27 Jan outrage or action?
today’s post is a call to action. not only am I going to be challenging each and everyone of you to make a change – but I’m going to be embarking on that change as well. instead of merely being “outraged” by an injustice or offense – I want us all to try and challenge that energy into positive action.
I’m going to start with an example from my life. about six months ago, I asked to get an intern at my current gig. I wanted an intern for a few reasons 1.) to grow my fiefdom 2.) we had a bunch of work to do 3.) I had a great experience as an intern, and want to provide that for someone else.
okay, actually the real reason was #3. sure we had a fair amount of work – but an intern isn’t supposed to be an extra employee, an intern is supposed to be a student who is learning from the experience of being in a “real” workplace.
why did I want to “give back”? well when I was studying cinema at SFSU I had an internship for a small documentary film production company called Ravin’ Films. I’d never had a job in the industry and I was as green as they came… but I had a willingness to learn, an ability to follow simple instructions, and the responsibility to show up on time twice a week. over the next few years I got my first experience using Final Cut Pro (the editing software that I made my living using for 8+ years) as well as mentorship, guidance, and friendship from an experience editor and filmmaker – one Bob Sarles.
but the experience didn’t end when I graduated. once I was in Los Angeles, Bob made some calls on my behalf. multiple industry professionals met with me and I got some of my first assistant editing jobs based pretty much solely on the fact that I had been his intern. afterall, I had NO other real credits.
flash-forward to now, where I’m editing a studio movie in a long running franchise. our office has extra desks. we have snacks. everyone is cool and nerdy and loves what they do. it would be hard to find a BETTER place for an aspiring editor to land.
so what’s the problem?
the problem is – I can’t get an intern. there are a number of factors in play. first there are the multiple lawsuits that were the result of employers (and interns) taking advantage of loose oversight. internships are supposed to be for college students who are learning, not for anyone trying to “break in” to the industry. and they aren’t supposed to be “production assistant” replacements. that is, you can’t hire an intern to do the work you should hire a PA to-do. the other problem is budget. even at minimum wage for 10/hrs a week, the production “can’t” spare the money.
my first reaction was to take this to twitter and proclaim how the universe was against me! I wanted to join the waves of people expressing their outrage and I wanted people to feel outrage with me.
“how dare these people stand in the way of what I was trying to do!? are we so ruled by the fear of lawsuits that an editor can no longer mentor and help those who aspire to do the same?”
and I did tweet about my frustration… and then I tried to setup an official internship program at the company. well, that didn’t work either. so I was faced with an option – did I engage in “outrage” or “action”?
I’ve decide on action. I can’t have an intern. okay. but that doesn’t mean I can’t mentor young editors.
so here’s what I’m going to do, if you are an aspiring editor – I will watch your work and give you feedback. I will answer your questions about the industry. I will give you whatever guidance I can.
if you want me to watch you work, here’s what I ask:
• email me a weblink with the subject “watch my edit” (nerfherder[at]lukeasa[dot]com)
• just one project, no more than 15 minutes long
• make sure there is a “timecode window burn” (if you don’t know what this is, or how to do it – I suggest looking on creativecow.com or YouTube)
if you’ve got industry questions:
• email them to me with the subject “film industry question” (nerfherder[at]lukeasa[dot]com)
I’ll do my best to answer in a timely fashion… but if you haven’t heard from me in 3 weeks, please feel free to nudge me.
now for the REST of you who aren’t aspiring editors, here’s my challenge to you:
the next time you are thinking about expressing your outrage, retweeting a link, or complaining – think about how you can take positive action.
for example. it’s Oscar season now, and there have been a flood of people expressing outrage over this being the “whitest and malest oscars ever.” and while that is a very real issue, perhaps instead of complaining about how they didn’t nominate enough people of X-variety – send out a link to a short film made by a person of X-variety. or write that filmmaker an encouraging email, or share the link to the filmmaker’s kickstarter. the list goes on…
instead of adding fuel to the fire of outrage, devote your energy to the things you love and support.
I believe we can all do better and that we can affect positive change through our actions.
will you join me?