The Myths of Setting Goals in Post Production

If you work in post production, you’ve probably described yourself a number of ways. Curious. Goal-oriented. Driven. Ambitious. And as 2018 approaches, the urge to revisit your goals as a professional naturally rises. There’s not much to back up the usefulness of the idea of New Years resolutions, but we do them anyway. Humans love patterns and milestones because we’re weird and adorable, and my experience in post has led me to believe that my peers are even more gung-ho about that stuff. We make lists and charts and binders and we live for it.

For your career potential and your generally happiness as a person (or at least the parts linked to work), it’s important to continually check in with yourself. Are you growing in the ways you want? Are you heading in the right direction? Are you generally satisfied with your work life? If not, how can you reposition yourself in the coming year to be more closely aligned with what you really want? I think most serious and successful people in our industry have this sentiment ingrained in their head sooner or later: stasis is generally not good because too much is changing. The feeling is that if you aren’t learning, you’re being left behind in some way.

However, lately I’ve stumbled upon a lot of post production professionals who seem to be taking this much more deeply to heart than is useful. Hardly anything in our work life (or our personal life) is so black and white as an “if, then” statement: “if you don’t take that indie project, then you don’t care” — “if you aren’t learning, then you’re not trying” — “if you’re feeling burned out, then you don’t want it badly enough.”

I’ve always been goal-oriented. I love tangible achievement. I love working toward something. I REALLY love making a list and checking things off, especially if they relate to the big picture of life. But like, whoa: when you’re so narrowly focused on Achievement(TM), you could missing valuable experiences or making yourself unnecessarily unhappy. Goals are supposed to guide you toward fulfillment, but not at the expense of your day-to-day happiness and overall wellness. I see high-achieving, goal-oriented young professionals in our industry beginning to burn out far too early

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Living The American Dream: Editing Sharknado 5

Ana Florit is your typical Los Angeles-based film editor: among other things, she grew up in the French Alps, moved to Paris, directed a one-hour movie, moved to LA, and has worked on five Sharknado movies, including the most recent, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.

You know, your usual run-the-the-mill American Dream story.

In Ana’s case, the journey also included a stint at Video Symphony leading to editing all kinds of projects, including Mischief Night which earned her a Saturn Award nomination. For her, working in movies was “the perfect balance of creativity and technical work,” which very much applies to her work on the Sharknado films for Hollywood independent film studio, The Asylum. Serving as lead editor on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th films, and working in some capacity on the others, Ana also had a huge hand in moving post fully from Apple Final Cut Pro 7 to Adobe Premiere Pro.

Read my interview with Ana >>

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What’s the Deal with that Content-Aware Fill for Video Thing Adobe Showed Us?

Last month at Adobe MAX in Las Vegas, we saw Project Cloak for the first time. The research project and experiment is still in development, and it may or may not ever be in a Creative Cloud product, but it sure was captivating: draw a box, do some Adobe Sensei magic, and poof: that ugly lamp post is just gone. Logo on a t-shirt? GONE! Weirdo in the backgrond of your shot? Yep: EXTREMELY GONE.

If you’ve ever spent hours of your day rotoscoping something to remove it from a shot, you might share the sentiment: I need this. Are we playing God, or are we taking back precious hours of our time? Why not both!

To find out more about the research, technology, and thinking behind it, I talked to Research Engineer Geoffrey Oxholm.

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Adobe MAX Recap

I went to Adobe MAX in Las Vegas this October, and here’s some of my coverage!

Yes, Adobe CC Video Apps Updated at MAX
Day 1 at Adobe MAX: Things People Said
Sneaking on the Future of Creative Technology at Adobe MAX
What’s the Deal with that Content-Aware Fill for Video Thing Adobe Showed Us?

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Power Dynamics Below the Line in Hollywood (and everywhere else)

If you’re anywhere near Hollywood this week, you’ve got a hot take on Harvey Weinstein. I’ve only been here a few years, exclusively “below the line”, and I heard all the rumors too. I dreaded ever having even secondhand contact with the man and his company: a powerful star maker with the ability to squash any career he chose, a blatant chauvinist, and an indecent human being whose participation in the entertainment industry seemed immoveable.

