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Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-26-2012, 10:56 PM
I'm getting out of high school and is still deciding what path I can take to follow my dream. I could just go straight for a degree in tv and work as a freelancer, or I could get a degree in nursing for a stable job and still do videography for a hobby/weekend warrior. For all of you video professional out there, can you describe in detail your journey from high school and how you get to working in video.

Egg Born Son
05-27-2012, 01:36 AM
While I would usually suggest starting off with a regular job (gives you something to fall back on) nursing will not likely leave you much in the way of free time/energy and is one of the most grossly undervalued professions out there.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-27-2012, 01:45 AM
what is consider a good regular job? Can you also list how you get into videography Egg Born Son? the point of this thread was for me to know how others have gotten into the business

Egg Born Son
05-27-2012, 02:36 AM
I'm not a professional filmmaker, just a weekend warrior. I'm doing it for fun, not for money. I wouldn't like to try and make a good living off of this even if I was good. Being a nurse is a good regular job but if you are wanting to treat video as a second part time job you might find it difficult to find sufficient energy to put into either. The nurses I know find it incredibly rewarding but it doesn't leave them much for other areas of their lives.

Weddings is probably the main avenue of making money out of video. It won't necessarily be big bucks but work hard and it will be a living. Music videos is another avenue. Start by making a few videos for bottom rung bands and word of mouth may get you more work. Advertising the other obvious route. Making some ads for free for local charity organisations is one way to get started. I've filmed some protests (mainly as a deterent to prevent police overstepping the mark) for environmental and union actions. Through this both my union and a guy from sea shepherd have raised the idea of making a documentary although nothing serious is on the table yet.

Sol M.
05-27-2012, 02:51 AM
If you want to do it as a profession, the best thing you can do is to get real, hands-on experience. Secondly, networking with others in the industry is important as well. You could accomplish these things by going to school, but as with most "creative" professions, your work & talent will be what gets you jobs, not the degree.

IMHO, the best way to get hands-on experience is to get involved in the industry ASAP. Work as a production assistant (PA) on TV commercial shoots, inquire about jobs/internships at your local TV stations, etc.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-27-2012, 03:08 AM
so Jive, how competitive do you think working in the broadcasting industry? and can you please tell your own story on how you get into this business.

Paul Hudson
05-27-2012, 05:13 AM
I was lucky. I got into the business when you could make a good living at it. However, it was very hard work and a bit of an "Old Boys Club". Because of my contacts and experience I still make my living from film and video but I have seen huge changes in the last few years. You now have to work even harder than before and offer more than anyone else to have a competitive advantage. There are more young people than ever entering the business but they struggle mightily to survive. Some excel but most find the work, the hours and low pay to start so unpleasant they move on to other things.

David W. Jones
05-27-2012, 06:59 AM
Like Paul, I started many years ago when things were very different than today.

The medical field would be my advice.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-27-2012, 09:38 AM
I think I will pursue nursing as a career so I have a reliable job and will do videography as a hobby. Maybe after working for 10 years I'll start freelancing, but if it doesn't work out then I'll still have nursing to fall back on. Man, my parent will be proud to have a male nurse (yes this is sarcasm). On second thought, any of you know any tech related job that is also reliable?

David W. Jones
05-27-2012, 10:57 AM
Stay in school and get as much advanced learning as you can!

This board is full of posts from "filmmakers" that lack basic business skills needed to be successful.
How many threads have you seen titled... How much should I charge for?

Good Luck!

Dave

Egg Born Son
05-27-2012, 11:02 AM
What subjects are you good at? Which subjects do you enjoy? What are your interests outside of school?

Don't stress too much about working out what you are going to do for the rest of your life. There's really no such thing as a career for life anymore. You will probably have had at least 3 careers by the time you're 30 and quite likely none of them will be what you studied for. I work in the distribution side of tv as a technician, working on the equipment that feeds the broadcast tower, live satellite transmissions and the cable tv network from end to end for my state. It wasn't the job I applied for (I work for a phone company who happens to also own the tv distribution network in my state) and I've had close to 30 jobs in the last 20 years in just about every field. Funnily enough all the jobs I chased after were disappointing and all the ones I fell into by accident were the good ones.

