help me find a job!
June 15, 2012 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in digital media, and I'm certified in Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X and Final Cut Pro 7 (level 1 and 2). What types of jobs should I look for/would I be qualified for?

I intend to go to graduate school in a couple of years, but I'd like to work in the meantime. I don't have high standards. I just want *some* job for now.

Unfortunately I don't have many marketable skills:

-I'm certified in Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Photoshop

-I'm a decent writer and editor. I was an editor/reporter on my college paper for a few years, but that was ages ago -- I transferred to another school, took some time off.

-I'm a pretty good video editor as well but I don't have a reel. I worked as a paid intern at a cable access station for a couple of years during college and did a lot of editing there, but it's not exactly slick stuff given the material I was cutting.

-I have some admin assistant experience, having worked for a couple of years during college helping a research scientist organize her material.

I'm wondering if it would be possible for me to get a job training people how to use Photoshop or Final Cut. I have no idea what usually qualifies people for those jobs, where to look for them, or if I'd need to get more certifications in order to qualify.

I've also thought about trying my hand at wedding videography, but don't know much about the market. I taped and cut a couple of wedding videos a few years back.

Any/all ideas welcome!
posted by timsneezed to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Look for an entry level job at some kind of post-production house, graphic design firm, or photography or videography company. Also maybe the art department of ad agencies, or some kind of web production thing. In the film/video/media world, you're probably looking for job titles like PA (Production Assistant). In graphic design, you're looking for key words like Production or maybe Retouching.

You may need to do an unpaid or barely paid internship to get good connections for work like this. Maybe look into a casual side job like waiting tables, barista-ing, or tending bar which you could do on weekends while you do an internship. If you go this route, try to find an internship that would last less than six months, and then WORK YOUR ASS OFF. The goal is to get them to forget you're an intern.

Assuming that you are in your early 20's, have never had a real career before, and have a degree and some skills but not a lot of experience, you probably won't be hired to teach people anything. I mean, unless you mean, like, joining TaskRabbit or spreading the word amongst your social circle that you can teach people and/or troubleshoot this stuff.

I see Craigslist ads here and there for people with wedding photography/videography businesses who need part time help. Post-college, a bunch of my friends funded pre-grad school sowing of wild oats, and/or part-time side work while you start your own thing via these sorts of part time assisting and retouching gigs.
posted by Sara C. at 9:52 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I think if you're serious about getting into some of these creative fields, you probably want to focus on building a portfolio of some kind. Any actual 9-5 jobs in these areas are going to be pretty competitive (when they exist at all), and the people going for them are bound to have more experience than you. Don't get discouraged, but learning these skills upfront isn't really a silver bullet for employment. You need to have portfolio you can stand behind. If you have to settle for some other kind of employment while you build this, consider that just part of the process.

All of that said, why not pour over your local classifieds and see what's out there in your area. There may be some opportunities that fit what you're after. You could also put up your own ad offering retouching or editing services, as a means to build portfolio and grow your skills.

Good luck.
posted by hamandcheese at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2012

Honing in on the training and wedding videography parts of your post, since that's what I did after college.

First, a warning. Getting into wedding videography because you want to make money = good idea, getting into wedding videography to build your reel or establish credibility= waste of time. We (my husband and I) have universaly found that noone (including other people who have done wedding videography) gives wedding and event videography any credence on a reel, it actually functions as a negative in many instances if you include it.

That said, its a great way to build your skills and earn some money. To get started pick a style. Are you going to shoot the whole thing on one camera and then edit it down to a 30 minute highlight? Are you going to shoot with two or three cameras and do a documentary "real time" edit of the ceremony? What will your delivered product be? You can decide this based on the equipement you currently have available and by your interests. You mention being a decent editor, I would consider going with the "1 camera" direction edited down to 30 minutes, perhaps with a 4 minute "super highlights" version for youtube. (I put 1 camera in quotes because if you can afford a backup stationary camera in the back of the church I would definitely spring for one, it'll make editing much easier, and CYA incase of chip failure)

Then I would recommend trolling craigslist in your area and picking up a couple of $500 quick weddings to make a reel. Do not be confused, these will most likely be very frustrating. In my experience the less someone is paying for a product like wedding videography the bigger of a PITA they are. Don't worry about it, focus on producing an exceptional product that looks great. Use the money to fill any immediate equipment gaps, create a clean and easy to use webpage (3 kick-ass short samples, Price list, contact information) if you want to jazz it up go for it, but start simple. And buy online ads on and

Check out the competition on those sites in your immediate area, Price yourself in the bottom 3rd, but DO NOT ACCEPT BOOKINGS FOR MORE THAN 6 MONTHS IN THE FUTURE. You want to get out of that price range as soon as is responsibly possible. Not just because you want to make money, but again, what I found in the bottom 3rd price range is that you get a lot of extra demands. People will ask you to take 200 off, they'll ask you throw in extra stuff, the money just means more in that price range.

As soon as you have a decent collection of weddings, double your price. That's where I sat comfortably for many years, it wasn't so high of a price to be "a lot of money" in the scheme of what people were already spending on weddings, we were making a great product that was at the low end of the middle price range for our area. We got very few extra demands, the clients were happy and we got paid.

Oh! that's another thing - 50% at booking, and then, your choice - 50% day of (always seemed a little shady to me) or 50% upon delivery (runs the risk of people not paying after you've edited).

Anyway - it's a good little gig, just don't think of it as a pathway to "real" video work.
posted by dadici at 2:15 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

And I'm back for the other half -Training. Training will be a harder gig to get at this point because you lack credibility. It's not to say that you can't do it, but you'll have to get luckier. Start by searching for places that do the type of training that you could do. Put together a sample lesson (it can be based on a book, but at no time should you LOOK at the book while training your sample lesson, other than to refer to a page number).

Places to look for training jobs that you might not have considered: Your public school system. I did internal training for a school system for several years, they also offered adult education classes that I taught for a little while.

This would actually be a good compliment to wedding work, since they're opposite schedules. Most of the training jobs around here are contract basis, which means you work a couple days a week at most. You would probably have trouble getting hired at the more professional training companies. These companies tend to favor real world experience as a marketing tool for selling their classes, and you won't have that for a while. But look for in-house training gigs at companies that are big, if you're serious about it consider doing sample lessons for the microsoft office products too - a lot of places train both, being versitile will help.
posted by dadici at 2:56 PM on June 15, 2012

Sara C.'s advice is really good. I work in VFX and know a lot of people who have started good careers in exactly that way. It's a lot of stressful work for the first few years, but once you have proven yourself and are in a position to have creative input, can be very rewarding.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:38 PM on June 15, 2012

Update: I got an internship with a local casting agency!
posted by timsneezed at 9:52 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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