There’s nothing worse than feeling stuck when you want your editing career to progress. We all know the feeling, that kind of itchy-under-the-skin feeling when we know we are capable of so much more. Trouble is, there are so many times over the course of an average career that those icky feelings are likely to rear their ugly heads. And the feature film post-production industry is no different from any other employment sector in this respect.
Whatever stage you’re at on the journey, we’ve got some advice here that just might help you hold your nerve when you want your career to progress.
From inexperienced noob to runner
Maybe you’ve done school, you have the qualification, you’re ready to go. On the other hand, you might have a little real-world experience, or you no experience in the industry because you were busy working all the hours to finance yourself. Perhaps you gave school a miss, sure that you could make it without spending thousands on a piece of paper. Does any of this sound like you?
Cool. However you got here, now you are looking for that bit of work experience or an internship, the thing that’s going to launch your career in the film post-production industry. How are you going to get started?
Getting your foot in the door can be a trying process. You may find yourself firing off a whole ton of emails and never get a response. Keep going. Soon enough, your polite, carefully worded email offering to be a useful member of the team who can answer phones, make great coffee, and run all sorts of errands will pay off.
Try finding out what new film productions are going on in your area (or within a commutable distance) and try to phone through to the editing department (this is no mean feat). Try approaching editing houses, production companies, or studio editing departments. If you live in a major film hub city (LA, London, New York, NW UK) try credit watching then email editors and assistants directly – but did we mention being polite yet?
“Try to remember, though the process may well be frustrating, people working in film and television are busy people. They’re most likely freelancers who are putting in some serious hours and long, long days (and nights). As lovely as we know you guys out there are, your email or phone call just isn’t going to be a priority… unless it happens to land on the right desk at the exact right time. Hang in there!”
From runner to assistant editor
You’ve been making coffee. Oh, how you have been making coffee. You are so good at it now. You can make every size, every type, you can whip steamy milk into all kinds of glorious forms, and you know how your fave editor likes it. You might even be able to make a half-way decent cup of tea (milk in last btw). You’ve done your share of running, even perhaps your share of working for free. You may even have started to get your head around the processes you’re going to need to understand for the next step.
Now you are ready for a taste of the big time.
Getting to be an assistant from entry-level positions is tough. It’s also a mighty step up in terms of the demands of the job and the level knowledge you’re going to need to acquire – fast. This really is something that cannot be underestimated.
We would, naturally, recommend you learn everything you need to get ahead in the business by taking our course – but then, we would say that, right? In all seriousness, Feature Film Assistant Editor Immersion 1.0 is going to be the best preparation you can find out there. Think of it as a kind and supportive way to learn off the job that’s going to allow you to make mistakes and to understand the workflow involved in typical feature film post-production. It’s also a great chance to network with peers and more senior people from the industry.
Whatever stage you’re at in your career, hopefully some of this sounds like it could be useful.
And our final piece of advice? You do you. Get out there, be your wonderful self, be nice to the people you meet and you just never know when the next (and perfect) opportunity is going to come a-knocking at your door.
Remember, you just never know who is going to give you the big break you need. This is the industry where the old adage of who you know, has long been replaced by who knows you.