How To Become a Working Film Editor


(ominous rumble) – [Sven] You mind if I
use this in the course? (electric buzzing) – You can go ahead. – [Sven] Okay, cool, awesome! (dial up tone) – I like working in
television, but not the news, it’s just like, get it on the air! (finger click) (electrical buzzing) Quick and dirty, like…. do i really wanna be an editor? – [Sven] I got a ton of
viewers, reach out to me. (music crescendo) Some want advice. – That’s my weak spot and something that I do need to work on more. – [Sven] Some want a job. Are you super busy? Or are you like there’s a
lot of time that I could be– – Could be spending on more clients. – [Sven] When do you know
that you have potential? And how do you prove it to others? (light explosion) Experts say, the only way
to really learn anything, is by doing it, failing a lot
and growing because of it. What are some of the
strategies you can apply to get closer to your dream,
of becoming a full-rate editor? Those that act are growing strong. Morgane sent me this email. – [Morgane] Dear Sven,
my name is Morgane Vautey and I am finishing my studies at Cinecreatis Film
School in Nantes, France. I have been watching your
YouTube videos for a while now and I find your work very inspiring. As an aspiring film editor, I would love to do an
internship with you this summer, in order to develop my editing skills, both technically and sensitively. Last year, I worked for two
months as an assistant editor in a post production company in Paris. Thanks to those experiences, I think I will be an asset for
you, like a Swiss Army Knife, but with a smile. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Best regards, Morgane Vautey. – [Sven] She saw opportunity
where there was none. I didn’t post any ads, because I wasn’t looking for an intern, but she took initiative, opened a back door and
pushed right through. I took her in, because
she showed potential, and now, months later, I’ve
hired her on numerous projects. (gentle music) (video machine clicks) (gentle music) Almost a year ago, I answered
this question in a video. How do you become a working editor? The kind of editor that
works all the time, and gets paid full rate. It’s what I call, a Go-To Editor. (gentle swoosh) (bell tinkle) When we first launched
the course last year, 430 students signed up,
from all over the world. And we didn’t realize it at first, but the community they’ve built, has become an invaluable
asset to the experience. It’s not talent, per se,
it’s trainable skills and a passion for editing. Passion for just that! I believe that passion is key to aligning your goals with your dreams. What if you don’t know what
you’re passionate about? Well, simple! Try a lot of different things
until you figure it out. Honestly, my career has less been shaped by a clear-cut strategy
and more by taking actions, whenever I saw opportunities
that intrigued me. Whenever I chose to do that
thing that sounded like fun and personally challenged
me, that’s when I got lucky. (slow beat) I’ve been editing for the past 20 years, working for James Cameron,
first as assistant, then cutting one of his films. I got lucky again when I edited
for director James Franco and for Mark Webber,
which led to my first film that went to the top film
festival in the world. And I got lucky, yet again, when I was hired by director
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for his Emmy winning TV show. You could say, I’m very fortunate, but I see my luck in a different light. Trial and error, learning on the job is what the Go-To Editor
Course is all about. I put everything I know
about becoming a Go-To Editor in this course. The kind of editor that is on speed-dial of directors, producers and clients, ’cause they are valued for
their storytelling skills and their easy going nature. Go-To Editor’s are not
only skilled, they listen, they partner, they
champion and they strive to make every project the best it can be. It’s what makes them irreplaceable in a sea of so-so editors. We launch the Go-To Editor, an online premium editing course, where we provide real dailies from an actual feature,
documentary and branded content. If you have the dream to
become a feature film, television or video editor,
go after your passion and use it as fuel. The Go-To Editor Course
gives you all the tools and a pathway to reach your goal. And I give you six months
to change your mind, as long as you do the exercises and don’t see any value in the course, we will refund your money. Don’t miss out, don’t delay. The Go-To Editor Course, is
only open for these few days, then the doors will be shut, so that we can focus on the students. Here’s how to become a Go-To Editor. (birds chirping) So how do you get a job as an editor? Well, there’s really only