So many of us, especially women, are or have been explicitly sexually abused, assaulted or harassed. Some of us have been raped – one in five women will be raped in their lifetimes. A lot of us have also never spoken of sexual violence. Some of us, myself included, have never publicly acknowledged being emotionally abused, gaslit and manipulated for years.

If you ask yourself why we don’t speak up immediately, look at the women who have come forward to talk about Weinstein, Bill Cosby, or — god help us — our president. Come forward when it happens and you’re lying and must show proof. Wait until you have strength in numbers to report and you’re a bandwagon attention seeker. Keep quiet forever and well I guess it wasn’t really what you said it was, drama queen. And often a lot of these accusations go nowhere. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits are waiting in a backlog right now.

And the men still win awards, accept paychecks, get elected to office. They continue to hold their power regardless of what they’ve done. 

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A Week of Women to Celebrate the Creative Emmys

Lately I’ve been especially tired of seeing the careers and lives of my female peers in post production minimized by assumptions and ignorance. A lot of women in the community face a lot of additional barriers to promotion and growth because people think they’re less experienced, doing lower quality work, or just don’t have the ambition. These assumptions are incredibly harmful and create points in mid-career where women end up exiting.

Some women are assumed to be younger and less experienced. Other women who are younger are assumed to be inexperienced. To protest this attitude, I shared the career of one woman each day as a count down to the 2017 Primetime Creative Arts Emmys.

But you know what? Women don’t have to tell you exactly what they’re doing or where they’ve been every day to gain respect and validity. Just like men, for all the women working in the public eye today I’ve shared with you all week, there are so many others who quietly do the work and move on. Many of the women I celebrated this week have entirely invisible, thankless jobs in the industry, and yet their work is minimized and their selves are infantilized in a way that men are not. Because the default setting for women is always less than, and the burden of proof is somehow put on them to prove their value.

Instead of assuming women are new baby birds who need your guidance in the world, how about you ask yourself: what can I learn from them?

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An Oral History of My Illegal Internships

Whether by necessity or the evolution of a specific kind of culture, internships have emerged as a dominant “foot-in-the-door” for the post production industry. Among those internships, the unpaid variety tend to dominate in a way that is not seen in many other fields such as business and medicine. Sure, unpaid internships aren’t exclusive to post production; however, for some reason we’ve collectively decided that the single biggest way to prove one’s merit is by working in some capacity for free.

It’s almost as if everyone believes that because they suffered the difficulty of doing often humiliating or degrading work for free, everyone else should too.

Read more on Creative COW >>

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Growing Up on YouTube: Video Production, The Next Generation

Sabrina Cruz’s first video on YouTube was a review of a cookie. It was eleven minutes long. To be fair, she was twelve years old.

Since then, things have only improved. Sabrina is now one of the most visible YouTubers in the online creator space with over 160,000 subscribers and 10 million views on her channel NerdyAndQuirky which offers short snippets of insight on pop culture, history, and social justice. Getting into YouTube because she wanted to make content she wanted to see, she’s found joy in remixing educational content with comedy.

Read my interview with Sabrina at Creative COW >> 

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Blue Collar Post Collective London Meet-Up

Blue Collar Post Collective is having a meet-up in London! You’re invited to the first ever UK-hosted BCPC event at The Glasshouse Stores in Soho on August 31 at 6PM! With outgoing president Janis currently living in London and new president Kylee visiting from LA, we felt this would be a great time to put together one of our classic BCPC meet-ups abroad!

Drop by the pub and join a casual, non-intimidating post production meet-up culture where everyone is welcome and nobody sits alone. Come have a chat with like-minded individuals who share the same challenges with demands on life and work at BCPC’s first ever international event!

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A Letter to Incoming Female Freshmen in Media Programs

A lot of so-called “open letters” on the internet address the outgoing graduates of programs. And while they should bask in the glow of congratulations and good luck because they worked hard, they earned it, and they have some serious challenges on the horizon, this letter isn’t for them.

It’s for you: the young woman who is leaving high school behind and beginning your first year of college in the next few weeks. You have so much ahead of you.

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