Larry Jordan Blog

Can You Still Have a Career in Editing?

Posted by on March 19, 2013

Three emails got me thinking today. The first was from Jack Reilly, of Future Media Concepts who is organizing Post-Production World at NAB. He’s asked me to host a Hot Panels session Wednesday at NAB on The Future of Editing.

The second was a YouTube comment from Ray Roman who wrote: “I recently had a dream where there was a software that analyzes all of the content and edits ‘the best’ outcome possible. It was a nightmare!”

The third was also a YouTube question from GambitRocks, a student who asked: “I was considering going to graduate school for Post Production Editing, but I’m really concerned about future employment prospects. It seems like video/film production is having the same problem right now. Do you have any tips or advice in regards to pursuing a career in Editing?”

And, you know, I have a hard time finding a reassuring answer to GambitRocks question.

Story-telling has been around since we first learned to talk, so I have no doubt that stories will continue long after all of us are gone. But, the ability to make a living telling stories – THAT is a much more difficult question to answer.

The opening sentence in Charles Dickens’ “The Tale of Two Cities” describes editing today perfectly: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Never have we had such incredible tools, so affordably priced, and available to as many people. That’s the good news.

The reality, though, is that all these tools have opened the floodgates to so many new people that it is difficult to make a consistent living.

No one works on staff anymore; editors are primarily free-lance. I tell my students to expect to be out of work half of the time, then to work furiously to make up for it the other half. We spend as much time marketing ourselves as we do creating compelling stories. (Which is great if you love marketing; but if we loved marketing, why did we become editors?)

Budgets are a fraction of what they were even five years ago. And not just the event videographer is affected by competition from college kids working for free to establish their career. Look at the high-end financial drama with Digital Domain and Rhythm and Hues. After looking at the empty store-fronts littering Burbank, it seems like running a post-production facility is a sure way to lose money.

It isn’t just a case of the strong survive. Even editors with solid, network-level skills are struggling to find work.

Directors, afraid of missing a key shot, are recording 100:1, 500:1, even 1000:1 shooting ratios – generating MASSIVE amounts of material that can only be processed with platoons of low-paid production assistants, or metadata-based editing to automate the editorial process; the process that Ray Roman was lamenting.

At the mid- to low-end of the food-chain (however you decide to define it) editors are forced to compete on price, because clients, who grew up watching YouTube videos, can’t tell the difference between changing shots and telling a story. And when you compete solely on price, pretty soon everyone is either working for free or leaving the business.

It used to be that editing was the springboard to a creative career that would allow you to pay your bills, feed your family and enjoy your life. Now, that idyllic vision is the province of only a few.

Collapsing budgets, exploding competition, ubiquitous tools — its enough to make someone considering a career in editing consider something safer, like chain saw juggling.

All this turmoil in our industry, and it seems worse now than ever before, got me wondering — is editing as a craft and an industry likely to survive for the long-term?

For me, the answer is: “I think so, but it will never be what it was.”

I had a lunch meeting today with a software company that was extolling the virtues of their latest product. As the conversation wound down, I asked them why someone should buy their product, versus the competition.

They looked at me in surprise, paused a moment, and said: “Um, yeah, we need to be able to answer that.”

As editors, we need to answer EXACTLY this same question: Why should someone hire you? If all we can answer is “I’m the cheapest,” keep your bags packed, because you won’t last very long. There is ALWAYS someone cheaper than you.

When there are no other criteria upon which to make a decision, clients will always pick the cheapest. Our job is to educate potential clients on the benefit of working with us.

What benefits do you provide that are hard to find anywhere else? What does the client get by working with you — in addition to a completed video? What skills do you have that make you unique?

Every single one of us is different – we need to emphasize how our uniqueness benefits our clients.

“But, wait!,” you say. “If I do that, I’ll lose jobs.”

My answer to that is: “If they aren’t paying you enough to live on, you don’t need that job in the first place.” Over the years, I’ve discovered that if a producer convinces you to work for them for free, they will never give you a paying gig. Why? Because they have already proven you will work for them for free.

Yes, there are times when donating your time – though not your equipment – can make strategic sense. But you can’t build a career on it.

What makes you unique? What do you do different/better than anyone else? WHY SHOULD THE CLIENT HIRE YOU?