three ways of doing it. It’s either the cold call, the back door or the referral. The first one, the cold
call, is the hardest, because you have to reach out to someone that doesn’t know you. This is the one that
gives you the least chance of actually getting the job, but never the less, if
you’re starting out, what choices do you have? You have to start somewhere, right? (gentle music) This could be either an
email that you send out, or when there’s an ad out there
and they want you to submit. The only advice I really
can give you on this part, is that email that you
send, is more important than the resume or the reel. You want that first paragraph to really tell ’em something
specific about you, that is setting you apart from the rest. So in my case, I would always mention that I used to work for James Cameron on a 3D IMAX documentary and hopefully that gets
their attention enough to keep on reading. You also wanna put in that email, just something specific about the project, so that they know that you just didn’t send
off a general template, you didn’t really consider
the specifics of the project. Whether it’s a name that
you can look up on IMDb and projects that
they’ve done in the past. Or anything else in the news that you can pick up on the project and connect it with you, in a way, that you can express some
genuine interest in the project. For example, I was
recently bidding for a job, with a couple of young activists. I knew that one of them, that they were covering,
was Greta Thunberg. – Together in this fight! – Thunberg, Thurnberg? I actually went to the climate strike a couple of weeks ago, here in LA and I saw her, I filmed her. My daughter is one of the activist’s that’s organizing the strike here locally. So I put a little blurb of that
in the email, let them know that I’m really excited
about that opportunity. That little detail is just enough to make a little bit of a connection and when I got a response, the
producer actually referenced that back and said that she appreciated that I have some form of insight. But once again, chances to
get a job on a cold call, are less than 3%. (gentle music) I’m more so really a fan of The Back Door and this is something that
I teach in the course. The Back Door, is a strategy
where you find an email or contact to somebody and try to offer up some form of value, possibly for free, and start building a relationship. This strategy is actually quite successful and there are seven steps to that, that I won’t mention here. – What?
(upbeat music) – The last one is The Referral. And this is the one that
gets you most of the work. Once you’re sort of established in whatever field you’re
working, at whatever level. If you do a good job,
people will recommend you. But if you realize that when
you’re reaching out to people, when you’re responding to
somebody that is interested to hire you potentially, you’re not really interested
in locking them down. What you want is just a meeting. I had a mind shift, if I focus
just on getting the meeting, the chances of getting
hired increase by 10 X. I would dare to go as far to say, is if you manage to get a meeting, you basically already have the job! It’s yours to lose at that point. As you’re trying to get the meeting, there a couple of core values
that I wanna emphasize. First of all, be super
flexible, always eager, but don’t come across as desperate. Passionate about the project
and emphasize the value that you can bring to the table. That this meeting will
be worth their time. Let me give you an example. Early in my career, I had the opportunity to interview for a job for
the director, Mark Webber. He’s an Indie director. My friend recommended me to Mark. We ended up having a phone call, but we kind of left it
in that conversation, that there was going to be
a meeting that would happen. But there was nothing tangible yet. A few days passed by, I don’t hear back and I’m starting to think,
this might not happen. So this is when I reach out. I’m still very casual
and just checking in. I started reading the script,
I really liked the project. We went back and forth a couple of times, he was noncommittal and I got the sense that he was already sort of
close to hiring another editor. So at that point I kind of took a stand and said, ” There’s something
that I really noticed “about the script.” I was able to tease him just
enough to get him to say, “All right, let’s meet tonight.” We spent three hours
discussing the project. I really took the time
to listen, number one, and then see if I can respond in a way, that I can demonstrate
somehow, that I’m the right guy for the project. – A monster dada. – I see the monster, I’m almost done. This is so embarrassing!
– He has big teeth. – [Woman] No, no, don’t worry about it. – I am so sorry.
– Let’s just get back on track.
