How do I break in as a digital editor?

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    • #44407

      Hi everyone,

      I have been looking
      for a position as an intern or editors assistant in Los Angeles for about 3
      years now, since I graduated from college with a degree in Media Arts, and Im
      starting to run out of ideas and become frustrated as to why nobody will hire
      me. As far as experience goes, I have worked
      at two tv stations and on the behind the scenes featurette of a large scale
      film. I know Final Cut, Premiere, After
      Effects and Photoshop, and spent about 2k this year taking an AVID course and
      getting an AVID technical certification. I have a subscription to and get job alerts sent to my email. Ive been applying to
      about 15 online jobs a week but I never get any responses. Lately I have been
      calling post-houses off and cold calling for basic internships in order to
      learn a little more and just get my foot in so I can start on the ground floor
      of a company and grow with the position. I have offered to work for free for a trial
      period at all the places Ive calledAfter about 2 months, Ive had one
      interview but no call back, and most of the people I talk to seem to just be either
      incredibly flaky, or just giving me the run around. I also have a demo reel…., but
      after all the positions Ive applied to it only has 8 views?

      Is there something I am doing wrong or missing?

      How am I supposed to break into this industry if I dont
      know anybody and nobody will take a chance on me?

      Thank you for any help you can provide.


    • #185970
      Grinner Hester

      Cold call, get your foot in the door, take what is offered.

      It sounds like you already know you’ll start for nothin’. Don’t hesitate to start today. There are always folks who need your help.

    • #185971

      The success stories I’ve read and heard of guys getting a break nearly always seem to be connected to extreme perseverance where they continuously hone and polish their reel until it slaps people in the face. It is daunting, to say the least, seeing some of what is being done in the “I want to get my foot in the door” arena, and it is tough to generate a reel that will float to the top with all the competition, especially anywhere near the West Coast and L.A. area. However, shear perseverance … sending out that demo reel that you’re constantly honing and polishing, tightening and making pop, adding new and better stuff as you can acquire it, is what’s going to make it happen. That and even MORE patience than you’ve already exhibited.

      Another way, of course is to keep uploading your stuff, new and improved, on YouTube and sending those links out; setting up a connection on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other sites where you can also hammer on your demo reel’s existence and links, and update continuously when you have something new and improved. Join all the forums you can and showcase your work and your qualifications (and experience when and where you can get it) especially LAFCPUG and similar sites where people like you are congregating and sharing information and comments.

      Then take whatever days you can, and armload of demo reel DVDs, make a plan to hit as many places you can find in L.A. and wherever else you wish to try, hit their doors, ignore the front guard (receptionists) if you can and insist that you’ll wait until they close and lock the doors if SOMEBODY in a position to make a decision to give you a chance will only give you five minutes of their time … or less.

      Be bold, be aggressive, be polite but insistent. When you get an audience don’t hesitate, stammer or look at the floor or wring your hands or genuflect USE DIRECT EYE CONTACT AND HOLD IT. But by the same token don’t over act your confidence or come off cocky or haughty unless of course you have every reason to believe you’re the next GREAT EDITOR and have the demo to prove it.

      Then explain that you KNOW for a fact most of these houses have need for “ground floor” interns and you also know that there are labor laws and other legal considerations that may or may not make it THAT easy for them to accommodate someone like you who is willing to be there for as long as it takes. But assure them that you WANT a chance and if the only way to get one is to start out gofering and pouring coffee for some jerk (well, don’t actually USE that term) head honcho, then you’re their person.

      Whatever it takes, then do it again until you find a door with a crack in it big enough for you to crawl through, then stick like Gorilla Glue until they let you sit behind an editing system and show them something.

      This would be MY approach.

      You could also appeal to the HUGE number of independent professional video services providers all over the West Coast who are focused specifically on weddings, and others who focus on events, performances, small business and commercial productions, and offer them your internship proposition. A lot of these guys and gals might be a bit more approachable and give you some editing time that, while it isn’t in the entertainment or high end commercial industry, still provides you with additional experience, honed skills, material to improve your demo reel (get their permission and make that part of your “working a free internship” proposal of course) and possible connections with others who might know somebody who knows somebody … if you know what I mean.

    • #185972

      jesse1469, as usual EarlC has shared lots of great info that should be very helpful to you or anyone else in the same position. The only thing that I can add is in reference to your video. Great job demonstrating your skills. The only thing that I might suggest is to hold on the contact information at the end for a little longer time making it easier for someone that is watching it to be able to write it down. This doesn’t seem like too much to ask of a prospective employer but if they getbunches ofvideos to review anything that causes them extra time or effort might be just enough to toss yours. This will make it as easy as possible for your prospective employer. Good luck and keep trying.

    • #185973


      On the one hand, you’re in the place where industry is most predominant so that’s an edge. Really, it’s all about you continuing to do the work and making connections in the industry where you are. The disadvantage you face is there are truckloads of experienced editors already trolling about for the limited gigs and there’s a tidal wave of fresh out of school grads and people looking to do what you do coming from other industries. It’s all going to boil down to you having current work to show, networking as best you can, going to expos and the like to meet and greet with others in the biz and teaming up with up and coming indie projects. The result will be your name and work being on people’s minds which when an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready to take advantage of it. That isn’t the traditional way of doing things (go to school, pound the pavement, get a job) because for now those days are over.

      Main thing is to not lose heart if you truly want to stay and succeed in this industry. It’s nothing against you per se. It’s just the times we live in. The shark tank just got bigger to accommodate more people is all. You’ll just have to swim harder and perhaps longer to get out. So in the meantime, do what you gotta’ do to maintain and keep your skills sharp and your eyes peeled!

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