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!
Please note the pre-sale is now over. Please visit this page for more information on the exam.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been creating a bunch of lessons about Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and their related functions. This is because I want you to become a keyboard shortcut master. If you know the keyboard shortcuts and understand their functions, you’ll be a faster video editor. That means you finish projects sooner, get paid faster and make your bosses and clients happier.
When I was learning Media Composer I wish I had a way to check my progress. I didn’t. I didn’t have a teacher. I couldn’t afford a class. There were no lessons to follow. I just plugged away each day, screwing up and knocking clips out of sync, until I eventually got to a place where I believed, “I think I finally understand all this.” Not knowing your skill level is rough, especially if you’re new to an industry or software. You don’t have to go through that pain and mystery like I did.
I’m in the process of creating an exam to solve this very issue. It will be a simple, convenient and affordable way to test your abilities with Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts.
The exam will be launching February 13th (my birthday!). It will take place here on EVF. If you’ve taken any of my free Media Composer quizzes the format will be familiar. Please take a crack at a quiz so you know what to expect for the exam.
Before we go any further, please remember that I have no affiliation with Avid. I’ve written for their blog before but that is it. They do not compensate me and this exam is purely based on my experience with Media Composer. Cool?
Your results, if you choose, will be displayed on the leaderboard. On the leaderboard you’ll have the opportunity to link to your website, demo reel or piece of work you’ve done. The leaderboard will be in order by score then by date. The first person that gets 70 out of 70 will be at the top of the leaderboard permanently. So that means if you want to be near the top you better 1) study the lessons and 2) take the exam before others do.
The exam will cost $35. I want anyone attempting the exam to take it seriously. I want you to study and master the keyboard shortcuts. If you study the shortcuts, take the exam and feel that it wasn’t what you expected and you now hate me and feel wronged, I’m happy to issue a refund. I’m positive that will not happen though.
Once you purchase the exam you’ll download a document with instructions that will direct you to the exam and the password to access it. Go to the page, enter the password, enter your first and last name and your email address. This email address is how I will contact you about the leaderboard. Take the exam. Get a great score because you studied and relish in the fact that you’re a keyboard shortcut master.
If you are not pleased with your score you have one week to retake the exam.
A few days following your completion of the exam I will email you to get the link to your website, demo reel or piece of work you want associated with your name on the leaderboard. If you do not want to be on the leaderboard you can opt out; just let me know! I will be emailing you from email@example.com.
Okay, one last thing.
The exam will go live on Saturday February 13th. It will be $35. I am doing a special introductory offer of $15 if you purchase before Friday January 22nd, 2016 11:59 EST. The price will never be this low again.
To get this deal click the “Buy Now” button below. You can use PayPal or a credit card. After that you will be prompted to download a document with instructions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (this is reiterated in the document) saying you’re part of the pre-sale for the exam! I should get your email address when you make the purchase but I want to make 100% sure I have it to send you access to the exam once it is launched. Once it’s launched I’ll send you the link to the exam with your password.
If you’ve been around here on EVF for a while you know that I’m completely honest with you. I believe this exam is a fantastic way to test your Media Composer chops. It’s something that I wish I had years ago and that’s why I’ve created it for you.
If you have any questions whatsoever email me or use my contact page. But remember you have until January 22nd, 2016 to get the exam for only $15, more than 55% off.
Please note the pre-sale is now over. Please visit this page for more information on the exam.
I want to do a little exercise. I haven’t been shy in saying what I want out of EVF. And with what I want out of EVF I need to figure out what the heck I’m doing. What I’m doing is pretty much boiled down into this sentence that I need to complete:
I make _____________ for _____________ because _____________.
I need help completing this sentence.
What do I make?
I make many things. I write blog posts, I create YouTube videos, I build educational courses, I co-host a podcast, I build the post production community, I create products that help editors and more.
If I were to boil it down into one thing I would say I make knowledge about video editing (as a career and it’s software) easier to consume and understand.
Let’s take this and go a step deeper. There’s so much I want to make and create but if for this very moment I’m picking one thing, let’s say the thing I’m best at, is that I make learning about video editing software (mainly Avid Media Composer and Adobe After Effects) better and simpler.
So here’s where we’re at:
I make learning about video editing software better and simpler for _____________ because _____________.
Who do I make it for?
This one is easy right?! I make it for video editors!
Yes. And no. I need to go deeper. I need to define who that person is.
Who is that person? Who are you reading this?
You are an editor. You are in the industry or trying desperately to become part of it. Regardless you want to become better at what you do. You want to become more knowledgeable at your craft and quicker at it. You want to make cool videos. You want to learn so much but don’t have the time.
Okay, let’s go one step deeper. Who do I make it for?
I make it for busy video editors who want to improve their skills.
Okay. Here’s where we’re at:
I make learning about video editing software better and simpler for busy video editors who want to improve their skills because _____________.
Why do I make what I make?
Video editing is difficult. iMovie and YouTube make it sound so easy. Drag and drop. Add heart wipe. Export straight to YouTube. Boom. Done.
Oh. It’s not quite like that? Really? You have to label media properly, import, label clips, more labeling of files, create a PSD with an alpha, realize it’s the wrong blue, go back to Photoshop, re-export, re-import, yada yada yada yada and you’re only 1/10,000th of the way done.
Video editing is difficult. The software doesn’t always make sense if you don’t know what it is thinking. I want you to understand what Media Composer is doing when it is creating an MXF file. If you don’t get that then you don’t understand media management and if you don’t understand media management you won’t have a job for long.
Being skilled at your NLE makes you happier. It makes you better at what you do. And what you can do with your video editing abilities can change the world. What you can do is create beautiful art.
Okay, Josh. Go deeper. Why do I make what I make?
I make what I make because being skilled in your editing software enables you to create beautiful art.
Do I like that? Yeah? Yeah.
Putting It All Together
Let’s put it all together and see where we are at.
What do I make? I make learning about video editing software better and simpler.
Who do I make it for? I make it for busy video editors who want to improve their skills.
Why do I make what I make? I make what I make because being skilled in your editing software enables you to create beautiful art.
When I put it all together what do we get?
I make learning about video editing software better and simpler for busy video editors who want to improve their skills because being skilled in your editing software enables you to create beautiful art.
There we go. Was that that difficult?
Do you fall under this umbrella? Are you a busy video editor that wants to improve your skills so you can create beautiful art? And you want me to help you?
If so, let me know. And let me know what you’re struggling with and looking for!
I’ll see you soon with a new tutorial (because you’re a busy video editor who wants to improve your skills so you can create beautiful art)!