artemisunderscorej said: Recently I've discover my love for editing thanks to my iMovie and I would like to make a career of this hobby. However, I don't know where or how to get started. Any advice on programs or internships for college students that will give me lasting experience? Thanks! : ]

Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond! Company work’s been increasing lately, so I haven’t had much time to blog. Today, though, I bring you this veryvery long post.

Here are your best bets, in my opinion, and the pros and cons of each:

1. Internship/Career Office

  • Your college probably has one, and they probably have some media connection they could recommend
  • College credit earned, possibly money depending on the company
  • Your adviser can help you with your resume if you don’t already have one
  • Whatever company you’ll be interning for will have all the editing equipment and people who you could shadow to learn about editing
  • No pavement pounding


  • Might have to pay your school for extra credit hours to take on an internship (it happens)
  • If your major has nothing to do with media, the career office might advise against you seeking a media internship 
  • Competition from other students vying for the same position - if their major is media-based, they might be given priority
  • It’s an internship, so chances are you’ll probably be making coffee, sorting mail, taking calls and running notes instead of gaining any hands-on experience

You could also circumvent the career office entirely and call/e-mail the local media companies in your area yourself. Public broadcasting and local news stations are great places to start. Anywhere that has an in-house production staff, though, would probably love a free intern/coffeemaker (this is a Pro). The next easiest step would be:

2. Film Students

  • Take on as many editing projects as you want at a time
  • Connect with others who love and are just starting out in media production
  • Not an internship
  • Actual editing experience and potential to network in the greater local video/film community
  • Feedback! This is super-important to your growth as an editor and a crew member


  • No pay, usually, though you might get food if you’re lucky
  • Editing more awful zombie/urban western/”Lynchian homage” student movies than you ever thought existed
  • Competition from student editors who have both experience and Final Cut Pro

It should definitely be noted that the biggest Con in this case is that you’re using iMovie and not something like Avid or Final Cut Pro. This is totally fine for personal projects and learning the basics of timing and composition, but probably won’t get you very far. If you’re prepared to do it all yourself, though, you can look into:

3. Weddings/Special Occasions/School Events/Band Videos/Business Ads, etc.


  • Money
  • There’s always something going on in your immediate community that you could offer to capture, or a business that’d be willing to let you make a promo video for them to advertize with
  • Deadlines, working directly with clientele, building a business and a portfolio/resume at the same time
  • Money


  • You will probably need to both shoot and edit, unless you can find a reliable cameraperson (or several) to team up with
  • You will need a very quick turnaround for a lot of these projects, and clients can sometimes be overbearing (this is the case in the entertainment industry as a whole, but as a one-person team, things can get really stressful)
  • You probably won’t be learning how to use Final Cut Pro

In both #2 and #3, you’ll have to advertize yourself on your own and create your own jobs. This includes posting ads in papers, making and handing out flyers and cards, connecting with potential clients like schools and local businesses one-on-one, and telling absolutely everyone you know a million times about what you’re doing so if they hear anything about a potential opportunity, they’ll let you know. You could also look through the papers yourself for gigs - sometimes people are looking for an editor or something. In a lot of these cases, though, people are looking for someone(s) who can shoot as well as edit. This is a big thing to consider when you’re selling your services.

Lastly, the quickest way to throw yourself into the entertainment industry is to seek out entertainment industry jobs.

4. Be a PA/Production Assistant

  • You don’t even need to formally apply most of the time to get a PA job; usually you just respond to the ad, expressing your desire to help out, and you’re in
  • On-set experience - shows you what an entire production looks like and offers tons of opportunities to learn by observation
  • Introduces you to an entire crew of people who could help you get more jobs


  • You will not be editing, at all - chances are, you won’t even be allowed near electronic equipment
  • No money
  • Long hours (12+) in all kinds of conditions (I PA’d an indie film here in Chicago a couple winters ago that was shot over the three coldest, windiest days of the year, all outdoors, 15 hours each day)
  • PA’ing can sometimes be a thankless task, with a lot of yelling aimed in your direction

Cons aside, though, I think PA’ing professional productions is the absolute best way to gain real experience and is the quickest way to a career behind the camera. Searching for PA gigs is as easy as searching online for “Production Assistant jobs” and the name of your city.

With all that said, I want to be super-clear: having editing as your “hobby” isn’t enough. It needs to be something you do regularly, whether you have a project or not, and you need to be able to sell that passion.

  1. Make a Vimeo account to showcase all your editing projects
  2. Connect with other industry people on blogs like tumblr, or networking sites like LinkedIn

This is a stressful and often serious industry. Take any and every opportunity you think would benefit you, and don’t make “editing” or “becoming an editor” the main goal - you can edit on your own at any time. This is about experience and learning; the specialized positions will follow. Good luck!!

film / filmmaking / film production / production assistant / film jobs / editing /

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  1. filmme-fatale posted this
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