Archive for the ‘ Job Search ’ Category

Using Job Postings to Inform Your Training

(A recap of last night’s BigScreen, LittleScreen is coming tomorrow.  Felt this was more important to post tonight.)

I’ll admit that I’m frustrated that it seems like video editors aren’t advertised in most of the places I’m looking for a job.  However, I’m still making sure that I’m moving in the direction I need to in order to be a valuable editor for any team I work with.

I’m reading job postings for top jobs in post-production – not to apply for the jobs (which I am in no way qualified for without a wealth more experience), but to see what they’re demanding of their applicants.  Why?

Because in today’s economic climate of higher unemployment and more job seekers, employers can be more demanding.  They’re out looking for the perfect applicant for the role, and they’re describing these roles in detail.  Even though I know exactly 1 person at NBC and no one at HBO, I can tell you that NBC uses Final Cut Pro for their editing, while HBO uses Avid, but is also interested in Final Cut, as an example.  I know what kinds of experiences their looking for, which will influence the kind of work and projects I will seek out.  In short, I’m using these extremely demanding job postings to make myself the top person.

I’ve recently completed my quest to create a monster of a computer by ordering the last piece of software necessary – AfterEffects.  My notebook now runs Final Cut Studio 2, Avid Media Composer 3.5, Adobe CS4 Design Premium, and Adobe CS4 AfterEffects.  I can train myself to be a very talented editor now, and can prioritize in the way that meets my needs most immediately, because I have all the software at my fingertips.  Avid and AfterEffects are the two big programs I’m learning to master now.  I’m also working on Soundtrack Pro to improve my audio editing.  Although, I must say, I’m a bit disappointed by what Adobe deems to be advanced editing in AE – I learned about particle emitters and replicators in my second lesson in Motion over 2 years ago.

In short, if you’re an editor looking for work and the jobs you’re seeing are beyond your reach, don’t just ignore them.  Use them to figure out what employers are looking for and run with it.

Death of the DVD Demo Reel? Looks Like It.

Is the DVD Demo Reel already dead?  Alan Shisko of Effektor has claimed so on his blog back in September.  He stopped by Digital Production Buzz to follow up on this idea in their latest weekly podcast.

So, to summarize Alan’s initial argument:  The internet has killed the DVD demo reel.  DVD reels are expensive to produce, if you’re out to make a good looking DVD – between the disc label design, quality cases, and mailing.  You might update it once or twice a year.

The internet, according to Alan’s argument, is less expensive and more dynamic.  You can update it anytime, and you can create customized reels for viewing on a variety of platforms – computers, iPhones, other smart phones, etc.

I think that Alan hits it squarely on the head.  I get my work seen by posting it on the net.  In several places.  At any given point, my show reel can be seen on my website, as well as on Vimeo, and massify.  I’d link to them here, but thats what the side bar is for.

So what makes a good demo reel?  Alan says the first thing to keep in mind is to be wary of putting in too much.  Keep it to your best stuff, even if its only 30 seconds.  It must grab and hold the viewers attention.  Don’t assume that people watch all the way through, so make sure that the first thing in your reel hits hard.  Put a quality piece at the end for those who do watch all the way through, but the priority seems to belong up front, since most viewers will make up their mind about your reel quickly.  Keep your name throughout the reel, so at any time someone can find you.  Alan uses a burn/watermark in the corner of his screen with his name and url.  A handy trick I’ll have to keep in mind as well.

And how to market yourself?  Lots of it is advice I take for granted, as someone who grew up using the internet.  Start or join a user group.  By this, Alan means a group that physically meets near you to discuss your field, and fields intimately connected to it.  You may meet some valuable contacts, and may gain some clients out of it.  Alan’s user group is based in his home of Toronto.  I’m hoping to join the Final Cut Pro user group in New York in the very near future.  Also, never underestimate the power of keeping a good blog.  I know you guys like to click on the links I give you.  And I know some of you have visited my site.  I do apologize for the layout.  Still looking for the right design, although I think this is an improvement over the last one.  Blogs make you known to a wider group of people, and can also lead to some interesting connections and discussions.

Also, be active in online groups and forums.  I know LinkedIn has many groups for media professionals.  I belong to most of them and vary my involvement in each depending on the topics in conversation at the moment.  I have met some wonderful people on LinkedIn through those groups. If you know of a group that is related to your discipline, see if you can’t perform a demonstration for them at a meeting.  It gives you a chance to showcase your skills and educate others, which is a powerful way to interact with colleagues.  When you are seen as knowledgeable, you will command far more respect that someone who simply there, for lack of a better word.

The final point that Alan makes is to always treat your clients and coworkers well.  Word of mouth can be a powerful thing, and its something you should never loose sight of.  By making sure you are pleasant to work with, you improve others’ opinion of you.  Although this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, you’d be surprised how often it isn’t followed.

To hear the entire interview with Alan (in which you’ll hear all this, but in his words), head over to Digital Production Buzz and download their podcast.  Alan is the first guest on the July 2nd episode.  All in all, I found the conversation to be enlightening, and the advice given to be valuable.  And I continue to be impressed with DPB, whose podcast I just started listening to last week.

Own It: We Work Hard, We Should Say So

As I’m working on my website revisions (which have kept me busy for the last two days), and as a result, my electronic résumé, I’ve come to the conclusion that my old résumé was pretty shitty.  Yes, it showed that I had done a lot.  But I didn’t own it.  I presented what I did, but not what I had accomplished.

I think it’s a mistake that we all make.  When we’re under the gun and we need to update that résumé, the first things that come to mind are the tasks.  “Produced rough and final edits of all episodes,”  “Worked on set and in studio to provide rough edits and dailies.”  It’s accurate, but it’s not very inspiring.  You know you worked your ass off on that project.  Anyone reading your résumé should to.  You need to put some more thought into how to write it, but once you put that thought into it and switch from presenting tasks to accomplishments, the résumé reads much more impressively.

Rather than, “Produced rough and final edits of all episodes,”, I can say “Provided full video editing services to an independent production in need of promotional videos, trailers, and episodes.”  That more fully encompasses my role in Issues, and reads more impressively.

The next one is even better.  I kept an account of how much time I worked on each episode of the show.  That didn’t count capturing footage (which I did on set in an automated process while I worked on other things), or soundtrack scoring, which wasn’t handled by me.  The time it took me to get one episode of Issues from camera raw to fully finished was about 24 hours per episode.  That counted rendering time, since my editing system was dedicated wholly to that episode during rendering time.

So “Worked on set and in studio to provide rough edits and dailies,” became “24 hour (non-consecutive) turnaround time for editing an episode from camera raw to finished episode (not including scoring).”  Reads much more forcefully, and gives a better idea of exactly how I edited.  Typically, editing an episode of Issues took place in 3 8-hour sessions.  Much of that was spent on audio, which required major adjustments in each episode due to only having one microphone to record with.  Which led to a third point.  I was learning Soundtrack Pro as I was editing Issues.  I didn’t want to make the show a guinea pig, since I was under tight deadlines.  So, point 3 is “Diligently adjusted all vocal levels by hand until software was acquired that semi-automated the process.”

(I’m happy to report that since then, I’ve become much more comfortable with Soundtrack Pro, and will be using it in all future projects when appropriate.)

Three hard hitting bullets.  They may still be tweaked, but it’s a start.  I’ve worked extremely hard on that show, and I want to portray that to anyone else thinking of hiring me.

So that’s my challenge for all you editors out there.  Don’t tell people what you did.  Tell them what you accomplished instead.  We all work hard at our jobs.  It takes hard work to put together a good finished product.  Let everyone know about it.