I recently wrote a blog post titled 7 Reasons to Avoid a Career in Post Production. It seems to have struck a nerve with people – for better and for worse - so I wanted to follow up with a post that explores why people stick with post. Despite all the downsides, what makes post production so rewarding?
1. You Are the Masked Super Heroes of the Entertainment Business
Responding to the Bat Signal of “Fix it in Post” you swoop in, accomplishing remarkable feats to rescue poor planning, shooting and acting from the clutches of mediocrity. Your work done, another project saved, you return to your Batcave, your secret identity intact.
2. You Get to Dress Comfortably at Work
Suit, tie? Not a chance. Flannel and flip flops? Check and check. If you’re going to be pulling an all-nighter to make your delivery schedule, you’re going to be comfortable doing it, and no UPM in their right mind’s going to tell you otherwise.
3. You Get to Play with All the Coolest Toys
Post production is changing faster that any other aspect of the filmmaking process. Fifteen years ago everyone still shot on film and created interpositives and internegatives. Since then we’ve had the emergence of film-quality digital cameras, Digital Intermediates, 3D, 4K. The list goes on and on. Sure, it’s a pain to have to keep learning new systems and technologies, but it’s also pretty cool, isn’t it?
4. Your Work is the Emotional Core of Entertainment
Imagine, if you will, Star Wars without John Williams’ epic score. Imagine Gollum as an animatronic doll or a guy in a rubber suit. I had a film professor play us the opening of Jaws with the sound off – the one where the midnight skinny dipper gets munched? The class wasn’t tense and scared – they were laughing. A good script and good direction are certainly necessary, but the best project falls flat without the magic of post.
5. You Are Actually Writers in Disguise
You can completely alter the story with some deft re-cutting. This goes double for “reality” television where editors are literally writing the shows with their work. Need proof? Look no further than the last 10 years of history with editors and writers banding together for better treatment under the banner of the Writers Guild of America.
6. You Get the Inside Scoop on Shows Long Before the Public
We may be entertainment professionals, but we’re all still fans too. Why did we get into this crazy business to begin with? Passion and love for film and television. To work on a fan favorite show or blockbuster movie, and be in “the know” weeks or months before the public is a great feeling and will get you a lot of excited questions at your next dinner party – not that you’d ever let any details slip.
7. You are Creatively and Technically Challenged Every Day
The hardest work is also the most rewarding. You will never be bored in a career in post. You need to bounce between solving creative story problems and crafting technical workarounds to make the vision a reality – all on an insane deadline. There’s nothing like the feeling of thinking outside the box and coming up with a last minute hail mary that saves the day.
You may not get nearly the credit (or pay) you deserve, but there’s something about post production that keeps you coming back for more.
What makes post production awesome for you? Comment below.