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thatpostshowLast week, I listened to a podcast as I was drinking my morning coffee and I could relate to these editors frustration. Check out “That Post Show Episode 7: A Market for Avid and Final Cut Pro” for a nice debate on the state of freelance editing today.

The Last few jobs that I have done are “save jobs”, I usually loath these jobs because they are usually old clients that have bypassed my services for a more affordable post guy aka the “hack”. Ironically they are double paying at this point because the client hired someone who didn’t know Final Cut Pro on a professional level, can’t edit in a Walter Murch sense, don’t manage media properly, can’t deliver on promises like graphic work or many other reasons; to put it simply the quality of the work was affected by their lack of mature work quality standards.

So, I decided to list out 5 thing that the Hack could do to save himself or at least help the people that pick up the pieces of there “work”.
(Feel like this post is going to have lots of “”)

1. Be consistently Hackfull.
Okay so you don’t know what your doing and you hack away a solution that is inefficient, tedious and mildly stupid. Please continue doing the same stupid technique throughout the project. The person who is going to fix your work will not have to decipher your mish mash of knowledge every time you decide that the last time built a lower 3rd, for example, was half -assed.  Make his or her life easier and its a good practice.

2. Try not to work more outside your realm (Sound Editing, Color Correction, Graphics)
I know it is hard because your a hack, but try not to take on more than you can chew. Hopefully, you know you barely get by as an editor. Don’t promise Color Correction, Motion Graphics or Sound design. These are all different skills that have their own hacks that are hacking away in their own special way.
You also look really stupid when you can’t deliver these elements because more people can judge bad sound and color.

3. Seek help, the Inter-Web is your friend. (Size of Composition, Graphics, Audio formats, Compositing)
This might save you in the 11th hour. This might even get you out of the realm of hack. Please don’t jump to the conclusion that it is a flaw in the software it is Final Cut Pro that is technically inept its you, your a Hack. So, Google it and you might just fine the answers on a message board or even a poorly shot YouTube video screen capture.

4.  Cover your Tracks. Clean up after yourself when it is passed on. Consolidate God Dammit!
Okay, your employer that you BS’d decides to got to, let’s just call him or her an non-Hack. When you hand over the project to the “Non-Hack”gather all your files and hand those to the Man or Woman who is going to fix your mess. Media Management is part of your job and you don’t want to constantly be contacted by your previous employer about where is this file or that. You can even try to “Media Manage” your Final Cut Pro Project and let the computer do the work!

5. Learn from your mistakes: a few keyboard shortcuts make you a better person, don’t say its impossible and be honest.
These tips might help you in the future from burning more bridges in the city you live in. If your working in house, you might want to learn some keyboard shortcuts so you are not spotted immediately as a hack. I am sure that your not stupid, learn from your mistakes. Don’t promise before you know that you can deliver, it makes it hard for the Non-Hack when he or she is trying to explain to your previous employer (who at this point is double paying for the job) to trust them, they know what they are doing.
Lastly, get back off the beaten track of Hackdome and be honest. It is so much easier and people usually understand it is a big technoworld out there and it take time to acquire all the knowledge. I know that I still learn everyday something new and it won’t stop but what make me a professional is these five things that I to make the clients feel like they are in good hands.

* Liked this post Hated this post, post a short comment to help others. Good Luck out there.



    • Hack-er?
    • Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:03 am
    • Permalink

    First off, I think it’s rather funny that you put yourself so far above the realm of “hack-dom” that you must have thought you were above spell check and basic grammar skills as well… (i.e. there’s an essential difference between “there” and “their”) Next time, if you’re going to act like a “non-hack” it’d be wise to “cover YOUR tracks.” And secondly, the only way any of us get better is to challenge ourselves and reach for something that was previously out of our grasp. Just because someone might take on a job that challenges them does not instantly make them a “hack.” Personally, I consider myself one who you might call a “hack” simply because I’m always taking on new challenges and am willing to honest about what I DON’T know. I resent the lack of compassion and overall tone of arrogance in this post…

  1. Thanks for your comments and I do always appreciate replies to my posting.
    On your first point, I will give you that I am not the best at English grammar or French with is my native education.
    I guess that is why I work in the visual arts where my writing skills not needed or paid for. I will give you that point.

    However, you miss my point. I am not discouraging people from challenging themselves. I always challenge myself with projects that are out of my comfort zone.
    My fustration is with the people that challenge themselves and don’t do the “homework”,then I and many other editor, compositors, sound designers etc. have to pick up the pieces of the less than quality work. Also, I was going for funny and not arrogant.

    PS. If you have any suggestions of any program other than MS word to “grammar check” that would be appreciated.

    • Gerry Loew
    • Posted April 5, 2009 at 6:34 am
    • Permalink

    I have a feeling you’re trying to be humorous like the guy that does the “You Stink at Photoshop” series on You Tube. He’s funny, you’re not.

    The “tips” you are giving sound really strange and make me think you don’t really have a clue yourself. Most editors know what they can and can’t do, and will tailor their work accordingly. If they’re doing a wedding vid and their Motion skills are sufficient for that, they’ll do it – but won’t shoot a commercial and then claim they can do some complex, layered animations they can’t. You also act like knowing keyboard shortcuts is some special thing that’s going to make you “look” professional.

    I don’t know about you, dude.

  2. Not trying to be too be Russell Peters funny but I wrote this after 3 frustrating “save jobs”, where the previous editor clearly didn’t deliver and I had to organize and fix an amateurish mess.
    So, I was trying to make light of my obvious frustrating situation.

    Most editors I know, also know there skill level and are mature in there job expectations.

    I also would not want people to think that knowing keyboard shortcuts is the mark of a good editor, it is more of a suggestion to junior editors to increase productivity. (read this article )

    Editing/MovieMaking is a lifelong learning process and I would have to say that knowing software package inside out is NOT editing, it is just a tool. I started on a Steinbeck and today’s digital editing sometimes makes you cut too fast. (anyways that’s another rant)

    Thanks for the comment and I will definitely check out the YouTube Photoshop series sounds pretty funny, maybe I can brush up on my writing humor.

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