Create a clear, coherent, concise answer to that question and you have a career. Compete on price and you might as well start selling off your gear on eBay to pay the rent.

As always, I’m interested in your comments.



Use this link to trackback from your own site.


Leave a response

  1. Yury Mar 19, 2013 03:16

    The industry is at stagnation – it’s obvious for me. Of course the level of stagnation may vary between segments and markets but in general…

    All the projects have the extreme difference in budgets – 0 or zillion.
    Mid-range is becoming more uncommon thing.

    The entry level is the lowest ever. You can have computer, you can learn things from countless free online courses, YT, etc, you can even get the software for free on countless torrents, you register on freelance site – here you go another editor. Experience is 0 but nobody knows about it and you’re the cheapest man in the hood. Nobody wants to pay – they’re ready to cut few dollars even for lower quality then to pay extra ones for higher quality.

    The high budget projects are distributed between the professionals that are working in the industry for years and and there’s no chance to get in there.

    We are entering the (incompetent) clients dictatorship era or survival marketing era – whatever name you like- and you have to sell yourself as a sales manager – it’s all up to you. So you better listen to some effective sales course right after Adobe Premiere Pro one. :)

    But it’s a tendency in all service markets as you can see – cloud-like services, template solutions, automated source management, etc. People want things as cheap as they could be. That’s true. Now we can use almost all kind of services we can imagine not selling our both kidneys.
    Or the second side of medal. People want top notch stuff. Look at smartphones market. Buying the last iPhone or nothing.

    So are the things IMHO.

  2. Mar 19, 2013 07:30

    When I was in art school, I was taught the pragmatic definition of an artist is someone who works for free, ie. don’t let that be you! The corollary of ‘never work for free’ is never work with people who are working for free. Imagine a film shoot like that: pure chaos. And then the client behaves the same way: we don’t really value this and we’ve decided to put it on the shelf for the moment (a month, a year, forever).

    They are calling it the post-employment economy.

    My Amazon bestseller made me nothing

    The digital media revolution means no more rock stars. No more professional: musicians, journalists, writers, photographers, filmmakers – anything that has been digitised, where the means of production and distribution have been democratised by becoming less capital-intensive. On the other hand, it’s never been a better time to be a hedge fund manager! More radically, if you are not really being paid to be creative making stuff for the political economy, it means you can be just as well paid as a creative revolutionary, overthrowing the new plutocracy that ensures you have no future. So there’s that :-)

    I have worked as a video tech, editor, graphic designer, web designer, musician and filmmaker. I specialise in charity fundraising and I’ve got 15 years experience in that context. I’m a charity marketer with a movie camera. That’s my USP. If I were a video editor starting out, I’d be very concerned. Of course, if I were simply under 40, I’d be concerned. The plutocracy we’ve created over the last 30 years feeds on the young (and old and infirm). The post-employment economy – LOL.

    Please pardon the long passionate rant. It’s a big topic.

  3. james - DSLR Video Studio Mar 19, 2013 12:28

    Never have we had such incredible tools, so affordably priced, and available to as many people. That’s the good news.

    The reality, though, is that all these tools have opened the floodgates to so many new people that it is difficult to make a consistent living.

  4. Jeff Orig Mar 19, 2013 13:22

    Yes, change is both scary and exciting.

    Just because you own a copy of Microsoft Word does not make you a writer. And just because you have a high quality camera, editing system, etc. does not make you a filmmaker, editor, videographer, etc.

    Certainly everything has changed, but people still make a living writing and making music. Those are two creative industries that were democratized before our industry. Maybe they don’t make as much money as before, but more people are able to make money doing it.

    I don’t know the answer. But I believe there is always room for more awesome in the world. If you make great things and bring value to the world, it comes back to you ten-fold.

    Yes, we will have to step up our game to get a piece of the pie. But that is a good thing. Less crap is a good thing.

    I haven’t been around forever, but I don’t think working in this industry was EVER easy. There are always challenges. Competition was always one of those major challenges.

    Plus, I think there are more places to make money too. There are 500 cable channels of mediocrity that can be improved, last time I checked, there are still advertisers paying money to have their products shown on those channels. Youtube is one of the easiest distribution channels to get on. They pay actual money to people that make content audiences want to watch. We get a small sum every month from Youtube. We hope to build that. There are examples of people making six figures on youtube with varying levels of technical skills, I might add.