– He has big teeth dada! – He does have, yeah. – “The End of Love” is an Indie feature that has a lot of improvised scenes. – I’m going to explain that obviously, but you keep cutting me off! – Now you may not know, but I
have a very strong background in reality, unscripted TV. All that stuff is usually not on my IMDb, because I wanna brand
myself more as a documentary and narrative film editor. I just decided to make that
a strength and said, “Look! “I’m actually quite comfortable with working with very improvised scenes.” This is something that
reality show editors are really good at. – Okay, call scene. – Thank you. – Great.
– Where there isn’t really a scripted narrative arc, and
finding it in the editing. – I think that you are absolutely,
fucking amazing in Chloe! Anyway, I’m sorry. Issy we should go, can you say bye? Can you say bye to Amanda? Can you say bye Amanda? Can you say bye to Amanda?
– It’s okay. (running water) – So I was really putting
all my eggs in that basket and letting him know that sometimes a conventional, linear
editor might not be right for the type of project
that he wants to do. Which really is, he
calls it reality cinema. I don’t know if that was the reason, but just those couple of
hours that we spent together, made him change his mind. And he said, “All right, let
me give you a call tomorrow “and we’ll figure something out.” (gentle music) And this time, I did get that
call, it wasn’t from him, but his producer, who made the deal. I ended up cutting the film and it ended up going to Sundance, and it was his first
film to Go-To Sundance. It was my first film
that went to Sundance. – And “The End of Love” was, that was like a pivotal point for me. (upbeat music) – Mark, you have the kid? Come on, it’s not that big a deal. – I made something that I
was really, really proud of, with you, and I found, kind
of my voice as a film maker. – From that point, I leveraged
up that relationship, it led to some many more
independent projects. I did two other movies with Mark. Welcome to the world premier
of “Flesh and Blood”! (audience cheers) Very important step in my career and the reason why I got that is because I got the meeting. (chill music) – This is definitely too tight! – Vinny and Steve are my partners of the Go-To Editor Course. We built it together, we run it together. – Okay, this camera and
we have eight hours. – They are the backbone of the operation. In addition to our lead
community manager, Dennis, they make sure that every
student feels the editing love. – Been almost a year since we launched the Go-To Editor Course. We’re still together, we’re like, we’re still getting along. – Yeah.
– What else are some of the projects that
you’re cutting right now. – I worked on a Netflix documentary with. So that was really cool to
be able to be a part of that. Worked on a couple short films and I’ve had the opportunity to at least, audition for editing some feature films. – And Steve, I just remembered, you actually cut something
that won an Emmy. What was that like? – Actually been very, very,
very beneficial! (laughs) – Did you buy or rent the tux? – That wasn’t even a tux,
it was a suit I put together from a thrift shop.
(laughs) You can win an Emmy in a thrift shop suit. (funky music) – Now we’re gonna have a lot of people seeing this for the first time and we really wanted to create a course that is for the beginner
and the intermediate. So some people that
edit for the first time and others that have some experience. Can you guys let us know,
what it is we’re focusing on and why it is for
beginners and intermediates? – Let me sit down the
java. – [Vinny] Yeah, module one’s
all about the fundamentals. Getting you started, so even
if you’ve never edited before, it can get you going on something. – We’re trying to take it from a level where it’s the least
intimidating as possible. We’re trying to make it as accessible to anybody who’s never edited before. We’re just going over the
dailies, how you get them. Before even that starts out, we want you to have access to
this free editing software, called DaVinci Resolve. We show you in the module
where to download it, get it going and you’re gonna
be learning from real dailies. From real documentary,
real commercial work, real narrative feature– – It’s funny, I’m a big fan of yours too. – Let’s get married then. (gentle music)
– It’s nothing like you’ve filmed yourself with
your friends, it’s real footage. – It’s a real feature that was in an international film festival and they had an Oscar Award
winning actress in there, and that’s a whole different ballgame. And for them to be able to cut their teeth and experience what it is
to do dramatic storytelling, with real footage, is so important! – Having the dailies makes this seem possible and accessible. I’ve already seen a lot of really interesting approaches to the scenes. (phone rings) For example, someone did a scene where they had the phone
call, already start, while he’s coming out of the elevator. I thought that was a really
smart choice, to compress time and keep us on story. – I was in the car and the
people who picked me up were being really chatty. – I’ve seen this cut 50 000 different ways and they’re all extremely
different. (laughs) – Yeah and to be honest, some
of them may not be great, yet! But it doesn’t really matter, especially at the
beginning, it doesn’t matter that you’re not a perfect
storyteller, right away. – Exactly!
