Post Magazine

APRIL 2010

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What everyone starting out should know I By MICHAEL KAMMES MPSE/Post Applications Editor/Workflow Consultant Key Code Media ( Burbank ’m actually in a very unique position. I have the privilege of meeting editors and visiting facilities that run the full gamut in terms of post production — TV, film, and new media — both back in the Midwest and here in Southern California. I have worked as both a creative and as a companion to the creatives, and through all of these projects, meet and greets, consulta- tions and chats over beers, I’ve compiled a list of things I think everyone breaking into the industry should know, whether you are an intern still in school, straight out of school, or just starting a new job. I know many of these observations might come as second nature to some people, but gentle reminders never hurt anyone! 1. Be on time or early. I am absolutely This list of tips might help you get — or keep — a job. amazed at how little this is followed.Yes, I know there is traffic.Yes, I know there is rain. But that means nothing to the person who has five meetings after the one with you. Show respect to them and their project. 2. Speak so you are understood. I still fall victim to this. Slow down, contain your ex- citement and/or eagerness to blurt out your notions on the universe. Speak in a clear and concise voice. Not too loud, not too soft or a mumble. Until you know where you stand with the person, do not give the whole sordid story — only give the black and white facts. 3. Double check your work. You may finish a task sooner than anticipated.That proba- bly means you’ve messed something up or forgot something — hence the reason you were given more time. 4. We know you’re using some cracked software. Don’t mention it. It’s not cool when facilities have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for software to be legal, and you got it via a torrent. Oh yeah, and don’t take or use their stuff without asking. 5. Do not — I repeat — do NOT use your first foot in the door as a way to get “discov- ered.” Do not push your demo reel or band’s demo CD onto a client. 6. Turn your damn cell phone off. 7. Carry a notepad or a voice recorder. Something to remember the instructions you were given.A co-worker once told me — and still tells me to this day — “The one thing I hate most is having to repeat my- self.” If you have a record of the chat, there is no repeating. 48 Post • April 2010 Another tip would be “never look bored at work.” 8. George Santayana once wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are con- demned to repeat it.” For over 100 years, people have been working in post. Study how they worked, the problems they over- came, and learn from that. I cannot tell you how much it has helped to understand how things “used to” work when relating to my peers or staples in the industry. It gives you credibility and a respect for the medium. 9. Don’t drop names. There really isn’t a good way to do it unless you yourself are a name. 10. You do not know more than the peo- ple who are hiring you. If you did, you would not need a job. Technical proficiency or the latest plug-in or keyboard shortcut, in post, does not give you a higher base of knowl- edge. Personality, personability, experience, and seeing post as whole process yield post intelligence. 11. Speaking of, understand the processes outside of your concentration.What you work with is a direct result of what the previous department did — just as the next step in the post process relies on you doing things correctly. Someone will mess a step up — and you need to be able to track it down. 12. You will do stuff you think is beneath you. Whether it’s a coffee run, or logging hours of clips,we all had to do it. All of that prepares you for the big time.These menial tasks not only demonstrate your ability to listen and follow through, but your effec- tiveness down the stretch.Think of it as the minor leagues — only in this game, you have to be the waterboy first. Save your hotshot techniques for your indie projects off of Craigslist. 13. You often learn as much from the peo- ple around the creative space as you do the creatives themselves. For example, the engi- neer can teach you signal flow.The reception- ist can tell you about the clients’ personalities. 14. You are in a unique position, as well. You bring a fresh view on things to the table.While it may be uninformed, it does have something the jaded people at the fa- cility may not have: fresh eyes.When (and if!) you feel comfortable (and in private), bring these up. But do it in such a way that you are attempting to help the company.Do not point out fault or blame.You haven’t earned that ability yet.This is extraordinarily difficult, and it may take several months — if at all — to have the respect of the company to accept what you have to say as helpful. 15. I know you’re a creative at heart. And you work in a creative space.And you feel your dress should reflect that. But, for god sakes, pull up your pants! Take a shower. Look like you care about how you are perceived, even if you really don’t. Why? Because you are being judged. It’s a fact of life — especially in the entertainment industry. Be outwardly unique on your own time.

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