    Also, more people want videos. Corporate marketing now includes videos for the web as part of the mix. There are lots of businesses in every market that need this service.

    And on, and on, and on.

    Yes, budgets may be smaller, but honestly you can create the work much faster than ever before and the technical skill level needed is not as high as before. The market reflects that. Like Larry said, we will have to shift the value from just simply having the equipment and knowing how to use it to some other value that you bring to the table.

    We live in an abundant world. We are creative people. We can literally create something from nothing. We can make great things.

    If we create great things of value, we will be rewarded in return.

  5. GambitRocks Mar 19, 2013 14:11

    This is an incredibly confusing time for fellow graduates and I. Thank you Larry! Great comments.

    Dr. Michio Kaku mentions some interesting ideas concerning a future based on creativity and imagination (towards the end of the video link below).

  6. Ian Mar 19, 2013 17:16

    Larry, I wish you would have written this piece before I went to grad to school to learn camera and editing techniques. I don’t blame you; that would be absurd. However, you have successfully made me cry.


  7. Larry Mar 19, 2013 17:53


    Sigh… At the time you left for school, we didn’t expect the industry to be this screwed up.


  8. george manzanilla Mar 19, 2013 20:08

    Find a niche industry, based on your interests, feed it.

  9. Jen Mar 20, 2013 12:17

    I agree with Jeff that there is a huge demand for content. Every business wants a stylish video on their homepage. I am a longtime producer and editor, and the problem I am experiencing now is that these people who want content have no idea how much even a somewhat decent production costs. It always comes down to money. People believe that you can just grab an iphone, shoot a few cool shots and interviews, and then come out with a great video. So there seems to be a growing disparity between the few high-end professional jobs and everyone else, who is trying to make gold from, ahem, horse poop.

    I’m thinking of segueing my career into User Experience, if I’m not too old.

  10. Ryan Mar 20, 2013 13:26

    As Larry mentioned, storytelling is key. However, I think the future of making a living as a storyteller, comes down to being able to use any and all the tools available. We will need to be able to create a webpage/app, dabble in e-book production, get a firm grasp on social media, create slideshows, create 3D content, create motion graphics.

    Notice I didn’t mention any particular software. The client today doesn’t care (if they ever did) about the tools you’re using to tell their story. In some ways, we need to become almost one man/woman agencies: Convince a client, hey you want to launch product X? ok, I can create three youtube intro videos, a corresponding app, the 3D product virtualization for your webpage, and get the word out on social media.

    Sure right now it seems like that would be a daunting amount of investment in learning a wide array of tools, but as individual components (i.e. FCP X) get easier to use, (or at least come with a lot more shortcuts to make acceptable material) a four year degree program in which you learn all of the required programs for the example above, might just be plausible. Ten years ago we wouldn’t have even thought about trying to take on all those tasks.

    Now more than ever, we will need to be digital storytellers, who can deliver and promote on any platform.

  11. Marcos Castiel Mar 20, 2013 17:57

    I have been a professional editor , by professional I mean making a living as an editor , for 17 years. A lot has changed , the cost of the tools, the tools them self ( in my case from , media 100, to avid, FCP ,and to Premiere at the present), the medium it self from film to digital. But one thing remained the same, the craft involved in being an editor, a storyteller. Besides the fact , that editing is a lot whole of fun, it is also extremely hard work. Deadlines became insanely shorter in the recent years. It you want to be an editor , if you thing you have it in you , pursue that ambition! It is a lot of work , but it is storytelling at its core , and you can make a living out of it! Don’t let the present conditions stear you away from this great profession.

  12. Aneesah Cuts Mar 20, 2013 19:19

    As a 28 year old living in an over saturated world of artists this article almost broke my spirit – but then I remember that the middle class is disappearing and the upper class is increasing with freelancers – there’s hope.
    You brought it back to sunshine in addressing free work. Like the weakest in the herd, those willing to bend all the wrong ways for clients are messing it up for the rest of us but I also believe that the triphecta of cheap-fast-good is truth and those who deny it will be left behind.
    Another saving grace I think you look at with more pessimism than I is the online video world. There’s way more content now than ever before and I’d like to believe as people become more bombarded with cheap-fast-terrible videos those who show and prove that they know what they’re doing will be in more demand. There are way more online content makers like Vice, Karmaloop, Vevo music videos, even Netflix has their own productions. I’m holding onto the idea that the role of video editor – especially for those willing to wear multiple hats – can only go up, I’m banking on it!

