A few years for those of us doing it full time, while those of us working for agencies can start doing it by the time we’re in our early twenties. Some take just as long as you do. Do you get frustrated? Does the industry confuse you for someone better than you? If so, here’s how to stay clear of the red tape.
1. Take a course: Before you start your first project, take a class or two – one in film or video, the other in design – and get a good degree of hands-on experience. It’s not enough to merely view footage; you need to spend some time actually making a movie or short. I’ve had the luxury of taking a variety of courses over the years, including, for example, the one I gave at film school that teaches students (on the side) how to use a camera on a budget (on the side, with some extra money, of course).
2. Watch everything: No, you’ll never know exactly what you want. Don’t feel guilty if it isn’t for something you want. You’re making decisions in a place where there’s probably plenty of information out there. The best way to find a topic that sounds interesting is to peruse the internet in search of something like “How to make short films” or some other vague question. It’s not necessary that you know all of the facts, but some basic knowledge to allow you to understand your audience is a step in the right direction.
3. Be persistent: I was lucky enough to have a great editor who was very good and knew what he was doing (I’m an avid student of editing and would love to hire anyone to edit my own film). However, in the beginning, it was important to not fall into the trap of having something of a preconceived idea and letting your editor put you in a box. Some good ways to show somebody that it’s possible (and can be rewarding) to get better at something include being willing to ask for help when you’re on your own to work out things, and also asking your editor about things as you are working from raw footage. That allows you to make the transition from being an amateur to an editor without going off script and into it.
4. Make an outline: Before you start, you want to make a rough outline of exactly what you’re trying to do and what direction you’re going in. (Don’t worry, we’ll go over that when you’re done with this
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