Hmm, after I posted that I went though the trouble of editing it all to take out most of the typos, false sentances, and other crap that sneaks in when you write 2-3 pages at 5:00 am. But I don't see a way to edit my last post. I seem to remember back in the 2005 days they took that feature away, is it still gone? Shit, now maybe I remember why I don't post on the forums any more.
Anyway here is the cleaned up post, could a mod please delete the one above? Thanks!
Just spend the last hour reading though this post. I didn't know so many AMVers had or have made the jump to professionals. I'll tell my story because I like talking about myself, but also because I took a slightly different path than most. I'm going to give simple quick tips at the end, so if my personal story doesn't interest you (and honestly it shouldn't) just skip down to there.
I've been working as a full time Assist Editor / Post Production Coordinator / Office Tech / Sometimes Editor, for a infomercial house in LA for just around 3 years now. Notice I said sometimes editor, during my journey I learned I enjoyed post production, but not much professional editing. There are professional jobs for people like me.
I loved working with AMVs in high school (I graduated in 2002 to give you basic timeline) and didn't know what I wanted to do. I took a film class thinking it was an elective class in CC college, that might help me with AMVs. That turned into me making the rather stupid decision to go all they way with it, and went for my AA and BA in film. One weird thing I found, I was the only person in film school who he wanted to edit. Lots of editors will describe themselves as failed directors, and I can say that everyone else in film school wanted to be a director. I love computers, so my love was always post production.
One warning, fIlm school is easy, do not be deceived, working isn't. My final years in film school mostly consisted of going to class and watching movies. Really, it was a cake walk, but you pay for that later on.
Once I had my BA in film, I quickly realized I had no clue whats to do next. I'm not a good networker, I don't really like people enough for that, and had no relatives or friends working in the industry. I am a hard worker though, but I ended up looking for work 10-15 hours a week as an editor for 7-8 months with out much luck. My resume would go out to 10 places a day, but I would never hear anything back. Pretty standard these days, but really frustrating. I understand why this was happening now that I have been on the other end, wading though 100's of resumes. I started to tweak my resume bit by bit, and suddenly it started getting me interviews. Basically I added a "personal qualities" section to the end of my resume which I peppered with jokes. Seems to have gotten some peoples attention because interviews really picked up afterwards.
But just because you can get an interview doesn't mean you can get a job. After a few months I realized I need more experience, and after being rejected at one interview, I said, how do you feel about me coming in as an intern? "We would fucking love to have you work for free" they replied. I worked 8 hours day 2-3 times a week, FOR SIX MONTHS. Please know that during this time I was living at home, and working part time as a lifeguard. (makes pretty good money) There was no other way to make this work, and I was just lucky enough to be raised in LA and be able to live at home. After six months I realized they were never going to hire me on, moved on to my next internship for code monkeys which was lasted about 6 weeks until I quit it because I was hired at my current job. BTW, 2 weeks after I was hired at my job, was accepted into the JET program, but didn't go teach english to japanese kids in japan because I had the job I was looking for. I'm happy because I wouldn't be married now, but job wise I'm not sure how I would feel about it. I don't work in "hollywood", I work in infomercials which is really only one step better than porn (or not depending on personal preference). I hate editing infomercials, so I started to specialize in the technical and managerial spectrum of post production.
...Meh, I'm starting to bore myself, so here are a few bullet point tips I've learned from being in post production.
• If you want to edit narratives, you need to assist edit first.
• If you live in LA, it's a no brainer to apply for the A.C.E. Internship. I did, and didn't get in, and since they only take 2 people a year, more than likely neither will you. But if you apply they have a pretty awesome seminar that has great information about getting assist editing jobs, and how to move from there to an editor. http://ace-filmeditors.org/about-2/ace-intern-program/
When I went to the seminar, I met people from all over the world who wanted it, and flew to america just to go to the seminar. I'm not sure if it's worth a plane ticket to go though. I gave some poor bloke who had flown out from england for TWO DAYS just to come to seminar a ride back to his hotel so he wouldn't have to get a taxi, and the A.C.E. editor who was running the seminar over heard me offer him the ride and got me a brief internship with another A.C.E. editor she knew as some kind of karma award. Awesome chance, although it didn't pan out any work for me. Looks good on a resume too, I have A.C.E. Internship Symptom on mine, and listed my self as a guest. A.C.E. also has an editing competition once a year around September or November I think. Costs 100$ fee to enter last I checked, but maybe something to consider. (I never tried.)
