Career Help!

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Kev_inCanada, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. Kev_inCanada

    Kev_inCanada Guest

    Hi All,

    I'm a 22 year old, university business graduate from Canada and I'm
    interested in video/tv production for a possible career choice. I
    have a few problems though. One, I did accounting at university and
    have no formal training of video production. Two, I have no
    experience in this area. Three, I know nothing about video

    I love to watch concert DVD's and sporting events on television. I
    find myself analysing the different camara angles, editing techniques
    and the varying styles of different directors. I really enjoy David
    Mallet's DVD's.

    The reason for this post is that I don't know what to do. Where do I
    start? What kind of formal training should I get? Do I need formal
    training? I have tons of questions. I have a lot drive and
    dedication. I want to be the best and am willing to do what it takes.

    Thanks a million.

    Kev_inCanada, Aug 24, 2003
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  2. Kev_inCanada

    Guy Guest

    Well Kevin, I bet you are going to get many different views as to which way
    to go. The accounting will come in useful if you want to become a bean
    counting producer or running your own production company.

    I would suggest getting some formal academic training at a good school where
    you will learn technical skills on camera, sound and editing. You will also
    learn about the media and the industry that you want to work in. A good
    school will teach you how to produce TV programmes or films for target
    audiences through researching, pre-production, production and post
    production stages. You will get a good all round grounding and then you can
    decide what you want to specialise in. Some of my colleagues at my
    university started out wanting to be editors or camera ops or directors but
    by the end of the course many had changed their minds as they had their eyes
    opened up to other careers. At a good school you will have the opportunity
    to try a whole load of different roles and see what lights your fire. By
    the end of the course you will have a good set of skills and some programmes
    under your belt and more importantly a showreel to impress employers. Also
    learn how to boil a kettle it will be invaluable experience...

    To get into a good school you may have to demonstrate some pre-existing
    skills on a showreel.

    This is not the only way as I am sure many people here will tell you.

    Good luck
    Guy, Aug 24, 2003
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  3. Kev_inCanada

    Dan Ballmer Guest

    I'm a 22 year old, university business graduate from Canada and I'm
    Guy has given you decent advice, however if you would like to avoid
    returning to school I can suggest an alternate path:

    1) Find the best video producer in your area and offer to work for
    them. Consider this year of work to be your "training" and learn
    absolutely everything you can. In you spare time read titles like the
    Film-Makers Handbook by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus. Take all of
    the online courses at , you'll
    be glad you did. If you're just breaking into the market a
    subscription to Videomaker Magazine might also prove useful, however
    no amount of reading will teach you as much as a year of shooting,
    editing, and producing video (so hook up with a respected local
    videographer soon!)

    2) Once you understand the business of shooting and marketing videos
    start your own company (or propose a partnership with another
    succesful videographer). I don't know how Canada handles setting up a
    small business, but in Michigan it's a fairly simple process; fill out
    a DBA form ("Doing Business As"), register a tax number for your
    company, and set up a business line. Be prepared for a couple of lean
    months in the early days. Try to keep a good rapport with the other
    videographers in your town. Find out who works in industries related
    to your video business (local theater groups, music groups, bridal
    shops, etc) and build a business relationship with them. Be sure to
    have business fliers, cards, and important documentation (like
    contracts) drawn up in advance so when you land your first customer
    you aren't cauught fumbling for answers you should already know (like
    "How much do you charge for transferring 35 small rolls of 8mm film to

    3) Produce the best video your equipment and creativity will allow,
    time and time again.

    This is the path I have taken, since my degree is in History. I
    started shooting for a local videographer when I was 24-years old.
    Four years have passed since then and I own my own video business as
    well as being 49% partner in a video business two towns away. I set my
    own hours, do work I love, and shoot independent film and video shorts
    in my free time. Life is good.

    If you truly love to produce video you'll find no better job. There
    are many paths to becoming a sucessful video producer, good luck
    finding your way.

