Students, Take Advantage of Your Resources

I stopped by my old undergrad. alma mater today to meet some of my friends there for lunch.  One of them happened to be my old boss, who was in the process of upgrading the video editing suites to some nice, new, dual-processing Mac Pros (instead of the old G5s).  What’s sad is that most of the students that use those machines are never even going to scratch the surface of what it can do.

Students, if you’re earning a degree in media, film, or communications, and you’re focusing on any kind of post-production, you need to understand something big:  YOU ARE THE ONE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR DEVELOPING YOUR SKILLS!

The Mac Pros down in the old editing suites I used to call home have Final Cut Studio equipped on them, and one will be running Avid Media Composer as well.  Most of the students who use those computers will never get beyond Final Cut Pro because that’s as far as the post-production class they sign up for takes them.  Take that path, and while you may be good at Final Cut, you’re going to find that you’re not equipped to handle what’s going to be asked of you in the field.  (Take it from me, I learned that the hard way.)  You should learn as much as you can about that software.  It will make life much easier in the future.

If your school has a suite of programs like Final Cut Studio, knowing 1 of the 5 key programs isn’t good enough.  If you had to learn two more, I’d say they should be Soundtrack Pro and DVD Studio Pro, so you can edit your picture and sound well, and get it out onto a well designed DVD.  (Because that killer demo. reel you make has to be on DVD for those who ask for it!)  You’re school doesn’t offer classes in those programs?  Use any tutorials that the program might have come with (like Motion), or invest the $35-$50 in your skill set and buy a training book in the program.  Load up the media to your external drive and book some time in the suite to really put the program through it’s paces.  (Just be sure that the programs you’re using are the same generation as the files that are with your book.  If the files are newer than the program, they won’t work.)

That’s why I developed this summer of intensive self-directed study.  I know that I’m a great Final Cut Pro editor, but my audio editing skills left a good deal to be desired.  So I’m going to fix that.  I’m going to diversify myself and learn a new editing platform.  I’ve gotten better at still manipulation by practicing in Photoshop.  I’m going to emerge from this summer as a force to be reckoned with in post-production.

Know why?  Because it’s a buyer’s market right now in the employment world.  And the buyer’s (those that would hire you) are using that as an opportunity to truly seek out the best talent they can.  So prove to them that you can really meet their needs.  They’re not going to hire a separate person for video and audio editing in a market like this.  They’re going to hire someone who’s good at both.

So make sure that you’re not just coasting through your degree program.  Work hard, and push yourself even harder than your professors push you.  It should be your goal to be that shining star in your department.  Make sure that you have the skills employers are looking for.  And make sure that you’re taking advantage of the wide range of resources that are at your disposal.

  1. July 1st, 2009

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