We all get that urge every once and a while. To revisit something once we thought was great, something we once thought exceptional. Then we take less than five seconds to realize MY OLD WORK IS TERRIBLE! I don't ever want to to see any of it again! But let's talk for a moment about why realizing this is a fantastic (and humbling) experience.
Think for a moment to the first time you ever practiced your craft (we'll use film making in this instance, well because that's what I do. Sorry engineers, I don't know much about the facets of your facility). You probably had virtually no clue what you were doing, you knew you had no idea what you were doing, but you did it anyway. And that's a big thing. Most people don't ever take that shot at trying it out, they never pickup a camera other than to take a momentary selfie that will inevitably become an un-visited memory in the not-so-distant future (no offense to selfie artists out there, keep doing your thing you awesome peeps).
Then you started practicing a bit more. You started getting better (or as the villainous players of various online game societies would say "you got good bro"). And you kept at it. You continuously improved. Over the months, years (decades?) you just pushed and pushed, until finally you stopped and took a breath and said "How did I get here?".
That's where the first part of this blog comes in. You glanced at your oldest work for just a moment only to realize that it was probably terrible. And that's a great thing. Because if you're realizing that your own work that you once thought was good is not, that means you've made significant process. And what's more is that if you keep up that work ethic (although I know we all slip from time to time), a few years from now you'll be doing the same thing with the work you're producing at this very moment.
And that's one of the most exciting things to think about. Based on how far you've come could directly correlate to how far you'll go. And from one peep to all the others, I hope you all go as far as you possibly can (and then some), because hard-work, dedicated and a little bit of tears (no blood because love yourself a little) will take you further than you ever could have thought. And then some.
I know this wasn't a super technical post as I'm striving to create, but I thought it was something nice to reflect on and talk a bit about. But let me know what you think in the comments down below.
Love you peeps,
Any given construction worker will tell you that the most important aspect of any structure is the foundation upon which it is built. A roof can be repaired or corrected, windows can be reinstalled, and electrical wiring can always be redone and touched up. But a bad foundation will spell near-certain doom for all the work everyone has put into the project at hand. Just as in construction, preparing a solid foundation before even beginning your project will make the task and creative process easier, simpler and ultimately more rewarding.
So, in order to create a solid foundation for an edit, what must you do? One of the most boring processes ever. . .FILE AND FOLDER CREATION!! (I get rather excited over things like these. . .well. . .because I'm a nerd. Folders are cool, deal with it).
Of course, before I delve any further, it is important to recognize that every artist (and inherently every editor) has different systems that work for them. Nothing anybody says should be taken as gospel but rather with a large grain of salt. However there is a common system that most editors use because. . .well. . .it's efficient. And since most editors use it, it makes it much easier to share and collaborate on various projects since everybody is already familiar with the FOUNDATION (see, brought it back, like comedy only with FOLDERS. Mwhahaha).
Before I continue, since reading this type of material can get very dry very quickly, I made a video explaining everything that this blog post attempts to explain (but with slightly more flair. Lots of flair, just like in "Office Space". Thanks Mike Judge).
If you watched the video, this part will seem a little redundant and I advise you to like and subscribe to my channel (also share with your friends, family, dog, cat, etc. It's my website, it's okay for me to plug myself (I think?)).
Firstly, it's important to follow the file-folder structure that virtually every Digital Imaging Technician and professional editor utilizes for storing FOOTAGE (all caps, that means it's REALLY IMPORTANT). That structure is as follows:
Project Folder>Footage/Video Folder> Day Number Folder>Camera Type Folder> Card Number Folder> Raw Footage.
The reason this structure should be this way is because it allows for quick relinking and transcoding within your project and also follows a standard that virtually every editor with a little training is familiar with (also if you're wondering what relinking and transcoding are, I'll be doing a video on those later but hang tight for now).
Next you'll want to setup a series of folders for keeping various assets, exports and additional materials. An example of these folders include:
Project Files (a place where you would save the project file from Premiere Pro CC, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, etc.).
Audio (a place to store audio files such as dialogue, SFX, foley, ADR. Folders within this folder to organize these items are also incredibly useful and highly recommended).
Images (a place to store still images that may be used in the edit or referenced for color correction, inspiration, etc. Also a great place to store logos if you create more sub-folders for organization).
Documents (a place to store contracts, reference lists, the script,. shotlist, etc. Just nice to have a dedicated place for those types of items).
Behind the Scenes (a great place to store BTS footage that may not be included in the final project file. You can import these into your project as well but often 2nd editors or teams will require this footage rather than the lead editor, and this makes it a little easier to find those types of files).
