saying that X many people are injured in SUV roll overs every year or seeing 1 guy in a wheel chair for life 'cause his SUV rolled over? Make your audience care about your subject and they will care about what you have to say. Don't make your audience care about your subject and they'll be 40 channels away before your show gets to it's first commercial break.


Okay, enough soapbox for one night.


Lethal

Peter9
May 4, 2005, 07:56 PM
Basically what these guys said. I go to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, not exactly a big name film school...in fact, I personally can't stand their film department (very artsy underground experimental stuff) so I'm a broadcast major. The beauty of it is, I'm the only one in the department who knows Final Cut Pro, Motion, and DVDSP. Not only do I know the programs, I also know how to edit. As LethaWolfe said, it's not knowing the programs, it's knowing how to tell a story. Ironically, I've developed my storytelling skills in the journalism department working in documentary and news.

Other than knowing what you know, I'm sure you've heard it plenty of times, but it's all WHO you know. Through my journalism professor, I've worked on a major motion picture (Mr. 3000) and made a lot of connections there. There's even a possibility that I may work on the crew of the Da Vinci Code filming this summer. I've worked on several documentaries, commercials, and other corporate projects. Being practically a sole editor in a university department is great because everyone comes to you with work. I do a lot of freelance work on the side and make roughly $50/hr. I also met a friend who is an independent film critic and wants to send me on studio junketts to meet-and-greet with studio guys and spend some time in LA to get to know the town. It's all in the connections. Keep those connections close, but don't keep them just because you can get somewhere with them. Some of my most valuable connections are also some my closest friends and the people I trust and can be myself around the most.



LOL. Wow, this guy is completely full of ****. I am a film student at UW Milwaukee. Let my just say, that most broadcast majors who hold spite against the film department can't take the heat. They will usually say it's too artsy for them, which means they couldn't get through freshman year. As for being the only one who knows FCP: excuse me while I LOL. Please let me do that again; LOL. This guy is such a joke. The film department is flooded with talent when it comes to editing on macs. As for Mr. 3000, well he is part of the 50% of Milwaukee who participated in the production of this film. Wow, his post is just hilarious.

LethalWolfe
May 4, 2005, 08:13 PM
Well before this turns into an inter-departmental pissing contest lets keep posts on topic. Off topic personal issues should go to PMs.


Lethal

MovieCutter
May 4, 2005, 08:39 PM
LOL. Wow, this guy is completely full of ****. I am a film student at UW Milwaukee. Let my just say, that most broadcast majors who hold spite against the film department can't take the heat. They will usually say it's too artsy for them, which means they couldn't get through freshman year. As for being the only one who knows FCP: excuse me while I LOL. Please let me do that again; LOL. This guy is such a joke. The film department is flooded with talent when it comes to editing on macs. As for Mr. 3000, well he is part of the 50% of Milwaukee who participated in the production of this film. Wow, his post is just hilarious.


Not going even glorify that crap. Thanks for demonstrating why I'm not a film major.


EDIT: However, one correction. 50% of Milwaukee may have participated as an extra, but not as a crew member who actually worked their ass off on the set every day.

Peter9
May 4, 2005, 08:41 PM
Not going even glorify that crap. Thanks for demonstrating why I'm not a film major.
HAHA, nice defense. Touche.

MovieCutter
May 4, 2005, 08:56 PM
Anyway...

corywoolf,

I repeat. Keep doing what you love. Go wherever you think fits best for you and will help you hone and develop your skills, and especially, talk to people like Lethal who are willing to offer you free advice and encouragement to get to where you want to be. Keep learning the software, because those are the tools that will make you a great storyteller. Always try to meet new people and listen to what they have to say. What I've discovered is that whether you're in news or feature film, those higher up than you are always happy to offer advice to those trying to get to where they are. They are always a little proud to talk to young reporters and filmmakers and offer their expertise and experiences. Hopefully we'll all hit it big in Hollywood and trade Oscar acceptance speech stories!!! :D

jelloshotsrule
May 5, 2005, 11:24 AM
just another voice...

i went to nyu for film and tv (though i focused in animation). and something that a fair amount of the teachers i had prided themselves on was trying to teach storytelling. even in advanced animation production we spent a large part of time at the beginning working and reworking the story, and of course that continues through the end... now of course, some people are cut out to tell stories, some are technical folks. however, having gone to the siggraph animation festival 2 years ago, i saw a lot of people from the vancouver film school with really stellar looking animation, but a good amount of them fell short on story. likewise, i've seen awesome animations with very simple characters/sets that were emotional and interesting, despite being "simple" in presentation...

my point is just that i think there are two types of art schools. those that teach storytelling, like nyu and probably places like usc, etc.. and then the technical schools (full sail i'd assume would fall in here, along with places like scad, etc) where you learn the technical craft of editing, etc.

most editing requires both. whereas if you're an inbetweener on animation, you don't need to do much more than draw well.

haha, now i'm rambling and getting off topic, but i'll just also add that while a film degree in hand isn't worth a ton, the connections you could make through professors/alumni at various bigger schools could work out well. nyu had connections with big companies like mtv, blue sky, etc. whereas usc has the george lucas connection, etc.

personally i wanted well rounded education along with learning writing, filming, editing, animating, etc... so that was a big part of my personal choice.

just my experiences/thoughts

corywoolf
May 6, 2005, 02:54 PM
Thanks for all the advice. Keep it coming if you can. Is there a good website on how to tell a good story through editing? I know its a large amount of knowledge, but at least the basics.