– The way you become a storyteller is by doing it!
(slaps hands) And grab the next scene and
take what you’ve learned, (shouts)
(slaps hands) – Wait, okay you can’t do that! – And keep building on that. And that’s how this course is structured. That throughout the six
modules, you always get to cut. – [Vinny] So module two gets
into the advanced editing and storytelling techniques. And then you’re gonna
start learning about things like what is a story? And what is a dramatic question? So we’re not just talking about
the technical parts of it, we’re talking about editing
concepts that we can jump into, or how audio might engage an audience. Or how you can use a joke as a story and what does that represent, and how does that expand to
a full movie maybe. (beep) – The mind shift in this course, is it’s not really about
getting specific directions of what the scene should be. – Right.
– It’s you evolving and becoming a storyteller. Having that confidence
to make the decision and say, “I think the
scene is about this!” – Right!
– Right. – If you are not an editor, you
don’t understand this power. If you are an editor, you
take that responsibility and you just embrace it.
– Mm-hmm. – Have you found that you’ve been able to pace yourself fairly well
throughout the course, or? – I’m kinda stuck at module five, because I haven’t started it yet. – As you’re going through the modules, it’s a self-paced course, so
you’re kind of on your own, but let’s say you get stuck. What are some of the options that the students have to get help? – Well they can either reach
out through the Discord and we’re all reachable. – The hard thing about being,
say, a freelance editor, like we all kind of are, is
having that self-management, and this is a self-paced course. So surrounding yourself with a community that can back you and keep you motivated to do all that stuff, and all these resources
that we try to help provide. It’s really helpful to keep moving along. – Well that’s maybe one
thing that we really learned in this year, is how do we
keep the students motivated to keep going?
– Right. – And we implemented a couple of things. You just mentioned it, Discord, which is an online, private group. Where we have separate
rooms for each module, where you can post your work, ask questions, have career advice. – Come on.
♪ It’s not gonna work for you ♪ – We also partnered up with Whipster, which is an online collaboration platform. So all the scene work that you’re doing in the course, you can actually get
time code specific notes, not only from us, not only from the community
managers in the course, but also your peers. At the beginning, like we
started opening up a Discord, we didn’t realize how
important that part is, to the learning experience. – We had no clue that that would blow up, constant content flowing through it, as well as constant communication. Constant great advice,
as well as encouragement. And that goes really,
hand-in-hand with module three, which is our personal branding module. – [Sven] Yes.
– Where we talk about, how to even dress for
the part, how to even, talking to producers
and getting into the room. Be approachable– – The one thing that I think
we learned about this module, is we’re giving you a lot of concepts. If I would of known about these
concepts early in my career, – Right!
– I’d be at a whole different level!
– Truly. – But what we’ve evolved upon now, is that we actually make it
more, material in a sense that you can execute on it. A lot of people get started and they are so excited to cut anything. – Yes!
