Networking is literally the most important thing you can do for your career as a video editor.
Let me say that one more time for those in the back.
📣 NETWORKING IS LITERALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CAREER AS A VIDEO EDITOR. 📣
We all have different career paths. Two editors can be working at the same post house at the same seniority level making the same amount and they both got there in dramatically different ways.
One editor got their job through Indeed and 1,000 online applications. The other editor got their job over a beer with someone from their network. I know plenty of editors who are the former. They apply to everything on Glassdoor and eventually land a gig. Me, I’m the other editor.
For me, every single job I’ve ever had or gig I’ve landed is because of networking. It was because I knew someone else who was in need of my skills. It was because those people knew I had those skills and was looking for work. It was because I wasn’t annoying about it (at least in my opinion I wasn’t). And it was because I never stopped networking.
If you take anything away from this post I hope it’s the following:
The most important thing you can do for your career is to network
You have to tell people about your skills, what you can do, and what you want to do
The people you tell about your skills must know you’re looking for work or are interested in doing work in the future
Don’t be annoying to these people you’re networking with
Never stop networking, even when you have more than enough work
The rest of this post will focus on the why’s and how’s behind these networking fundamentals for video editors.
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.
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.
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.
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 👊🏼
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.
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
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.
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?
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!
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.
PS: I’ll still be active on Twitter and Snapchat. Please say hi to me there if you haven’t before!
I had to fire up my 11-year-old PowerBook G4 laptop in order to find this picture. Can’t believe that thing still works.
I had just turned 18. I was covered in a cold sweat from the February gymnasium air. I had my red, white and blue wrestling singlet on. My black Nike mesh shorts. My Asics black and white wrestling shoes tied way too tight like always. My headgear laid on the floor next to me as my head laid even lower.
A few minutes before I had lost my second match in the Virginia AA Wrestling Regionals. That meant I was out of the tournament and my four years of varsity wrestling was over. My 119lb body, which was north of 140lbs back in November, that could run 7 miles without being winded suddenly felt worn out.
As I sat on that floor so many emotions and memories ran through me. Anyone who has every knowingly competed in a sport for their final time can relate. When you are that deep into something you feel complete.
At that moment as I sat on that hard gym floor, my back against the cinder brick wall, I told myself I’d never do something like that to myself again. It felt like I was the most tired 18-year-old on the planet.
Sitting there felt like an eternity when it was probably less than a minute before my dad walked over. He nudged me with his foot. I looked up. “Want some pizza?” he asked.
I bit into my second slice of lukewarm Papa Johns off of the white paper plate we got at the concession stand in the hallway of a high school in Orange, VA. Never again I told myself.
Fast-forward, jump cut, wipe or cross-dissolve your way 12 years into the future. At almost 30 I consider myself successful. I’m college educated. I run a steady self-employed company. I write on multiple websites, podcast, have a fledgling YouTube channel, have the best wife and dog in the world, travel the world on occasion, get to see friends and family whenever I want, have no health concerns and overall a pretty happy guy.
Why does it feel like there’s constantly something missing?
I could be wrong. I could be 100% wrong about this whole thing. But I think I know what’s missing and it’s on that gym floor in the middle of Nowhere, Virginia lying next to my wrestling headgear.
It’s not the wrestling mat. It’s not sprawls or takedown drills or pushups (even though I still do at least 50 a day). It’s that all-in dedication to doing straight up hard work.
No one, at least no one I can imagine, vomits in the hallway trashcan after writing a blog post or recording a podcast. This stuff is still straight up hard work but of another kind.
Anyone can find 15 a day to write a blog post and publish it everyday for a year and a half like I have on my other site. That’s difficult and takes a hell of a lot of dedication. But it’s not like the straight up hard work that went into wrestling.
Anyone can find an hour or two a week to write a newsletter and cut a quick tutorial. It’s scary to put yourself out there to the world like that. But it’s not like the straight up hard work that went into wrestling.
What’s like wrestling is completing this massive list of unfinished projects or projects I haven’t even begun that I stare at everyday.
I haven’t been doing straight up hard work for you and I’m sorry. I can blame those early mornings before school sitting in the sauna at the community center a county over in order to cut weight. I can blame those offseason bleacher runs. I can blame any number of things or memories or the residual pain left in my right shoulder from this one match that took everything out of me but I won 2-1 in overtime, securing a tournament win for my team.
I haven’t been doing straight up hard work for you and I’m sorry.
