Posts Tagged ‘ linkedin ’

Why Networking is Worth It

Sorry for my unexplained absence. Kids and video cameras, a truly exhausting combination. I’ve got another 2 weeks with them, but hopefully I’ll be more functional now that I know what to expect. Thank you to everyone who’s stopped by to read in my absence. I was expecting to find my stats flatlined, and while they are much lower than when I was writing regularly a couple weeks ago, there have been visitors every day.

So, here I am today to give you a reason why networking (especially social networking) is really worth your time. I just got work on a second series because of my contact with the creator. I’ll publish details when things are more finalized, but it’s refreshing to know that barring serious unforeseen problems, I’ll have something new to work on. How did I meet the creator of this show? Her show started following my show on Twitter. I followed her show and her show followed me back. We then hooked up on Massify, which is a wonderful site for anyone looking to build a nice little portfolio of their video work.  So far we’ve solidified my interest and arranged a meeting through direct message on Twitter.

Know why it worked?  I’ve been talking to this creator over the span of a few months.  I am also quite a fan of her show, so the idea of editing it makes me very happy.  But the point is, even though we spent a lot of time talking about 80s music, we were still talking.  Good things happen from talking.

If you still haven’t jumped on the social networking bandwagon, I say to go for it.  Start small.  I think Twitter is a great place to start because it helps you really focus on your message: after all, only 140 characters to get it across.  There are tons of sites that create ways to introduce you to people.  I’m a fan of Mr. Tweet, myself.  There are also lots of sites that will help you monitor how you use Twitter and how you can be more effective.  As you get used to the idea, definitely expand out.  LinkedIn is a good professional social networking site, so it’s best used to connect with colleagues and friends working in other companies in your industry.  Facebook can be useful too, just be very careful with it.  It’s very easy to let your Facebook account sort of get away from you.  I sat down not too long ago and retamed it, taking out content that didn’t work for me anymore, and being a bit more critical of all my connections.

So yes, all the talk about social networking being good is true.  It just takes some effort on your part.  Although as you get the hang of using them, they don’t feel so much like work.  In fact, I have plenty of fun with my Twitter account.  And Facebook.  And it’s fun meeting people in my field on LinkedIn.  So go for it!  Good things can happen from social networking.

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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.

Collecting Feedback to Drive Career Development

As an editor, there’s one interface I know very well – Final Cut Pro.  In fact, I’m in a minority that doesn’t think the next version of the program should have an interface overhaul because I’m so fast and efficient on the interface as it is.  However, I know I need a much more diverse skill set in order to be a serious contender for any post-production job.

I’m trying to collect feedback from as many sources as I can to help drive my professional development.  I’ve identified audio editing as my biggest weakness right now.  To fix that, I’ve lined up Soundtrack Pro to be the next program in Final Cut Studio that I devote significant time to learning.  I’m also taking an editing course next semester that will have me practicing advanced editing techniques, and focusing a great deal on audio editing and multi-cam.  What this means is that I expect to rapidly become more proficient in audio editing, which to me is an absolutely must have.

What I need to know is where else I should be focusing.  So I’m asking LinkedIn connections from production houses and major studios for feedback, and hoping I get some.  I’ll also be leveraging my connections on Twitter to get their feedback.  While I will still maintain responsibility for my professional development, I would be completely stupid not to be sensitive to the needs and trends of the industry as a whole.  Social networking gives me a window into so many places I couldn’t see before, and it is an amazing resource for someone who is trying to become successful.

The Value of LinkedIn in Networking

One of the first things you need to do before setting your career as an editor (or as anything else) in motion is to do lots and lots of research about the industry in general, and the companies you might look at working for in particular.  I, for instance, know a lot about editing, but I don’t really know how other people in the industry see editors.  My work on school and independent projects mean I’m usually more than just an editor.  For example, during Issues production, I served as director on a day the actual director couldn’t come.  I also have served as the webmaster of the show’s site since we launched our first promotional video.  All this means that the cast and crew don’t see me purely as an editor.

So I need to know what other people think about me and my field.  And how other editors view the field.  I’ve been using LinkedIn to find contacts at different companies.  Today, for example, I sent messages to a few NBC employees that I know from the Final Cut Pro Users group we are all a part of.  I asked them what essential qualities for editors at NBC are and what skills they would stress to people entering the field.  If I’m lucky, I’ll hear back from them with some very valuable insights.  I’ll be expanding that strategy in the coming days, starting conversations with contacts at many different companies to gain a better picture of the industry.  It’s an invaluable resource for anyone looking to start out in any field.

I’m sure I’ll post more about LinkedIn in the future as I keep using it.  My account there has been dormant for some time, but I’m investing the time to make it truly active.

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