• It's discouraging, but be prepared for resumes sent out to not pan out to much. I spent a lot of time sending resumes to job posting on craigslist, never to hear anything back. Now I have been on the receiving ends of the huge wave of resumes that come in from a craigslist post, I understand what was happening. 100s and 100s of resumes come in over the course of the first 4 days, so it's just luck if you manage to be noticed even if you are qualified, even harder if you aren't. I did get my job from a random craigslist add though.
• I keep saying my full time job, but full time jobs are really rare, and full time editing jobs are almost unheard of. Most jobs are freelance. There are full time infomercials jobs though, but we still only have like 10 full time employees and we are a fairly big infomercial house, and only one of those is an editor (if you don't count me). Freelancers make more per hour, but there is always that chance you won't find work for a few months.
• Internships are somewhat effective, but don't stay too long. I stayed too long... Contrary to what I've seen written in this thread, try and do internship for places that are more legitimate. You really waste your time working for somebody's personal project that isn't every going to get off the ground. My wife spent a lot of time doing internships under shady circumstances at people homes and it really didn't pan out for her. I never had any trouble finding internships, but I've heard from friends that even unpaid ones can be competitive.
• It's more who you know than blah blah blah. It's true, it's crushingly true. But I didn't know anybody. My wife (who I meet in film school) doesn't much have trouble getting freelance work were I work because she, uh, knows me, but she doesn't have any other contacts so she's going to be going back to school to be an accountant. So there are exceptions, but it's still true.
• Every internship, Job, post house, and sound house I have ever been to used Macs. Standard post production programs I've seen are FCP, Avid, After Effects, Photoshop, Pro Tools. There is currently not much professional work with Premier, but that may be changing fast as Final Cut Pro X is the devil spawn of prosumer sensibilities. I've specilized in FCP, I love FCP, and it looks like FCPX is simply not going to be a viable option in the future, so I may be reading though premiere tutorials pretty soon.
-Ok, there was one exception to the mac rule, the community access channel for the city of Torrance was cutting with avid running on PC.
• Fun Fact, Beta still lives in post production. That blew my mind when I learned that. What little SD work is left (we do a lot of it at my office) is normally "backed up" to Beta Sp or Digibeta.
• The biggest difference between a amateur and professional editor is organization. When working on an AMV, you are working mostly on your own. However, in most editing jobs you are editing as part of a team. Which means you need to make sure that what you have done, what you are going to do, and what needs to be done is apparent to several other people. This requires a system, often called a post production workflow. As an editor / assist editor you may be expected to create this system. If the system is already in place, you will be expected to follow that system. Sometimes this make editing slower, or harder for an individual, because it creates extra steps. But trying to edit with a team of people without a system is an even worse nightmare. If this sounds confusing or odd to you, I suggest finding an internship, or classes where you can learn this difference before trying to take paid work. It's not that complicated but it's important and take more than a few hours to understand.
• I've never taken classes here so I can't really endorse it, but moviola seems to have some classes that look like they are actually useful to people who want to learn about post production. I would suggest Assistant Editing essentials if you already feel like you know advanced editing, which if have made a few videos or one a few awards you probably already have the program you use down better than most professionals. Again, I have never taken a class from these people, but I know people who have and liked it and learned. (although they didn't have to pay for the class themselves, got company to foot bill, which might dual their expectations. I'm trying to talk them into sending me to the red camera class. http://www.moviola.com/edu/all_classes
Again this advice for people who live in LA.
Bottom line, it's risky and dangerous business. I kind of wish I had gone to school for computer science now, I think I would have made more and had more job security. On the other hand, it was pretty cool when I was in the same building as South Park and I do love what I do, even if it stresses me out.
I may regret this, and I can't promise anything, but if you live around Culver City area and are want to try and get freelance work in infomercials for assist editing, editing, or as an after effects artist e-mail me a resume, reel, or whatever you have. I don't have final decision on hires, but sometimes I can at least get your resume into the "consider" pile, and I actually have a very healthy respect for AMVs, being a failed AMV editor myself. We only hire new freelancers a few times a year. One requirement though, we are a very heavy FCP office, and if you don't know FCP fairly well, please don't send me your resume unless you do, it will go badly for everyone involved. We are also looking for After Effects artistes, although we have had the same two great guys with us for the better part of a year now so we may not be hiring AE graphics guys any time soon.
-Holy crap, this got really long
TLDR: Bahamut God is persistent but mostly lucky.