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5 Ways to Get Your First Video Editing Job

The 5 most common ways to get your first job in the industry

Phone and editing timeline

Okay, so you’re comfortable with the software and you’ve learned how to edit a bit, but how do you actually land your first editing job?

Well, first of all you have to understand that there are many paths to becoming an editor, and many different specialisations in editing. This means that there’s no clear cut path for you to follow. This guide outlines the main ways you can get your first step on the ladder to editing professionally. Try any or all of these 5 ways to get your first junior video editing job:

  • Get a job as a runner in a post-production studio.
  • Apply for Assistant Editor jobs online.
  • Network at film festivals and offer your services.
  • Reach out to YouTubers and offer your services.
  • Start cutting videos for cheap on Fiverr.

Landing your first editing job involves hard work and can feel a little demeaning if you allow it to. But don’t worry, this is a temporary step on your career ladder and a short one in the grand scheme of things.

Let’s run through what each of them involves and how it can affect your future prospects.

 

GET A JOB AS A RUNNER IN A POST-PRODUCTION STUDIO

This is perhaps one of the most tried-and-tested formulas for landing your first job as an Editor or Assistant Editor. It existed long before the internet changed things, and still reaps the greatest rewards. Beyond anything else it gets you contacts. This is the life blood of the industry, and your career. The peers that you meet will share their overflow work with you, and you get a deep dive into the workings of editing in a professional environment. You’ll learn industry best practices, pro techniques, and of course you’ll meet clients that may want to work with you in the future. These are all priceless.

It can be hard to get in this way, but the hard work is worth it in my opinion, because once your foot is in the door, your career will progress faster than via any of the other ways below. Of course, not everybody lives close to a post production studio so this option may not be viable for you. In which case you could try this next tactic.

 

APPLY FOR ASSISTANT EDITOR JOBS ONLINE

We live in an awesome time where edits are increasingly done remotely. It’s a digital nomad’s dream. This means that some editors are looking for Assistant Editors (both remote and local) to help them with their projects in every location across the globe.

Search online and in forums for Assistant Editor jobs that would suit you based on your skill level, your location, your internet speeds and your career goals. Some good places worth checking out are the many jobs boards and recruiting websites, as well as Craigslist, Facebook Groups, and membership sites like Shooting People etc.

You’ll have to keep networking at first so you can expand your pool of contacts and stay busy. Your client’s contacts then become your contacts and your network expands one job at a time this way.

 

NETWORK AT FILM FESTIVALS

The covid pandemic forced all film festivals to be hosted online. As restrictions dropped, festivals started running both a physical and virtual festival. This has meant that networking has never been easier – you don’t even need to leave your desk!

Get a ticket to a film festival that represents the kind of work you’d like to work on and spend the entire time networking. Put yourself out there and be likeable, not pushy. You could also find videos you like on Vimeo and reach out to the Editor/Director to be considered as an Assistant in the future. Networking in person is a lot easier though. Your personality does the selling, which is difficult to communicate via text.

You can also contact your local workers unions to ask about opportunities as well as meetings and networking events. You’ll have to keep networking at first so you can expand your pool of contacts and stay busy. Your client’s contacts then become your contacts and your network expands one job at a time this way.

 

REACH OUT TO YOUTUBERS

Contacting YouTubers to offer your video editing services is an increasingly common tactic to landing your first paid gig. This means that competition is strong. Find the right creator though, and you could find the work enjoyable. Be aware, turnaround times are tight and the pay is not great. Plus, there will always be someone else willing to do the work for free, so don’t undersell yourself.

One of the biggest concerns about this route into professional editing is that you don’t learn the professional workflows that are so important as you progress up the career ladder. But this isn’t so much of a problem anymore because you can simply take Technical Workflow training to learn professional video editing workflow in just one day.

 

START CUTTING VIDEOS ON FIVERR OR UPWORK

This is a low bar-to-entry way of getting your first gig. The thing is, competition is fierce and pay is dismal. If all you want is to practice and not make a living then this could be an option for you. It takes a lot of hard work and time to get to a position on these marketplaces where you can make a living. And even when you do, the work is fairly boring.

Beware of starting down this path and getting trapped in the Fiverr cycle. You may find it difficult to break out and work on more exciting projects because you lack contacts and don’t have the relevant experience in the things you would actually like to edit.

 

 

 

So there you have the 5 main ways you can land your first video editing job. I’m sure you were hoping for something more concrete and linear. The thing is, many people have a PC in their bedroom powerful enough to edit videos these days, so you’ve got to work hard to stand out.

If I were starting out from scratch again today, I would be hounding all the post-production studios and editing agencies in my city, using my personality and inventive applications to woo them into giving me an entry level position. I wouldn’t stop until I got a, “Yes”.

Have you heard of any other ways to getting your first editing gig that you’d like to know more about?

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