  13. Larry Mar 20, 2013 19:43


    I FULLY applaud your attitude and think you are on the right track. My purpose in writing this was not to bring tears to the eyes of editors, but to reflect on the fact that the world has changed. As long as you know the problems you face going in, you’ll be prepared to deal with them.

    I wish you great success!


  14. James Mar 22, 2013 06:00

    Editors have always had to learn constantly.

    Looking back at times when technology was changing at a much slower pace, editors were still having to learn new work arounds to beat the limitations of the editing facilities.

    Now that the facilities are great, ubiquitous and cheap our challenge is to keep up with the changes and be the super editors that the technology allows us to be. People who want to rest on a single skill set are going to be left behind.

    In all markets possibilities become necessities very quickly. No day will come when our jobs will get easy, that’s why it’s called work. If the technology is making your job easier then you are no longer doing work. And who is going to pay for that, when there is someone else out there willing to work?

  15. Ben Mar 25, 2013 13:08

    Whether you see editing as a viable career option or not depends on how much money you want to make. I’ve worked professionally for the last 10 years and currently earn around £38K a year. For me that’s a comfortable living along with the stability (fingers crossed) of an in-house post, however I doubt I will ever earn much over £40K through editing. To younger editors this may sound like a lot but there are plenty of careers that pay better. I’ve thought of retraining many times but I enjoy what I do so right now I’ll stay where I am. But I guarantee you won’t just land a salary like that straight out of college. I’ve worked for free, for terrible wages, for ridiculous hours, for complete morons who had no idea of what they were doing (this business attracts them like flies), and been exploited in the name of ‘great experience’ more times than I care to admit. But eventually it’s paid off.

    I think the key for anyone thinking of getting in to this industry is don’t rush in to a decision. Think about what kind of salary you want to be bringing in because it will directly affect the lifestyle you get to live. Balance this against what you are interested in and what you enjoy and spend some time researching your various career options. As others have said equipment and teaching tools in this field are cheap so maybe do something else as a career and make films in your spare time. You can still get good at it only without sacrificing the enjoyment!

    Also, look at where you live and what industries are realistic for you to enter. I live in London now which has a great deal of editing jobs, however I had to move from up north as the city I lived in was extremely limited. This is something few people consider early in their career but depending on your circumstances can play a huge part in your life.

    Hope this is of some help,


  16. Brandon Mar 26, 2013 01:08

    As someone who has been unemployed for the last 4 months and half employed(at best) the last few years… I feel this all too much…

  17. Tim Kolb Apr 13, 2013 10:05

    I think this evolution isn’t unprecedented.

    Remember scribes? A scribe was the catalyst between someone important who said something important and the written record of the event. Sometimes they added their own perspective, but often they simply recorded it…often to-order of their patron. Eventually more of society became literate, and the printing press displaced the legions of scribes necessary to copy documents…and increasing literacy and affordable tools and paper made the function of the scribe obsolete. The advent of the internet has pushed paper-publishing largely toward obsolete.

    We still have writers and the internet has opened up the field to anyone (and I mean anyone), but that doesn’t mean that nobody can make a living at blogging, etc.

    Just like writing, using the moving image and sound to express a message will continue to create a mountain of content, but like blogging, only the sought after content will be able to be monetized, similar to blogging and web based enterprises.

    Just as with writing, the real transition happened when the means of distribution became universally available, as opposed to the means of production. Authors…and I suppose video producers, directors, editors, etc. won’t go away, but content won’t be valuable because it’s content anymore…and by extension, the act of creating content is no longer automatically valuable either.

    Just like writing, we have a communication medium here. Value won’t be based on creating a message, but on the results from communicating one. (as it always should have been I suppose)

  18. Larry Apr 13, 2013 11:50


    Hmmm… A very interesting analogy – I like this. Everyone has access to a word processor, but not everyone can write something that others want to read.



  19. Matt Davis Apr 16, 2013 12:57

    Editing is a wonderful combination of surgery, sculpture and husbandry. It’s also getting extremely technical with outlandish workflows, the need to wrangle ever-increasing amounts of data, to both backup and archive.

