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Work for Who You Want to Be

David writes in:

I am interested in post-productions more specifically a video editor. I thought about starting out as an assistant editor, but almost all these job advertisements require 2 years of experience. Would you have any recommendations on where to get qualified experience in Los Angeles? I heard from one person that some editors started out as drivers for post production companies transporting footage to and from other post production houses. Still, I can’t seem to find any positions like that available.

There’s a hierarchy to every department. Unless you’re very talented and very lucky, you don’t get to start out as a key creative like the editor. You don’t even get to start as that person’s assistant. Editors and AEs work very closely together; it’s a relationship that involves a lot of trust and symbiosis. An editor isn’t going to hire a random dude off the street.

You need to start even lower on the ladder, as a post PA. And that’s probably hard to get into, without being an office PA first. And you’ll probably need to intern to get that job.

See, you get work by meeting people, and you meet them by being physically around them. The editor, and post production coordinator, need to get to know you, see that you’re hard working and knowledgeable and effective.

Post is a unique department, because so much of it gets outsourced. The editing tends to be done in-house, but color timing, sound mixing, even scoring and ADR, are frequently done off site by outside vendors.

This is good news for those of you who want to get into post. It’s possible to find a stable job at a post house, rather than scrambling for a job every nine months like the rest of us.

So, yes, taking any entry-level position you can find is the way to go. I’d recommend searching EntertainmentCareers.net and Mandy.com. I’d go further– look up every post production facility in the LA 411, call each one up, and ask if they need an assistant or intern. Working for free is a great way to break in.

Transporting hard drives all over town doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but if you’re friendly and pay attention, you’ll learn something. For instance, “post production” is singular, not plural.

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