Help a small town video editor make the move to a larger market?
February 4, 2008 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Small town video editor wanting to make the move to a larger market. Any suggestions on cities?

Some more info...

I've been the editor/motion graphics guy for a small production company in southern Oregon for the past 5 years. Spots, industrial/corporate, promotional pieces, video podcasts, etc. A couple years ago I was also the assistant editor on a small indie feature.

I'd like to work on more features/shorts. So, other than Los Angeles (which isn't out of the question) where else are movies being cut?

Portland, Seattle, Boise, SLC, Austin and Nashville are some of the cities I've thought of.

Also, should I be prepared to become an apprentice? Is that even a paying position? How does the Union hierarchy come into play?

Sorry about the length of this post. Just not sure what to expect when I venture off into the real world.

posted by bstreep to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The DC area is HUGE with nonfiction as both History Chanel and Discovery are based out of the area and/or have offices there.

Alot of the production companies that film stuff for them are based there also. I remember my professor in media classes telling us that we were lucky to be in Maryland/DC because of the massive amounts of available jobs.
posted by petethered at 1:31 AM on February 5, 2008

If you're looking for independent films to work on the obvious choices are NYC, LA, and Toronto...other than that it's a matter of getting together a good reel and meeting lots of producers and directors. There are plenty of small budget shorts being made all the time...check out film/media departments at universities and start attending film festivals/workshops. You might try posting at Mograph and Creative Cow too.
posted by pepcorn at 7:28 AM on February 5, 2008

Chicago has a ton of commercial work, as well as some other stuff. Plus, weather aside, it's a great city. There is some feature work but not as much as the places you've noted.
posted by jtron at 7:55 AM on February 5, 2008

Los Angeles is really the center of this. The combined film & TV production in town dwarfs all other cities. As previous posts mention, New York and Toronto are big as well.

There is plenty of freelance working going on here (LA) on everything from big shows to promos to porn.

I haven't seen much of an apprentice system.

What I seen is people either hiring in directly via a good reel into a full time position or starting out small (wedding videos, band videos, etc.) and working up a client base and better reel.

Disclosure: I'm a TV engineer, not an editor, so be cautioned to my perspective.
posted by Argyle at 9:14 AM on February 5, 2008

Sorry, I'm short for time, but here are a few tidbits of info for you:
- If it's a union film (i.e. they have signed a contract with the union), then they must pay all participants according to that deal. Under union contracts, apprentices are paid, though some small low-budget films just hire an editor, an assistant editor and use an intern rather than an apprentice. If you're hired to work on a union film, you will have to join the union and pay the signup fee. I don't know if it's changed since I joined, but I couldn't join the union without a job offer from a film, and they checked my resume as well to make sure I was qualified to join. (I skipped apprentice and joined as an assistant.)
- There's usually a fair amount of non-union work around too (at least in NY and LA), so you don't necessarily have to join right away, but if you want to have a career in features, you eventually will.
- You can get hired on the strength of your resume/skills, so don't worry about starting at rock bottom. Though you may want to intern/apprentice on a film or two so that you can learn the procedures that assistants are in charge of.
- Check for job listings, too.
posted by xo at 8:34 PM on February 5, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great advice, everyone.
My initial reluctance in moving to the L.A. market was centered around moving a small family down there. So, I'm going to do a lot more research (which post houses I should look at, what kind of wage I should expect, where are the decent places to live, schools, etc), run some numbers and put together a reel. I'm not in too big of a rush, so I want to make sure and do it right.
Thanks again!
posted by bstreep at 3:46 PM on February 6, 2008

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