    Then there’s the ‘truffle-hunt’ – finding the gems, the lovely moments and grace notes in all the dirt of the rushes.

    On one hand, all the promises of metadata, shot logging and outsourcing of rushes notation does see a new form of editing. However, it’s not there yet, and if anything, it’s the ASSISTANT Editor’s job that’s fast disappearing.

    At this year’s BVE show in the UK, there was an odd dichotomy (certainly in my Corporate neck of the woods): people weren’t going to pay for fancy kit, but they wanted nicely graded stuff. Facilities houses were going to the wall, but small ‘Edit Shops’ were doing great things. The people who don’t want a ‘Fancy Dining’ experience are doing rough butchery or ‘pizza assembly’ edits.

    Although there are a lot of examples of ‘that will do’ editing, I think – like the ‘Desktop Publishing’ thing – people will get a bit sick of badly produced video and will develop the ‘TL:DR’ attitude to viewing video.

    ‘If it’s this hard to watch, I can’t be bothered’ will ensure that editing will still be valued as is surgery and cookery.

  20. Marcus Apr 16, 2013 22:17

    We must take full advantage of what is available right now. Overhead for a freelancer is extremely low. Software no dongle Symphony?! Davinci for 1080p for free! WHAT!! C’mon! To rise above the huge influx of video enthusiasts you must have a unique flavor / style / approach that makes you a commodity. The tools are cheap, everyone has them, the thing now is to be the best one on the block to use them.

    Part of the problem is everyone is “technology, technology, socialized social this and that” Take advantage of these frenzied tail chasing technophiles and create substance using human life, not media marketing tools… Its other people that people connect to…not technology!

    Research!!! Study!! Rip off all of your favorites!! Don’t pretend you are great!! Get put in your place by the amazing stuff that is being churned out. Embrace envy and realize what inspires you. There’s never been so much great and horrible stuff available to research and get inspired by. I’m inspired by this discussion as we speak!.

    I feel now more than ever it is soooo important to focus on having a tasteful eye because your work is your work. And that is the only leg you have to stand on. Create something fresh and eyeopening for people and make every fiber in your being dedicated to outdoing expectations. How could you lose if you stay in it long enough? It is still the same old people, just a different global mindset when they get to you. Be unique, consistent, and unrelenting. Take advantage of the huuuge amount of complacency out there. People will pay more if they are getting something special. That will never change. Yes we take corporate jobs, yes we take crappy stand-ups. But if you build it…the like minded will come.

    It is the best time to be an editor. It will never be what it used to be but you can always be better.

  21. Peter Samet Apr 18, 2013 17:26

    I don’t think it is as bad as you say. Decent prosumer NLEs have been around for over a decade, and the profession hasn’t crumbled yet. I’ve been able to make a good living editing reality tv and indie features since graduating USC in ‘04.

    Sure, it’s easy to learn FCP and Premiere (thanks in large part to your tutorials). But simply knowing how to use the software isn’t enough. The one thing that distinguishes the professionals from the amateurs is SPEED. The keyboard must become an extension of your hands. You must develop the muscle memory necessary to produce high quality work in a very short time frame. Your brain must become highly-tuned for storytelling so you don’t flounder in the avalanche of footage. Those skills only come with years of practice and will always remain a barrier between the fickle amateurs and those who have a serious passion for editing.

  22. Ryan Apr 18, 2013 18:19

    There are an exponential amount of TV stations around the globe compared to 20 years ago, plus thousands of new companies who want a video presence on the web. Find your niche and exploit it. And if you can’t make a living doing it, educate others. Or both!

  23. Addison Apr 30, 2013 15:42

    I went to graduate school to learn all sorts of filmmaking techniques. Now the market has tanked. My only strategy these days is to work a day job at something totally unrelated to media – then “give-it-away” by taking on editing projects at on my off-hours hoping someday it will pay off. I try to network so that quality professionals will eventually be exposed to what I can do and then – hopefully – a paying gig will happen. In the meantime, editing will have to remain a passionate (expensive) hobby.

  24. Ivor Dunaiski May 21, 2013 18:11

    I hail all the way from Cape Town in South Africa. I’m permanently employed at a small production company. The more I read your posts the more I feel I need to be doing this thing on my own. Your posts are both informative, edifying and inspiring. Thanks!

