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Category: Cheers (page 1 of 3)

Recent Life and Career Changes

Eight months ago my personal life got flipped upside down. Four months ago my professional career took a drastic turn. And a few weeks from now every waking second of my existence will forever be altered.

You can probably guess one of the changes already — my wife and I are pregnant. Our son will be here before we know it. Man, I’m nervous and excited and every other emotion in between.

crib in nursery

The other twist of fate life threw at me was a career change. I traded in the edit bay for another role. In February I started transitioning off of editing projects and over to the producing / project management side of things. I’m with the same company and working on the same product but in a completely different role. As of mid-March I moved over to this full-time and started growing a team under me.

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How Video Editors Stay Productive

Image of Calendar with text saying How Video Editors Stay Productive

Thursday 6:24PM.

There are 4 things I’ve blown off doing this afternoon/evening that were marked on my calendar. That’s a problem. A calendar should be a sacred thing. Something shouldn’t go on your calendar if it can move. Once you put it on your calendar you execute whatever it is no matter what.

It stems from me not doing my weekly review this past Sunday or the Sunday before then for that matter.

The first thing on my calendar for this afternoon was to do my weekly review, even though it’s not Sunday. I know that the weekly review is my way of getting organized mentally and digitally for the upcoming week. Without it…not much gets done. I’m lost. There are too many uncompleted tasks sitting in the tool I use to organize everything. My calendar is as strong as a wet paper towel.

Okay, so what’s a weekly review? Without going too far into the weeds, I roughly follow the “Getting Things Done” method of productivity/organization. And the tool I use to organize it all is called OmniFocus. I have both the desktop and mobile version because I’m a psycho.

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Fighting Decision Fatigue as a Video Editor

Fighting Decision Fatigue as a Video Editor

Wayyy back when I wrote a post called something like, “Done is Better than Perfect”. The TL;DR of it was that most of the time getting a video project out the door and delivered is better than having a perfect video project. Getting your video over to your client, director, producer, or audience is more important than having the video be 100% flawless.

The perfect video project simply doesn’t exist (unless you count Interstellar which by all accounts is the greatest movie ever made 😉). There will always be adjustments you could make. There could always be shots that need more color correction. More audio that needs sweetening. Different pacing, shot selection, etc. The thing about videos is that we’re making a 1,000-piece puzzle with 10,000 pieces while not being able to see the box to see what we’re supposed to be creating.

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The only thing you need to succeed in 2019

(Sorry for the clickbait-y title… I’m rusty at writing good, catchy titles)

It’s early in 2019. The confetti is still falling. Most of us are back to the office. Ready or not it’s time to begin another year in our careers. Another year of our lives.

Looking back at 2018 maybe there was something you didn’t do. Something you didn’t learn. Or something you didn’t accomplish. A project, a habit, a new NLE to master, a documentary to edit. So we look to 2019 as our saving grace. We have a whole fresh calendar for us to get X done. And that fills us with a glimmer of hope. That we can make that change this year. Heck, we have 12 whole months.

As the confetti is swept up and the hangovers from NYE are cured, we head back to the edit bay or cubical or home office. We got this in 2019. Then…we check our email.

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Why are you in post production?

Am a video editor because…

I’ve been seeing this question lately on Twitter: Why are you in post production?

My answer is a bit different than most. It’s not because I have a passion for telling stories. It’s because… well… I explain in the video.

(I know I need to clean up my beard, thank you)

What do you think? I’m in post production because I’m lazy. Because my sister told me I should. And ten years later here I am. Happy, thriving and surviving.

Why are you in post production? Leave your comments below.

Cheers,
Josh

PS: Hey, if you want to stay in touch and get notified about new posts, videos, newsletters and all those good things go to this link and sign up. It takes less than a minute. No spam or any of that stuff. Just the goodies from me.

