- Advice for novice filmmakers entering the industry
- Finding, enhancing, and tweaking your story
- Experimenting in filmmaking
- Solving problems and troubleshooting your film
- Changing your approach or finding new angles
- Communicating and collaborating on set and in the edit room—and with clients
- Working on different genres of film
- Teaching and mentoring new filmmakers
Skill Level Intermediate
- I think anybody who's new to this and has a desire to go into filmmaking should experience the entire process in one way or another, so they understand all the facets. I think it's important, if you're a screenwriter, to be on set. To see the difficulties that everybody faces, and understand, then, in the edit room. Because I think a greater understanding of all the different roles enables you to do a better job, so that would be my advice, is definitely look at all the stages in the process, and I think then you'll be better at the one you focus on.
- The most important thing is to try something that you are totally uncomfortable doing. To push yourself beyond what you just know is the kind of film you want to make. And to choose at least two or three things that really make you uncomfortable doing. So if you never thought about integrating some immersive or gaming, and so figure out how to do that! If the idea of working with actors terrifies you, then force yourself to do it.
So if you force yourself to go into a different genre than you are comfortable in, then what you're really teaching yourself is flexibility, which I think is one of the key selling points, no matter what market you're in, in the 21st century, whether you are in the US or outside of the US, whether you're in a big city or a small town. You've got to be flexible, because everything is changing way too fast to keep up, so you have to teach yourself how to change.
- In terms of what is better for somebody, I think if you're starting out it's definitely better to be a generalist, because there will be more opportunities for you. If somebody is hiring people and you can say "I can do all of these things, I'm a one man band," that's a lot more attractive to an employer, rather than saying "I'm just an editor, you're going to need to hire somebody else to do this, this, and this." - There are still some editors today, who are like "Well, I will never call a correct, "because I'm not good at it, "I'll have other people do that," and on the high-end films, yeah, you can do that, but on the medium and lower budget films, if you take that attitude, then your title actually moves from being editor to being ex-editor.
Because you need to at least be comfortable enough to try out things for the director or producer sitting next to you, going, "You know, I don't really, "I don't get the emotion you're going for here." And you try a little, call a correction, you throw a look on it, and now you can sell something, better to them, what your vision is. So you need to embrace all of that, to the degree that it doesn't take you away from the things that you're really good at, and what you could sell yourself as.
- The idea of generalizing, especially given where the nature of television is right now and how kind of stratified it is, and how many options there are, and how shows are doing shorter seasons, so it does allow everyone to work on various projects. What I find exciting is before, if you were a network editor, you'd probably be doing that for 10 months a year, take a hiatus, maybe cut a small, short film on the side, and that's it.
But, now, shows are cutting, doing 10-15 episode seasons, so that opens me up to do an Amazon series in the off season, or something like that. So, the idea between generalizing and specializing seems a little more blurred in this current industry. - Depending on what your market is, you may need to be shooting, editing, producing, and directing. That may be necessary and if you look around, and that's what your market says you need, then that's what you learn.
If you are in a small city, or a small town, you probably don't need to specialize in high-end feature films. On the other hand, probably news gathering, documentary style, gaming, some level of interactivity, commercials, branded content, even wedding and event videography, I think become really important.
So you should spend some time in those other genres. - Up to a certain budget threshold, to be a generalist is actually the best thing to do. Once you get beyond that point, and I'm not entirely sure what that budget threshold is, it's kind of a grey area, but maybe once you start moving into films and things like that, people become a lot more focused on roles, and they like to say "This is Paul, he just does editing." And certainly since moving to America, where filmmaking is very heavily unionized, it's even more to the point where for you to be saying "I do this and this," the perception is that you're taking somebody's job away by doing two things at once.
- I don't know, I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way, there's just the way that's good for you. I know for me, I try to master as many things as I can possibly do. I love to work in aftereffects, I love to do cell animation, I love to do stop motion, I love music, I love writing and I love editing and I love going out and directing, and I love being able to do all of those things. I have a production friend and he always calls me the Swiss Army Knife of production, because he's like, "There's nothing you can't do!" I'll show up and hold boom, I love recording sound, it's great.
I love all of it. - I'm one of those people who actually gets very easily stale and bored if all I'm doing is one thing the whole time, so if I was just editing one thing all the time I'd find that really boring, I'd need to mix that up with some motion graphics or some directing or something like that. - And it keeps you occupied, there are so many things you can do. If I'm not writing, one day, I don't get sad about it because I just turn and make an animation instead. And if animation's not speaking to me that day, I turn and I look at my backlog of footage, and sometimes I re-cut my old movies.
Sometimes I'll look at stuff and go "What would this be like if I did this?" But I'm able to do that stuff because I branch out and I try to take in all that information. - I think some people get into this industry knowing full well they want to be editing features in five years, and so I'd say to those people, "Yes, really stick to that network, "growing that network of people in that industry." I kind of ended up taking a more generalized route, I started as a PA in a feature, moved to reality to get my union days, circled back to features, and now I'm in scripted.
So I've done a little bit of everything, I've really taken the skills I've picked up in each of those facets, and I find that they're incredibly invaluable to where I'm at now.