Exports (a place to store all the exported cuts and versions of the project. Make sure to use proper naming conventions as well, which I'll expand upon in a later video and blog post).
And remember, this system isn't perfect and doesn't fit all molds. Often you'll even need more folders (I often have a VFX folder just for those types of deliveries. It really just depends on your workflow and the requirements of the project).
This is a great foundation for young and up-and-coming editors and professionals alike. And again (I know I'm already sounding like a dead-horse), use whatever works for you, for the client, and whatever will make the project easier, more efficient and ultimately more positive for everyone involved.
Thank you so much! Please leave a comment below with any questions, concerns or even inquiries!
See you next time!
Editor | Colorist
One of the most fascinating things about our most recent trip around the nuclear ball of flames we call the Sun is that most people seem to be in agreement that 2016 was one of the worst years in recent memory (at least, on a personal level amongst people I know). The death of an unimaginable number of social icons, the election of one of (if not the) most controversial candidate in United States history, Brexit, etc. But as we proceed into our next revolution around the spherical nuke, I wanted to take a moment to note a few of the lessons I learned this year. Quick warning though, most are not happy lessons (although there are a few).
1. Death Can Come At Any Moment
I'm a self-diagnosed workaholic (and most of my close peers would agree to this), and I often have trouble enjoying the little things. I'm more often than not caught up in my work and trying to get ahead so that I don't have to spend most of my life living paycheck to paycheck as my parents did (and to a degree still do). And while I know that's a good thing, it can be detrimental. If there's one thing I've learned from the deaths of some of my favorite icons and inspirations (Prince, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, and many others unfortunately), it's that life can come to a screeching halt and. . .well. . .that's it. You're done. Game over. So live your life a little. Take that extra piece of bacon, or go on that weekend trip. Live life outside your comfort zone, because you never know when it might be gone.
2. There Are A Lot of Jerks Out There
Stemming off my previous paragraph, some people are just jerks. I won't name any names for the sake of staying professional and keeping myself from being harassed, but this year was quite time for me to come to the realization that some people are incredibly hard to work with. And, unfortunately, some are so hard to work with that I had to just stop working with them (or, in one case, for them). One person even harassed me via text message calling me "unprofessional", saying that "I hope you fail at everything you try to do for the rest of your life". I found out (over time through observation, attention and being told to go to youtube to mp3 converter or something of that nature to get music instead of licensing it) that the unnamed person was using unlicensed music in videos they produced and had me edit. Usually one to two of these videos a week with each netting thousands of dollars. Not being okay with being paid with effectively illegal profits, I chose to leave by telling them that the job didn't fit with my long-term career goals and that I could even help them find a replacement (I didn't want to cause trouble, I just didn't want to be involved with that sort of business practice). And to top it off, there was never an employment contract or any terms or legal obligations to this person (which I should have known meant they had shady practices but I was broke and needed a job. But not badly enough to sacrifice my morals). In short, people can be rude, disrespectful jerks that think they're more than they are just because they have huge ego's or have made a lot of money (sometimes, illegally). Stick to your ethics and treat art and other people's property and work with respect.
3. Stand Up For Yourself
Again stemming (noticing a pattern here?), don't let people push you around. Being young and inexperienced is a natural part of the cycle (especially for aspiring artists). We look up to people, trying to figure everything out as we go. But sometimes, those that are more experienced than us take advantage of that (not saying all, in fact a very small number fall into this category). As I mentioned above, the person argued that I was "unprofessional". Now, I'm only guessing, but I'm assuming the reason they said this was because they considered themselves more experienced, more knowledgable and more respectable than myself. For a while after they said (texted) this, I felt really down. I doubted my abilities, my morals, my ethics. I even doubted my entire career and life outlook. It was the beginning of what would become a 9 month depression period that would continuously be pummelled with additional grievances. But, at some point I looked at myself (in the mirror refleciton of a pond, literally) and said "What the hell are you doing to yourself Steve?" I chose to leave because I fundamentally disagreed with that person's business practices, with their way of doings things, with their greed. I left because it was the right thing to do. So before you get yourself down because of something someone says about something you've done, remember that you did whatever you did for a reason. And 9/10 times I'd be willing bet you did it because you believed it was the best ethical thing to do.