– They might be doing wedding videos for three years and at the beginning it’s very exciting, because you get to work on your craft, but at some point you feel stuck. And what you really wanted to
do, is do TV scripted shows, and if you know that upfront,
you can protect yourself and you can maneuver your career in a way that you get there faster. There are seven steps that we
develop in the strategy paper, that have to do with defining
which ladder you wanna climb. How you gonna be able to
identify some of the people that can help you get there, and how you can develop
relationships with them early on. – Finally now, I decided that this, I have to go all in and I… – We are actually really heavily now, into doing weekly video conferences with the students, to
discuss their career. If you take advantage of it,
it’s out there every week. – Right now I’m doing
a video which will be, it’s supposed to be a funny video. – A Go-To Editor, really
can ask for a fair rate and can say, “No”, when the
project isn’t right for them. And they can wait for the next project. – And that was the first time I’d ever said, “I’m an editor.” Out loud to somebody,
introduced myself as that. – Yeah. – It felt really good to say that. – And a Go-To Editor is somebody that has deep relationships
with producers and directors, who will hire them over and over again. Who will call them first, when
a new project comes along, or who will gladly recommend them. All right, if you still
watching this video, congratulations, you’re badass! I hope you are interested
in becoming an editor. It’s a really exciting career. Check out the Go-To Editor Course to see how we can help you get there. Thanks for watching and I’ll
see you on the next one. (gentle music) Almost daily, I get asked this question, more than any other. How do I become a working editor? Like the kind of editor that
works on recognizable features, or on TV shows. The one that always works
and gets paid full-rate. I just got this text the other day. – [Woman] Can I ask you something? – [Sven] Yes. – [Woman] I’m not an idiot. This is my dream job. It’s what I’ve wanted to be
since I was 15-years-old, so I prepared myself for the rejection that comes with the industry, but did you ever have a
time that you were faced with rejection after rejection, after rejection.
(door slams) That you considered quitting? It’s been three full years of
solid rejection and honestly, I think a human being can
only take so much of it. – [Sven] Yes, I’ve been there. It sucks, but I figured out some stuff and I think I can help. I’ve had, what many consider,
a successful editing career. I’ve worked three and a half
years for James Cameron, five plus years as a Go-To
Editor, for FreemantleMedia, the makers of American Idol. Cutting pilots and show concepts, helping them sell hundreds
of millions of dollars worth of new shows and I could
pretty much name my rate. Is it because I’m so talented? That I know more than any others? I don’t think so. It has to do with more than skill. It has to do with storytelling
and with who you are, as a person. I got another one from a
producer I worked with, seven years ago. – [Producer] Hey Sven, remember me? Well I’m doing this Fox show,
shooting 10 episodes for air, looking for great editors. Still remember all the
times you bailed me out. Just wondering if you had any availability in the next four months. And if you can’t do it, other recommendations
would be appreciated. – [Sven] Unfortunately I’m not available, but let me reach out to a few editors that I feel comfortable
recommending to you. – [Producer] Appreciate
the help, my friend. – [Sven] Of course I
recommended the earlier editor from above and she sent off her resume. For the past two and a half years, I’ve put my editing life online, on a YouTube channel
called, “This Guy Edits”. Currently it has over 210 000 subscribers that watch me edit and
talk about storytelling. – Cut that out!
– [Sven] I wanna take this experience to a new level, where I want to share everything I know about being a Go-To Editor. The Go-To Editor, rarely
ever sends out a resume, because they’re cut right
through the competition. The type of editor that
doesn’t work on a budget, instead can demand a rate
that values their time, because what the Go-To
Editor brings to the table, saves the client, every time. The Go-To Editor Course
is the only one out there, that doesn’t just teach you editing. It’s a step-by-step program
created to give you the tools to become a Go-To Editor, so that you can work for
a future that is bright. Starting with the basics,
then focusing on storytelling, exposing you to exercises with real footage from actual features, documentaries and branded content. And on top, I’m giving you
a step-by-step program, to brand yourself as a Go-To Editor, including a mock job interview
and negotiating tactics. I put everything that
I know and I’ve learned in the past 20 years, in this course. And here’s the thing,
I give you six months to change your mind. As long as you do the exercises, don’t see any value in the course, I will refund you the money. So don’t miss out, don’t delay. The Go-To Editor Course,
is only open for a few days and then the doors will be shut, so I can focus on the students. Here’s how you become a Go-To Editor. (upbeat music)

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