on November 22, 2016 resources

5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Assistant Editor

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So, you’re passionate about film, got your degree in something completely unrelated to your interests, and are starting to itch about student loans... now what? If you’re lucky, you will land some great first gigs as a Second Assistant Editor or even an Assistant Editor. These early stages in your new, unexpected editing career are formative and important to setting the stage for your future career in post production.

 

We wanted to offer these 5 tips as you prepare to work in post production.

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1) Patience, Patience, Patience

 

Being an award-winning editor by no means happens over night. If you are an Editor in your late 30’s and have the opportunity to work on features with generous funding or budget then you are already very fortunate. As you set out on your career, be prepared to take assistant positions for several years. Try to get a variety of experience -- different genres, fiction and non-fiction, commercial and passion projects. Each team, budget, and project are different, and having a variety of work experience under your belt will be a feather in your cap down the line.

 

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2) Be one step ahead of everyone else

 

Your job is to make sure the team runs smoothly. Having the right tools by your side will only bode well for you. You should strive to be the person who whips out their handy Keychain Thumb Drive when in a crunch, or knows the latest tool to share cuts securely to clients. The more you're able to play superman to the many problems that can arise during the day, the more you will be seen as a reliable, necessary team member.

 

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3) Don’t be afraid to get in the weeds, troubleshoot, and befriend the support team

 

This day in age, there are a plethora of software and saas products used in post production. Even the best editors who have “seen and done it all” cannot be masters of all the tools they may need for a new project, and they might even be editing on a platform they’ve never used before! That’s why they need you and that’s why you need to be prepared to know the platforms used during your projects backwards and forwards. Go through support documentation and form relationships with the support teams on those platforms whenever possible. Problems always arise, so be prepared and proactive when they do.

 

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picture source: MIT.edu

4) Knowing when to voice an opinion

 Sometimes you will be expected to be the “work horse” who occasionally is brought into decision-making or make assemblies on a scene. Speak your mind and offer the help when you can, but an editor does not want to be at odds with you. They are already probably getting into passionate arguments with the director, so knowing when to speak up and when to be silent will be valuable.

 

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picture source: ecp productions

5) Do what you’re told

 

Finally, we all hope to have great mentors and be a part of a team, and at the end of the day you are the assistant editor and your job is to prepare everything for the editor in the way the editor needs. You have to do what you’re told, because the piece is the editor’s vision and not yours. You are one of their right-hands, so be diligent and work hard to give the editor what they need. Remember to stay one step ahead!

 

Are you an editor? What do you think of our tips? Write some of your own in the comment section!

 

 

Ben Bokaer

Support Manager at MediaSilo. Avid movie-goer. I also own the most adorable kitten-- her name is Sassafras.