Revealing My Freelance Rate

Let’s cut right to the chase: My hourly rate is $65. $65 an hour buys you whatever professional services I can provide — video editing, producing, project managing, coaching, QCing, media managing, voice-over artisting, sitting in meetings, etc.

If that’s all you wanted to know you can stop reading. But if you want to know why, the history behind it and why that number fluctuates I’ll try my best to explain it below.

When I first started freelancing I was charging $20/hour. That was in 2009 and it felt like SO MUCH MONEY. It kinda is when you’re 22 years old post-grad paying $550/month in rent for some sh**** room in a duplex with your college buddies.

How did I land on that number? I have no idea. $25 felt like too much and my first client said yes to $20/hour.

Over the years as the confidence in my skills grew so did that number. $20 became $25. $25 became $30. Then it stayed there for awhile. Freelance at that point was only part time and was extra money on top of my salary (even though that salary wasn’t much). I felt good about what I was charging and so did my clients because they were getting a bargain and still are.

Once I took the leap into freelancing I had to bring that number up. So I bumped it to a range of $35-$55/hour. I’d start by asking for $55/hour but knew I could be negotiated down to $35 or $40 for most projects. If they said yes to $55/hour then sweet! Otherwise I was still happy with the haul I was taking home.

Then once I had been in the #freelancelife for a few months I realized I needed to raise that number. The extra taxes you pay as a freelancer are killer. There is no way I could have charged that much and maintained my lifestyle. Also there is absolutely no way I could have done full-time freelancing if I wasn’t married. Seriously all you single people freelancing paying for your own health care are so courageous. Hats off to you because I do not have the balls to do that.

BTW here’s a conversation Nick and I had on getting charging for jobs and getting paid

Where was I… Oh yeah. Raising my rates again.

I realized I needed to raise my rate so I did. $65/hour. And at that point my range jumped to $45-$65. However I’d be hard-pressed to say yes to anything below $55. I made up my mind and had to stick to that range. Even if you need the money you can still say no and ultimately make more. More times than not my freelance client was willing to come up to at least $50. That $50 fit in my range so I’d take those jobs.

Plot twist!

Several months ago I ended up taking a full-time job. But I had all this freelance work still coming in. In order to justify taking more work and jamming it into an already packed schedule (thanks to this site, Command+Edit, trying to have a somewhat normal social life, etc.) I had to raise my rates again. Now my rate is a firm $65/hour, no matter what. I will not take any less unless there’s a crazy reason like it’s for a non-profit and I’m 110% behind their cause and feel the urge to help. Otherwise…$65/hour. For everything.

If I can get more, of course I’m going to try. But 99% of the time all I’m looking for is $65/hour. That’s the sweet spot. That’ll get me to forsake happy hours and Netflix and podcasting so I can bring in a little extra coin.

My freelancing situation is more than likely different from yours. My rate works for me and it took a very long time to figure out and become comfortable talking about. In all honestly I probably should and could charge more. I know in the next year or so I’ll raise my rates again because my time will become more valuable. And in a year or so I’ll raise it again. Put this cycle on repeat until I retire.

Talking about your rate is something we editors do not do enough. That’s why I was only charging $20 an hour in the beginning. I didn’t know what I could charge. I had no one to talk to about this. My advice is charge as much as you comfortably can. Negotiating what we get paid is the most difficult part of our job but literally it is the #1 thing that matters because it is our job.

If you want to share your rate and start more conversation around rates please do so in the comments below.

If you found this article helpful could you do me a favor and share it with an editor or freelancer who could use it? Thanks.

Cheers,
Josh

PS: If you’re new around here and want to be notified whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 👊🏼

 

The most difficult part about mastering a skill

Time for a little free writing session…

There are an infinite amount of projects one can work on. New project after new project pop into our heads and we want to pursue each one. So we start down a path hoping to make this one great thing. But then a new idea pops in our heads for something completely different. Ahead, the path we’re currently on seems shrouded in mystery and overgrown with bushes and thrones. So we backtrack and start down a new path.