  25. Steve Jun 10, 2013 08:41

    I am 22 and in my 3rd trimester of a Film Making Degree at SAE. With no skills in the work force, a few edits from assignments to put in what will make my show reel and after reading all this I have become very depressed, I feel I should start getting somewhat fit enough to get into the military or start looking for a position at McDonald’s. -.-

  26. The Future Of Editing | Jun 16, 2013 01:44

    [...] Can You Still Have a Career in Editing? Posted by Larry on March 19, 2013 [...]

  27. Grateful Fred Nesbitt Nov 10, 2014 11:29

    Media jobs attract the enlightened, the ignorant, the moneyed kids and the hungry…any industry that “hires” unpaid interns will always SUCK.

    And the more suckers that flood the market…

  28. Wanda Doerner Nov 10, 2014 13:45


    You hit the nail on the head with this commentary. I admit that I’m one of the “few” who is fortunate to be a staff editor at a TV news station and I’ve been through all of the evolutions of technology from the 3/4 inch tape days to the current transition to FCPX. The suggestion that I have to offer in addition to your wisdom is this …

    It pays to do more than just edit … add still photography, graphics and shooting to your repertoire … and/or make alliances with people who can add the skills to give your client proposal that extra edge.

    As the software has become more affordable … post houses have been replaced by it. So – yes – mastering the software and new programs that come out is mandatory for survival. Know that now – we are all competing with the savvy high-schooler who can afford the tools and play without any deadlines or bills to pay. What will separate the professionals from the novices … are speed and execution.

    And … as you wisely mentioned in your blog … marketing skills are mandatory. I would take it one step further and say this … you are a small business. It behooves every creative person to take classes in entrepreneurship, accounting and personal finance … just basic business and economics courses. It will make the difference between success and failure … as much as your editing skills will promote or crash your options.

    Creative and financial decisions require entirely different ways of thinking – creativity is out of the box … finance is strictly black and white – nuts and bolts.

    How do I know this? My undergrad degree was in business and I worked for SBA for 4 years while it supported the launch of my photography career. As I saw that industry dry up … I switched to TV (ENG shooter and audio … and fell in love with editing) seeing the realistic landscape of the industry taught me to adapt to what was in demand.

    So … yes … there are opportunities out there … and it will never be what it used to be … but … many filmmakers are realizing their dreams on shoestring budgets and combining forces with other creative people.

    This is an interesting conversation.

  29. C. Park Seward Nov 10, 2014 13:52


    I owned a post facility for 17 years, starting on 1982. At that time, post was a very profitable business. You needed very expensive equipment and highly trained engineers/editors to make it all work. They also needed to be creative to bring magic to the screen. So charges were high to pay for all the equipment, maintenance and the highly paid, creative people. $500 an hour was not unheard of.

    I once took a week long training course on the Ampex ADO digital effects unit. They were initially priced at $250,000. You needed not only video technical skills but math geometry experience. Using something that expensive forced you to be efficient and creative in order to give the clients what they were paying for at a high price. Every minute counts.

    When Avid start to make inroads into post, we now have the situation of a $50,000 editing suite competing with a million dollar suite. And competing with an editor who is willing to make $5 an hour just to get the business. Rates started to come down and it became more difficult to afford the high priced equipment and people. Many post facilities started to close. Editors bought their own editing equipment, even if they knew little of the technical requirements of editing. I remember assisting an Avid post house in Hollywood with a problem they were having. I asked what the signal looked like on the ’scope. They said they didn’t have a ’scope! So much for professionalism…

    Some requirements deal only with the creative aspects of telling a story. If you are good, you will succeed. Take Thelma Schoonmaker. She has edited all of Scorsese’s films since Raging Bull (1980), first working with Scorsese in his debut feature film Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967). Schoonmaker has received seven Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing, and has won three times—for Raging Bull (1980), The Aviator (2004), and The Departed (2006). When asked how it was that such a nice lady could edit Scorsese’s violent gangster pictures, Thelma replied with a smile, “Ah, but they aren’t violent until I’ve edited them.”

    The more expensive the equipment and the harder it is to operate, the more money you can charge. I’m now transferring videos from Quadruplex VTRs for clients. I can charge a high fee due to the complexity of the process since keeping Quad VTRs running today takes some skill and making the best pictures from 50 year old analog equipment takes technical knowledge and patience.

