Rights of Passage
Some years ago, I knew a wizard video editor. His mastery of editing could have been the key to open doors of national, even international recognition. So why did a potential sparkling career come to nought?
Patience, overvaluing worth and ability, combined with an arrogant attitude, answer the question. His way was the only way, and a belief he was better than his film school peers did him no favours. And there are other considerations: His ability using editing software was excellent, the finished work repetitive. Reliance on and excessive use of effects gave the productions an amateur look. He knew the software inside-out. He could make an effect, cut or audio improvement on the video timeline in an instant. He’d learned how to use the software but failed to produce unique productions.
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I’ll christen the editor Ed.
Ed could not appreciate the work of his peers. Never would he ask how or why a section of a film’s production was made in a certain way. Always his opinion was: ‘I could make that better’, which in the right situation is a good attitude and one to be encouraged. Was Ed’s inability to attain recognition or employment in the film industry because of his mediocre productions? The answer is ‘No’. His work would have improved with experience, and he would have gained considerable recognition.
Liken him to an artist with a studio full of materials and enthusiasm. And for all the tools and technical know-how. When the artist’s work is reviewed, the opinion is: ‘What is the artist attempting to reveal This piece does nothing for me’. Equipment and knowledge cannot compensate for creative ability, and competence results from verbal interaction, trial and many errors. There is no doubting artistic growth needs bravery and the taking of chances. Wrong directions, blind alleys, creative roadblocks and happy accidents are essential learnings in the artist’s journey.
Perhaps the worse aspect of his’ way to the stars’ was the deception of Ed’s media presence. It portrayed an image of experience and expertise: of course, time-served professionals saw through the smoke. A fall was inevitable: with little interest in his output, the wind of truth blew his smoke-screen away. Ed thought he could helicopter ride to the summit, not have to climb the mountain. Today he stacks supermarket shelves.
At the outset of his career, a humble attitude and accepting menial positions would have given Ed a higher chance of success. He would have climbed the film reel to become recognised as a brilliant editor: inevitably receiving rightful and deserved acclaim. By taking the time to establish his presence, and demonstrating a willingness to learn and share and care: he could have accomplished the success he craved.
Creative careers benefit from the helping hands of experience. As a ‘runner’ in a media production office, Ed would have learned the more appealing aesthetic aspects of video production. As an enthusiastic member of a team, he’d have become known, liked and respected. Ed was an amateur, and although good with software, he possessed no experience of actual media production. Believing his work could better experts with tens of years in the film and television production industry evidenced immaturity and guaranteed failure. Even now working the mundane to Friday job he still thinks himself a film director! Today his video output is ‘project zero’, and no the lower rungs of the film industry career ladder are now too high to grasp. There are plenty of students graduating from film school ready to do anything to work in the industry. He may have fared better if he’d understood an apprenticeship is essential to success. Working and interacting with experienced people is the way many careers are forged.
Nothing happens without effort: Creativity and failure are part of ‘The Rights of Passage’:
Great artists choose to make every new piece a creative exercise: never believing they know all, and there is nothing more to learn. Some use a pencil and paper to draw a portrait and write an essay about a subject. Others need a studio full of paints and brushes and prepared canvases. The tools do not matter; for example, Daniel Johnson used colouring pens, an old piano and a cassette tape recorder to become a millionaire.
My journey has taken me from expensive production tools to three items. My work now produced with an iPhone, iRig microphone and an eight-year-old MacBook. I have written over five and a half million words in the last two years earning a good living from words and pictures. More important than the material aspect, is the immense pride in seeing our events business thrive, through artistic creativity — link to LizianEvents.
I possess no formal learning of writing, image taking and video recording. My ‘Right of Passage’ is attending book and trade show lectures to learn about creativity. My library of books, DVD’s, old school VHS or anything creativity related is growing. More important is talking to as many creative people as possible. And my learning is with the attitude of grace and respect for those who share their knowledge.
My work improves because of interaction and sharing information with creative friends. Without their input, comments and critic, I would still be lost and without purpose to my life.
Thanks to all who help me with my future.