Posts Tagged ‘ Massify ’

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.

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.

Checking In: Training Update and A New Network Resource

First of all, apologies for my long absence.  The past month can best be described as living, eating, and sleeping at my day job, as 1 member of our small 5 member team was out for weeks on end for an unspecified reason.  Everything has just gotten back to normal, and I’m back to my summer of intense professional development.  Appropriate, as summer as only just begun, technically.

So what have I accomplished thus far?

Well, to start, I’m finished with the first 3 lessons in Soundtrack Pro, which means I know now to eliminate background noise, beeps, pops, and (more importantly), hums from faulty audio equipment.  I’ve also discovered that SP’s spectrum view makes sound look absolutely beautiful.  I’ll continue with Soundtrack as soon as I get a few hours on my own to record some dialogue in a quite apartment.  Although, to be honest, it has more to do with feeling embarrassed about talking into a microphone when there are other people around.  From there, I’ll move on to dialogue replacement.

I’ve also more or less maxed myself out on Photoshop for the time being.  The remaining lessons I haven’t completed are on some of the new heavyweight features like 3-D imaging.  I don’t need those features at this point in time, so I’ll count my thorough understanding of the tools and how they work, and a solid grasp on masks and layers, and how to manipulate both, to be a firm foundation on which to start making some stellar images.

I’ve now moved on to Avid.  It took most of the month, but I finally got the editing of the Avid training book that is made to match up with my system.  Although technically speaking, past editions of Avid books can be used on the newest systems, when you’re already thoroughly confused by the interface you find yourself staring at, it’s usually best to find the book that will most closely match what you’re working with.  Now that I know the simple little tricks to the basic editing functions, I can assemble a rough cut in Avid quite easily.  I have little doubt that I’ll find myself becoming comfortable with the system quickly.  After all, I’m not building a foundational knowledge of editing, rather, I’m learning how to do the same things on a different system.  All looks to be on track to start talking about the heavy stuff once the fall semester begins.

Where will I go from here?  The next two programs I’ll pursue will be DVD Studio Pro and Color.  They are a fitting combination.  Final Cut Pro aside, DVD Studio Pro is the part of Studio that I know the most about, and Color is the part of studio I know the least about.  I don’t foresee being able to start those two until the fall.  I think that the current course that I’ve set myself on will keep me busy for the next few months.  My goal is to cut the next several videos for Issues on Avid, rather than on Final Cut.

In parting, a nice new networking find to let you know about.  If you’re in the NY area and have gone to any film events at NYU recently, you’ve probably heard of a group by the name of Massify.  It’s part sounding board, part job board, part filmmaker resource.  I’ve been building a profile over there for the last week, and as soon as my most recent video clips finish converting, I believe I’ll be ready to submit for some work in the NY/NJ area.  I find the layout to be really smooth and easy to navigate.  If you join up or are already a member, feel free to come find me.  I’m looking to build a network of people interested in the stuff I do (which, once I got it all on one screen, is a lot of editing in a bunch of different areas.)