    -Dan Ballmer
    Beyond Imagination Video
    DK Video Productions
    Dan Ballmer, Aug 25, 2003
  4. I started out by volunteering at my local public access cable station.
    Eventually they had an opening for a part time master control operator
    (thy guy who put the tapes in the decks so the shows can actually go on
    the air). After I started that I began an internship at a local
    origination cable station (local cable done by professionals). They also
    did a lot of corporate work and stuff for C-SPAN. That's where I learned
    to use real Beta SP broadcast gear. Eventually they started hiring me for
    freelance gigs and eventually I quit the public access station to
    freelance full time for them and other clients. While I was doing that I
    started working for another local cable station that did some local sports
    stuff. Many of those people also worked on broadcast sporting events.
    Eventually I got to a point where I was doing all sorts of things. Then I
    landed an entry level job at CNN where I became a video editor / ENG sound
    tech' and I also shot a little. Mostly I was editing, but I really wanted
    to be in the field full time so I quit and got a job as a photojournalist
    in Hartford CT.

    I knew one guy at CNN who started in the mail room. He used to come up to
    CNN International after his shift and the editors would teach him and let
    him practice. Eventually he got an entry level job at CNNI, and after a
    year or so he finally became an editor.

    Basically everyone gets in to this business in a different way. Doing the
    public access thing gave me some exposure to see if it was really what I
    wanted to do, and some experience to sell to get me to the next level.

    I think news is a great training ground. The best shooters I worked with
    when I was freelancing had all worked in news. They were good because they
    had experience shooting all sorts of different kinds of subjects under all
    kinds of conditions every day, under extreme deadline pressure. They also
    edited their own footage, so they learned from their mistakes. You learn
    to be good and fast (or at least fast). Working for a small station I
    shoot every thing from breaking news, to features, to sports. That will
    all come in handy some day when I move on.

    You should call some production companies that do the kind of things
    you're interested and see if you can work as a production assistant. Call
    the local stations what kind of entry level jobs they may have. You might
    be able to start out doing some book keeping for small production
    companies, producers, photographers, whomever, and make some contacts that
    way. Make that accounting degree work for you.

    Enough babbling from me. I hope that gives you some ideas. Feel free to
    e-mail me.

    brian a. henderson, Aug 25, 2003
  5. Kev_inCanada

    Kyle Guest

    Everyone here has given some great thoughts and options for you.

    We (myself and 2 business partners) have been in a similar situation, in
    that we are realizing we may have made the wrong career choice in
    college (Engineering). While there is nothing wrong with engineering,
    it's simply the fact that we found being in the video business a lot
    more enjoyable.

    We are all in our mid-late 20's and started our current venture in 2001.
    There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction that comes from being your
    own boss.

    What we have done is, get jobs in our field of study, which helps fund
    the video business on the side. We read a lot and experiment a lot and
    have slowly grown the business over the past few years.

    Doing it this way requires a LOT of patience and dedication, because it
    is an extremely slow process. BUT it is worth it.

    The other thing we believe is, doing it debt free. (By having a day job,
    you can afford to outright buy your gear, and not have to worry about
    payments on anything)

    You'll want to meet as many other professionals as possible, as just
    about everyone needs video services at some point. Joining your local
    chamber of commerce or local small business groups will be of great help
    in making contacts. Also consider doing freebies for community events

    That's all I can think of for now.
    Kyle, Aug 25, 2003
  6. Kev_inCanada

    grinner Guest

    Learn from home for a while on apps you buy online or at circuit city. Once
    you build a reel you like, shop it around town and take the first internship
    offered. You'll work for free free for a while then for very little for a
    while. You'll find your nitch soon enough and can focus on your specialty.
    This is when you can start making it a career. Until then, you'll have to
    supliment your income.
    Best of luck and have fun!
    tips, tricks, gigs and more
    grinner, Aug 28, 2003
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