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January 2017

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Page 38 of 43 37 POST JANUARY 2017 CAREERS I t's odd giving career advice when I feel like I'm still neck-deep in the process of figuring things out myself. I once saw a video of a dog who would tap an odd number of times when he wanted to go for a walk and an even number of times when he was hungry — impressive stuff to be sure, but my guess is that if you asked the dog how he got to where he was, the answer would be lacking. Every dog's journey is a unique one that's hard to condense into a how-to manual. Also, dogs can't talk. So as someone who's been able to perform a few tricks in the post produc- tion world, and who possesses a basic grasp of communication, all I can speak to is what's personally impacted me along the way. This is not a roadmap in any sense of the word, but more of a big picture outlook — please feel free to take any or all of this with the largest grain of salt imaginable and tap three times when you feel like you want to go outside. I started working in post professionally during the last days of true analog post production, and I'm forever grateful this was the case. If nothing else, it showed me the immense importance of putting myself in situations that are uncomfort- able — the dread I'd feel before a telecine session, for example, sticks with me to this day. Using a (real!) roll of negative selects that I prepped meant that any mistake would result in thousands of dollars of the client's money being lit on fire directly in front of them. This forced a level of focus and accountability that I've tried to carry forward throughout my ca- reer — if there had been a pain-free "au- to-prep" solution, who knows how much innate laziness would have crept in? As is always the case, Arnold Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron summed it up better than I ever could: "Pain makes me grow. Growing is what I want. Therefore, for me pain is pleasure. And so when I am experiencing pain I'm in heaven. It's great. People suggest this is masochistic. But they're wrong." The parallels between elite power lifters and those who sit in front of a computer for 10 straight hours moving their wrist with- in an eight-inch circle are truly uncanny. I try to be interested and wonky about as many things outside of edi- torial and post production as possible. The more creative cultural osmosis you experience, the better; varied inspiration is what will define your own sensibili- ties and make your work feel more like it's yours. I read a recent interview with Jim Jarmusch where he said, "Get your inspiration from everywhere, because filmmaking has everything in it: music and style and timing and rhythm and acting and writing and photography and color and composition." This applies 100 percent to post production. It also helps that Jim Jarmusch has preternaturally amazing hair. Know how to listen. Be open to trying anything. Be empathetic to the vibe of the room while acknowledging your place within the hierarchy of a project. But still use your voice and have an opinion. Understanding how to deal graciously yet directly with the people you work with is so immensely more important than boring things, like which NLE you're using. Realize that you can be confident in your abilities and still sometimes feel that you're a hack. If you're just getting out of school or you're looking for your first break, all I can say is to start making things. Make 40 billion things. The barriers to entry that used to exist, at least in the access to gear and material and knowledge, are gone. Play around with the most mun- dane footage for a thousand hours. Press every button and force the material to do what you want it to until your fingers are numb. Do you have a question on literally anything? There are now infinite, free YouTube videos of Estonian teenagers who know more about motion graphics or workspace configuration than you or I will ever learn in one thousand lifetimes. Keep making things until it becomes un- deniable that you have a point of view. Really focus on story. The whole "I'm a Storyteller" trope feels like something that should be on a Busted Tee in 2006, but that doesn't mean it's not important. And it applies to any form — commer- cial, feature, promo, vertically projec- tion-mapped Snapchat sneeze, whatever. While writing this, a seemingly boring commercial for chewable vitamins came on in the background — and even that told a story and imparted some emotion based on its visual pacing. The amount of time the shot lingered as she stared at that bottle? Man, she's gonna use the SHIT out of those vitamins! Carve out time to read some good graphic novels and comic books — they're the best storyboards in the world, able to establish pace and stakes using nothing but stills. Watch as many movies as you can and try to figure out not only what you like but also why you like those things. More importantly, do everything you can to surround yourself with people that challenge and inspire you. One of the best aspects of working at a place like PS260 is the fact that everyone is engaged and curious, always looking to get better at what they do. That type of attitude can't help but rub off and I'm very lucky to find myself in such an environment. And luck is a real thing — anyone who tells you it isn't is lying. I'm lucky to be at PS260. I've been incredibly lucky to get to work with great directors, DPs and forward-thinking creatives. The cast and crew at Saturday Night Live and Documentary Now! are professionals of the highest caliber; I'm only as good as what I'm given to work with and I'm lucky that it's always incredible material. If my time in post production has taught me anything, it's that filmmaking of any sort, in it's truest expression, is a team effort — and I've been lucky to be a part of some great teams. A BIG PICTURE OUTLOOK BY ADAM EPSTEIN EDITOR PS260 VENICE, CA/NEW YORK CITY PS260.COM WHAT'S PERSONALLY IMPACTED ME ALONG THE WAY

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