How To Become a Video Editor

Before you begin, you should do a little soul searching. Exactly what type of video editing appeals to you?

READ ALSO: How I Started As A Freelancer In Nigeria.

Do you want to edit wedding videos, commercials, or TV shows? Movies or documentaries? As there are various types of positions which differ greatly. And the paths to become a video editor for each of these fields of work can look very different. That’s why it’s important to narrow down exactly what you’d like to pursue first. These are the various steps to be considered to become an outstanding video editor.

1 | The Career Path to Commercial and Freelance Video Editing

If you’d like to become a freelance video editor, the most important step is gaining knowledge and experience. You don’t necessarily even need a college degree or any art school experience to become a very successful and talented video editor.

With the world of knowledge that exists online through various course and even YouTube, it isn’t hard to teach yourself how to edit videos. Combine this with a mountain of growing experience and you should have no trouble landing those first few gigs.

You may consider offering some free videos at first, just to gain some experience and take the initial pressure off yourself. Try to focus on the genre of videos you are most interested in pursuing: is it weddings, corporate films, music videos?

You can often find wanted listings for these types of video gigs online.

While I do have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, I didn’t have one at the time I first started taking on video editing projects. And you know what, most clients don’t ever know or even care about my degree.

I started out volunteering as a video editor for a local documentary that another filmmaker was putting together. That same year I shadowed a more seasoned editor that worked for a local broadcasting network. Even though I made zero money from those jobs, the experience I gained was invaluable.

If you have the opportunity to work with a more experienced video editor, even just as a volunteer, do it. Every time, do it. It’s an investment in your future career, cheaper than film school, and they may become the source of some of your future gigs.

Fast forward a few years later and some of those editors that I’d worked with in the past had too much work. Guess who they called when they needed to recommend another editor to their client? Yep. Me.

Let’s talk for a brief moment about starting a career path for a marketing/creative/or advertising agency.

Working with a creative team

For this position, it is important that you at least have a bachelor’s degree. Mine was in fine arts with a specialty in film, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Your degree could really be in just about anything. It’s more important that you have good work to show for it.

You’ll need to have a good amount of prior experience with a demo reel to display some of your previous video editing.

Because the agency will care a great deal about how you interact with companies and how you represent the agency, you’ll also need to demonstrate your excellent interpersonal communication skills.

You can best show this during the interview process. How you present yourself and articulate ideas. Emphasize your creativity, problem solving, as well as ease of managing clients and inter-office communication.

Don’t be afraid to start out at the bottom and work your way up. This is the case with any new job or career change. Arrive early, stay late, always be willing to go the extra mile, and do it with a positive attitude. Add to that a willingness to continually learn and improve your editing skills and you’ll go very far in your career no matter where you are.

You may start out as an editing assistant and then work your way up to senior editor or even a creative director. You may also find specialties within the field that interest you along the way, such as a motion graphics editor.

2 | The Career Path to TV and Movie Video Editing
This field is so vast depending on whether you want to work on live TV, reality TV, scripted TV, news broadcasts, or Hollywood films.

The typical career path may possess something like this: post production assistant, editing apprentice, assistant editor, senior editor. And by the way, many editors make a career of being an assistant editor. They attract so much value i.e. lucrative and it’s still an excellent goal.

In addition, you will likely not be a part of a union for a while as you need a lot of experience to apply to qualify to join the editor’s guild.

Until that point, you’ll be hired for short periods of time (6 months-2 years) depending on the project. It’s much like being a freelance editor, where you’ll need to be ready to find the next gig each and every time.

It sounds like a daunting career path. It isn’t easy, but let’s talk about some of the key principles that are sure to help no matter which path you take.

Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom.
Working as a video editor in TV and Hollywood is extremely competitive and there’s a lot of great talent already out there. In order to even have a chance, you may have to find any gig that you can and work your way up.

Much of this industry (like many others) is all about who you know. So be the production assistant. Bring everyone coffee and take their trash. But also, let them get to know you. Make a few friends or mentors. Tell them what you’re passionate about and let them know you want to learn more and are willing to work for pennies (or even for nothing).

If you get the chance to shadow a video editor, do it. Learn all you can and develop those relationships, because that’s the best chance you have of landing the next position that’s a little higher up.

Never stop learning.

In a field like video editing, technology and creative styles are constantly changing. You as an editor need to always be on your top game to stay on the edge of these trends. Work extra hours to make sure that you’re always improving and always learning.

Take on extra work, even if it doesn’t pay much, just to get more experience under your belt. You’ll end up using much of this work to create and grow your demo reel, as well as open yourself up to new relationships and potential job opportunities.

Be patient and willing to work overtime.
Like I mentioned before, breaking into a career as a senior editor for feature films or TV broadcasts isn’t easy. I won’t sugar coat it. If it’s your dream and you’re talented and work hard, then it can certainly be done. But it will require a lot of you.

It may take years of volunteer editing jobs before you can prove yourself to the right person and/or the right opportunity opens up. But if you are persistent and patient, that opportunity is likely to happen. So take jobs on your off time if you have to still work a full-time job to support yourself. Take on projects in the evenings and weekends to build up your reel and meet new people.

Concluding Thoughts
I hope you are encouraged to leap into this incredible field of video editing. There are thousands of great jobs out there to find your way. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. So don’t be afraid to just start wherever you can. You’ll learn and adapt as find your own path.

I’d love to hear from those of you who are video editors as well. What did your path look like?
If you’d like to become a freelance video editor, the most important step is gaining knowledge and experience. You don’t necessarily even need a college degree or any art school experience to become a very successful and talented video editor.

SOURCE: Handcraft films

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