4. Don't Drink As Much Soda
That one didn't stem, now did it? ;) . But seriously, drink less soda. Eat less fatty foods and generally do a better job of taking care of your body. Because at the end of the year, looking back, I didn't take care of mine. This year was riddled with fast food, poor exercise and an even worse sleeping pattern. As I said in the first point, sometimes you can get so caught up in work that you forget the little things. And one of those little things is actually a really big thing: your life. I can't really talk (I've gained a significant amount of weight over the last year and feel worse than I ever have before), but please listen to your body. It's good to enjoy an ice cold Coca-Cola, or that really tasty Five Guy's burger every once and a while. But make a point to do it a little less. Plus, it makes it taste that much better when you get it less often.
5. Listen To Your Mentor(s)
Just like with the not-so-positive, I won't name any names here. This year I met a ton of incredible individuals who helped and educated me more than I ever expected anybody to. In fact, I learned more this year about editing (my love and passion) than I have in all my previous years combined (still love my previous teachers though, I wouldn't be here without them). Taking in all the information I possibly could from one mentor that taught me a massive amount (and asking an unholy amount of questions which I apolgize for in post (editor pun, ha)), I'm much further along than I thought I would be at this point. Another great individual who I didn't expect (as they were a professor of my minor, not major) helped me understand how to really focus on an idea and self-critique in more constructive ways. I made a product design box (for YouTube, no doubt!) that came out signifcantly better than I ever thought I could create. Point being, listen and learn and ask questions. And pay respects to those you look up to, and one day, pass it back down.
6. Things Will (Somehow) Work Themselves Out
The year was full of personal turmoil. As I said, I battled with a 9 month long depression that came in waves. One day I would wake up and hate everything, the next I'd be fine and happy, and the following back to hating myself and my life. Weirdly, one thing that helped me was understanding that things could always be worse. I could've been homeless. I could have been starving. I could have not had a companion that utterly and truly loves me more than I could ever deserve. But depression is a horrible, horrible monster that often makes you lose sight of your blessings. You feel alone in a room full of friends, isolated in a city with hundreds of thousands of people, tired after a day of lazing, and unaccomplished after completing over a hundred videos in a year. It's not your fault though, but do your best to keep your head up. And really quick, talk to people. I hid from most people, and most people had little to no idea what I had going through my head every day. If you were to ask anybody around me, just about all of them would say I was happy and jolly and ready to work. Talk to people. Vent, get your frustrations and concerns out there because you never know who's going to help make a difference in your life. I'm starting to get back to normal, and I'm not sure how it happened but somehow the worst part feels behind me (knock on wood). But again, keep your head up, things will work themselves out.
7. Value Yourself
I know the title says 6 but I had one last thought to add. Appreciate yourself for who you are and what you believe. Don't be full of yourself and don't have an ego, but exercise confidence and practice what you love doing every single day. Don't let people push you around, bully you or make you feel like you can't succeed. Those people just aren't worth it, and you can do better than them. Find someone to love and make sure they love you just as much and treat you as you deserve to be treated. When times get tough, they're the ones that catch you and give you a cushion to fall on. At the end of the day, you get one life. There are no do-overs or retry's or restarts. There's only today, and today alone. Agree or don't agree with what I've written in this post, but at the very least follow what you believe to be right. If anybody is reading this, please do this. Not for me, not for them, but for yourself. Love yourself, and keep moving forward.
What can I say other than working Julia, Tracey and Lynn was an absolute pleasure. Meeting in beautiful Forsyth Park located in the heart of Savannah, GA, we spent an hour and fifteen minutes capturing headshots and portraits for both personal and professional use. Explaining each shot and it's purpose along the way, I did my best to demonstrate why I was taking the shots the way I was from exposure settings to light dynamics. All three ladies were incredibly easy to work with and took an interest in the technical side of photography (which is always a fun experience).
While there were some delays on delivery because of the disastrous Hurricane Matthew and a mandatory evacuation, each of the culled photos were made available to them online for unlimited personal and professional use.
"Steve Douglas is a wonderful photographer with an extensive knowledge and a warm demeanor; a great combination that made me feel comfortable and confident in his abilities. Which is why the pictures turned out beautifully!" - Julia Clark
"I absolutely love working with Steve Douglas. Not only is he very professional but he also made me feel very comfortable, which can be hard to do when you're standing still for photos. His knowledge of photography, lighting and all that goes into taking amazing photos was mind-blowing. Besides that, Steve took the time to explain to us what he was doing and why, all while making us feel very at ease." - Tracey Tobin
Author - Steve Douglas
A film/video editor, producer and director that strives to pass on the knowledge he attains in hopes that it can help somebody, somewhere. On the side, he is a frequent photographer and also runs a YouTube channel called Editor For Days which focuses on Filmmaking and Editing Tutorials (many of which are found within this blog).