Path through the woods

Photo by Zack Silver courtesy of Unsplash

We get far enough down this new path when the same thing happens. Maybe we go a little further this time before starting something new. Maybe we stop at the first bend in the road or rain cloud in the sky. Time for a new path.

The hardest thing about accomplishing a project or completing a goal or mastering a skill is staying on that same path regardless of obstacles.

A path I recently vacated was learning Vietnamese. I reached a point in my Mango lessons where it was too difficult to retain the information in the time I was allowing myself to focus on the mission. My willpower was gone and I have zero guidance. I quit. I gave up. It got too hard. The thrones were too much to take. Read more

Some brief thoughts on creating creative work

There several dozen half-written and probably twice as many fully-written but never published blog posts scattered across my computer, laptop, Google Drive and various Moleskins. They contain thoughts I’ve had on many post production-related topics that I’ve worked countless hours on. And they’re just sitting there in digital purgatory.

“It’s not good enough.”

“Someone could say that you don’t mention ______ method/shortcut/etc.”

“You aren’t really an expert. Who are you to give advice?”

I could think of endless reasons not to ship each one of them.

Today I was watching some random YouTube video from this guy another YouTube guy I routinely watch recommended. His production quality was low. He knew it. But he said something that struck a nerve with me.

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I Got A New Job!

It’s been awhile since I’ve truly written something for EVF. Actually it’s been awhile since I’ve written much of anything. My writing muscle was burnt out after letting my former daily blog expire and disappear into a digital black hole back in August. Two years of writing and publishing everyday…

Fast forward a quarter of a year later and I’m starting to get the itch again. But where do I write? I’ve always felt that with what I publish on EVF I need to be very calculated and stick to the facts and provide “expert-level” insights at all times. Well, even though I believe myself to be a more-than-successful editor and video professional, I can’t always provide that A+, top-of-the-line content with the tiny amount of time I can commit to EVF.

With that being said, I’m just going to let the words keep on flowing and write a bit about editing and life.

BTW I’m free writing right now. It can be a lot of fun and almost meditative at times. You should try it out if you ever get in a creative funk. Please excuse any typos or poor grammar because I’m just churning out the words.

Recently I took a new full-time position. I haven’t really broadcasted this anywhere. Nick and I recorded a podcast episode the other day where I talked about it some. It hasn’t published yet but should be episode 82. I’m absolutely positive I won’t remember to come back to this post and link it. 🙂

My new position is part editor (let’s call this ~70% of my responsibilities), producer (~20%) and project manager (~10%). Full-time freelancing is officially done. For now. I loved my time freelancing. Loved it. Even the stressful times when I couldn’t guarantee more than a few hundred dollars of work on a given week. I can absolutely see myself going back to that lifestyle too.

This position though was too good to pass up. I enjoy the content, my coworkers and my day-to-day work. Plus the paid time off. Uhhh I’ve missed the paid time off so much. I’m only 8 years into this career. It feels like though that I could always go back to freelancing. And vice versa. Yes, it sucks losing out on some gigs. Last week I had to turn down two projects. My network will take some sort of hit. As a professional though I think we should always be working on and building our networks. I recorded this fantastic Command+Edit episode with my friend and fellow editor Rhonda Thain if you want to hear me talk more about it.

I still have a couple small projects I’m working on on the side. And a couple pet projects I want to take on. The experience of running my own company, getting an LLC, doing my bookkeeping each week, having a real accountant, cold emailing, warm calling, invoicing and just overall doing many, many uncomfortable things have made me a better editor, professional and person.

Remember, I’m still free writing here so I know I’m about to lurch into a new topic like an unexpected jumpcut.