I have no action plan. I have no idea where to begin. Outside of completing the above massive list of projects I don’t know what straight up hard work for Edit Video Faster even looks like. But I know it’s something that I have to do in order to feel whole, to feel complete again.
I’d love for you to stick around for this journey. If you’re new around here I recommend starting here.
If you have any thoughts to share or old wrestling stories leave them in the comments below or send me a private message here.
Hey there! In this vlog I talk about making the jump to becoming a freelance video editor. I talk about what’s going through my mind, how scary it is to become a freelancer and why I’m making this leap.
If you’re an editor, freelancer or not, I’d love to get your thoughts on this topic!
If you want to stay in touch and follow my progress make sure you’ve entered your email address here.
And if you ever have a question or just want to talk editing shoot me an email — firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been one of those weeks for me when it feels like the deck is stacked against you. Literally every move you make is countered with one that puts you an extra step backwards. Phew. Since this is the case I’d like to just write about what’s on my mind instead of getting into nitty gritty software details. This gives me a chance to let you into my life a bit and into some of the ideas and goals of Edit Video Faster. Is that cool?
This week I’ve dealt with a hectic shoot (understatement), a serious health issue with a parent, out of town travel for work, and the Internet and TV being down to name a couple things. I’m not looking for a pity party. I know you’ve probably dealt with and regularly deal with worse than this. I’m just giving you context because the last thing on my mind is recording a new tutorial or working on EVF’s upcoming Media Management Fundamentals in Avid Media Composer course.
I’m one of those people who likes to run a million miles an hour in 12 different directions. Last year I decided to try to lower the amount of directions. I got it down to maybe 7 by stopping to coach baseball (which I will do again one day), quitting side projects like a fantasy sports website I was doing with my best friend and almost completely stopping to blog about beer. This allotted more time to focus on the projects I wanted to be focusing on, Edit Video Faster being the main one. Well, somehow I’ve gotten back into old habits and now it feels like I’m running in 15 different directions.
It’s so darn difficult to say no to these endeavours. Each one feels like it’s important but I think in order to save my bleeding bloody I might need to sever a limb in order to save the rest of it. And hopefully that limb will grow back… (too graphic??). Oh, don’t worry. I’d be severing limbs in order to save EVF. I’m not going anywhere! More on this in a minute.
EVF has always been a experiment on if I can help fellow editors get better at their craft while supplementing my income doing it. Each month this site makes around $10-$15 total between Amazon, the Quick Transitions Bin and a couple other penny-making projects. It costs about $20 a month to host it and the shopping cart. I guess I’m failing at the latter objective. However the first goal, helping fellow editors, is going fantastic IMO. I got an email from Zach two weeks ago that I have starred in my inbox. Since then whenever I’m needing some encouragement to work on a tutorial or post or email newsletter at 10:30PM on a Thursday (like right now) I open it up and it gives me that little bit of motivation to keep going. Thank you, Zach.
As a kid my mom always thought I’d become a teacher. Like any stubborn boy I automatically rejected what my mom thought. I didn’t become a teacher in the traditional sense. But somehow between teaching Tae-Kwon-Do in my teens, coaching baseball in my 20s and now mentoring video editors in my late-20s…I gotta admit she might have been right.
Back to the I’m not going anywhere thing. Something I hate is investing time into something/someone and they disappear. This happens all the time on the Internet. I get hooked on a podcast and after 25 episodes they’re gone. I invest hours reading posts by a blogger then they trickle posts out once a quarter (that’s very hypocritical of me because of what I did with my beer blog, whoops). This stuff happens and I get it but it doesn’t make me hate it any less.
June will be two complete years working on EVF. In no way do I feel myself slowing down. In fact, I only see myself and EVF ramping up more and more! This is great news for you. While I used to post 2ish times a month, I’m now at a steady once a week mark. I will miss a week every once in awhile (this week it nearly happened) but for the most part I’m pretty spot on. What I’m getting at is that I’d like you to trust me when I say that Edit Video Faster is not going anywhere and I have plans to build this thing for years. You can invest your time in growing as an editor with me. As I learn and struggle and overcome I’ll pass that insight to you as often and as thorough as I can.
The last sip of my beer is gone. I’m wiped out and need to hit the sack. Thanks for letting me ramble on a bit this week instead of focusing our normal video editing topics. If you liked this kind of post and want me to do them more often let me know in the comments below. If you’re new around here I promise I’ll dive deep into video editing, software tricks and tips and tons of other goodies to make you a better editor very soon. I’d love for you to stick around for it and you can do that by going here.
I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Video Editor’s Digest!