    Today, some post houses are now making their own TV shows and movies. That way they can make money on the project, not just the editing.

  30. Wanda Doerner Nov 10, 2014 14:20

    Other tips …

    1) Be one of the first adapters … jump on the new software and master it early … you don’t want to be part of the masses that wait for their comfort zone to shift after the new software is in more demand.

    2) Be strategic about pricing your skills … sometimes bartering your skills can be advantageous … but … make lists of pros and cons … look at what your yield will be.

    3) Asking for big $$$$ is not being greedy … it puts a perceived value on your time, skills and experience. Never sell yourself short.

    4) Sometimes the best way to learn is to apprentice for an established professional … they can teach you lessons that would take years to learn on your own. Being associated with a ranked professional also enhances your presence in the marketplace.

    5) Working for yourself means – you have 2 jobs … being an editor and running the business of your editing profession.

    6) If you are looking for those “rare” staff jobs … be persistent … network on Linked In and knock on doors … virtual and real. A contact on the inside is always a powerful ally in your search.

    7) The lesson of compromise – not in terms of money … but … in terms of your co-workers, producers, directors, writers, etc … you will be more successful and in demand … if YOU are easy to work with. Remember – it’s not about fighting for what YOU want to do … it’s about executing your bosses’, client’s vision … and sometimes it means letting them take credit for your good idea. Being egoless and a pleasure to work with … makes for big demand for your services. This is the hardest lesson for some folks to learn. It took me 10 years to let it sink in.

    8) Finally – when you talk to anyone in the process of seeking a new client, staff job, etc … take the time to write a hand-written thank you note. It will be a small gesture that makes you stand out. Another very important rule … keep a log of all secretaries (personal assistants) and their names … be courteous to these gatekeepers who hold the keys as to WHO will get through to the decision maker or executive that you are seeking to reach.

    I covered court as a shooter in the past … you can bet that I had a log book with the names of all secretaries, bailiffs and other associates at all of the court houses. When I arrived to jockey for a position in court … I addressed people by name and they always remembered me. Courtesy and appreciation go a LONG way in this business.

    So – just my 2 cents.

  31. Jeff Orig Nov 10, 2014 19:25

    BTW, the nightmare of computer edited video without a human editor is here. Check out Disney’s Research Hub Youtube Channel:

  32. Gerardo Nov 11, 2014 13:45

    thanks!!! I really needed to read this!

  33. Justine Nov 11, 2014 14:01

    Can you have a career in editing? Not as a stand alone editor, no, now you have to be the camera guy, the lighting, the graphics, do the music.. It is a young man’s career, not a place for women, transwomen are less likely to find work.

    There seems to be a conflict on what is needed and what is being taught, as a tv news editor of 12 years, using tape based systems, having been out of the game for a number of years, I find it impossible as a transwoman to get a break into the industry, the biggest issue is the x number of years in post using a well known brand of non linear system.. In my case I only recently obtained the laptop, a mac, and FCPX, even so, being that I am nigh on 40 years old, no one it seems is interested in the 12 years of knowledge I gained…

    Any one can be taught what buttons to press, that is a skill, the pure raw talent is the valuable bit, but it seems that today 2014, talent is worthless in the pursuit of fast talent.

    The quality of editing is so bad at times barely watchable, we call this art, but it is junk, no care anymore…It takes just as long to edit quality as it does rubbish, for example boom mics in shot, why not crop a line or 2 tighter, then the mic is gone, or SliceX the shot…

    I spend my time watching tutorials, to the point I could lecture post grads and even Walter Murch…I live in hope that one day my talent will be noticed, but with the disability, I cannot run and gun do it all, and as a result my pure raw talent is wasted…Why not take the time to invest in both the youth of the day and older folk, we as older folk are well educated, stable and we do know how the world of work works…Youth is great, but not in every case…

  34. Adam Dec 20, 2014 20:24

    yes it is a different world now. I think things changed with the technology and delivery mediums. Someone who makes enjoyable content by themselves as director, camera, editor, sound mixer can make a living on YouTube for example.

    Marketing departments want people with Social Media skills and that includes video. Some of my favourite shows to watch are pieces by magazines that until a few years ago only played in the print market. I thinking is because there are demands now for creative individuals who can shoot stills and video, design page layouts and web, and edit video to create a mixed medium communications message.