The software I’m using now is relatively the same. I’m in Premiere probably 60% of the time. Media Composer 30% of the time. And After Effects and Photoshop round out the rest. I’m rocking Premiere 2017 on most projects with the hopes that no one accidently updates to 2018 forcing me to update as well. And MC is on version 8.5.2. It’s a little behind and I miss some of the cool new features I’ve been seeing but it definitely still gets the job done.

Okay last topic before cutting myself off.

Next month I’m headed out to Los Angeles for the first time! Crazy, right?! How have I never been? I’m pumped. I know I mentioned it in a somewhat recent Video Editor’s Digest but again for anyone out there I’m thinking of doing a small happy hour. Seriously small. Like 4-6 of us max. If you want to join shoot me a message.

Thank you for indulging me and letting me get some stuff off my chest. If like this kind of post — more chatty, less instructional — let me know. Or let me know if you hate it and I should stick to basic little video tutorials like this one which somehow has 100,000+ views. Wut?

That’s it from me. Til next time…

– Josh

Stepping Away from Edit Video Faster

As I write this it’s 4:39am. I’ve been up since 4:00am fighting heartburn. Is it from dinner? Is it from last night’s whiskey? Is it because I’m turning 30 tomorrow and this is what getting older feels like?

I’ve been attempting to write this post for months but haven’t been able to find the words. I can’t think of a better time than the present to try though.

Over the past two and two thirds years I’ve spent several thousand hours of my life dedicated to Edit Video Faster. Check out this massive archive page I recently build as proof. This site or business, whatever you’d call it, is a very large part of me and who I am. I love it dearly and want to see it grow into something much greater than what it is now. However I’ve reached a point in my life and in my career that the hours I spend on EVF and the many more hours I spend stressing about the never-ending to-do list I’ve created for myself around EVF are not in alignment with where I’m trying to take said life and career.

All the stress around what I want to build and actually building it are taking a toll on me. I feel it every morning when I write out my most important tasks of the day. I feel it all day as I work on and for my freelance business. I feel it every evening when I’m trying to spend time with my wife and dog. I feel it every night lying in bed realizing I didn’t get this or that project moved forward at all today. And it hurts. It hurts so bad and it’s my fault.

Regardless of blame or why, I’m incredibly sorry. I feel that I need to step away, temporarily but indefinitely, from Edit Video Faster to regain the perspective and motivation I need to continue to build EVF into the honest, thorough resource for video editors that I want it to be and that you deserve.

What does that mean? Well, not a whole lot since I can’t seem to finish any project for EVF anyway!! (Just kidding, but a little self-deprecating humor felt needed)

But for real, what does that mean?

Some, but a lot less content. One of my priorities for this break is to take the pressure to create wayyyyyy down. No deadlines. No broken promises. I want to create how I used to create for EVF…organically and about whatever was inspiring me at that time instead of creating based on some arbitrary content schedule I set up for myself months prior. That’s the system I’m currently working under that is not working.

My plan is still to continue to write blog posts, send out newsletters and create video tutorials but when the mood strikes. I don’t want to publish a newsletter because I publish a newsletter every week. I want to publish a newsletter because there’s news that you should know about!

The video editing podcast I co-host, the Command+Edit Podcast, will not be affected. My daily blog, Short On Beer, will not be affected. EVF’s coaching services will still remain running but on a more limited schedule.

There’s a 100-mile long backlog of projects, tasks and to-dos I need to carefully inventory. Taking this time off, whether it’s for a few weeks or a few months, will hopefully allow me the time and perspective to reorganize them in a way that will be the most meaningful for you and in a way that’ll allow me to actually complete them.

At the end of the day (btw, I hate the phrase) I want to be able to create more and better stuff for you, focused around your growth as an editor. The current state of how I’m doing this is not working. If you’re ever in need, have questions or just need someone to talk post (or baseball) with I’ll still and will always be here for you. Just shoot me a message here.

Cheers,
Josh

PS: I’ll still be active on Twitter and Snapchat. Please say hi to me there if you haven’t before!