The good news in terms of creative work like filmmaking and writing is that all life experience can be brought to bear. Each job will teach you something about the world. And filmmaking is so all-encompassing that pretty much anything you do will give you skills you can bring to your filmmaking. An office job will teach you business skills that will help organisation and pre-production, a sales job will help with marketing and distribution. A technical job will bring a familiarity with tools, logical troubleshooting and reading technical sheets. Service professions will expose you to a wide variety of people and develop your social skills. No job you do will be wasted.

You can't go wrong with a trade. Electrician will probably be the most useful if you want to do something that will directly help with film industry ambitions. Carpentry, metalwork useful too. With a trade in your back pocket you'll always be able to find work and have a good chance of working for yourself one day.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-27-2012, 11:04 AM
Stay in school and get as much advanced learning as you can!

This board is full of posts from "filmmakers" that lack basic business skills needed to be successful.
How many threads have you seen titled... How much should I charge for?

Good Luck!

Dave
When you say stay in school, do you mean stay in school for film or stay in school for another career? And to tell you the truth I haven't seen one thread with that title

Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-27-2012, 11:09 AM
What subjects are you good at? Which subjects do you enjoy? What are your interests outside of school?

Don't stress too much about working out what you are going to do for the rest of your life. There's really no such thing as a career for life anymore. You will probably have had at least 3 careers by the time you're 30 and quite likely none of them will be what you studied for. I work in the distribution side of tv as a technician, working on the equipment that feeds the broadcast tower, live satellite transmissions and the cable tv network from end to end for my state. It wasn't the job I applied for (I work for a phone company who happens to also own the tv distribution network in my state) and I've had close to 30 jobs in the last 20 years in just about every field. Funnily enough all the jobs I chased after were disappointing and all the ones I fell into by accident were the good ones.

The good news in terms of creative work like filmmaking and writing is that all life experience can be brought to bear. Each job will teach you something about the world. And filmmaking is so all-encompassing that pretty much anything you do will give you skills you can bring to your filmmaking. An office job will teach you business skills that will help organisation and pre-production, a sales job will help with marketing and distribution. A technical job will bring a familiarity with tools, logical troubleshooting and reading technical sheets. Service professions will expose you to a wide variety of people and develop your social skills. No job you do will be wasted.

You can't go wrong with a trade. Electrician will probably be the most useful if you want to do something that will directly help with film industry ambitions. Carpentry, metalwork useful too. With a trade in your back pocket you'll always be able to find work and have a good chance of working for yourself one day.
that's what I'm thinking, I really don't think nursing will be useful to me whenever I start my freelancing/film career. But nursing is very reliable to get a job and it pays well for gear. Electrician sounds nice because I'm about to start investing in some lights and I have no idea if it's going to blow up my house or not.

David W. Jones
05-28-2012, 08:06 AM
When you say stay in school, do you mean stay in school for film or stay in school for another career? And to tell you the truth I haven't seen one thread with that title

Not film!
A business degree will go a long way in any field, but my niece just graduated nursing and was hired by a hospital making good money.

Try doing a search for... What to charge, or how much to charge.

Agrafagr
05-28-2012, 03:49 PM
nothing else needs

NBside
06-04-2012, 06:11 PM
I agree...a business degree would be clutch.
That way, whenever/if ever you decide to go into business for yourself, you will have the knowledge and the experience to run a successful business. Not only will you learn how to manage a business, but you will learn a lot about finance, marketing, sales, and dealing with people. All of those skills are vital for anyone trying to run an independent business relating to film or production (or any business at all for that matter).
I dont mean to sound gushy here, but don't be afraid to follow your dreams. I mean, of course... be smart, and be safe, and make sure that when it all comes down to it, you're taken care of. You can pay rent, groceries, and the bills.. but dont be afraid to get out there and do whatever you can in your spare time to make that dream of being a filmmaker a reality.

At your age, I know your early life decisions are often heavily influenced by your parents. Hell, we all went through it. I was very fortunate when I was your age, to have parents that truly wanted me to follow my dreams and chose a career path that made me happy. That support and belief from them made me much more confident and satisfied when pursuing my career path. Just like with any career you choose (maybe with the exception of healthcare) you will always struggle when you're first starting out...but I can honestly say, that had my parents not been as supportive as they were, I might never have had the man beans to get out there and pursue the career I always wanted.

Like I said...think of a career path that will not only help you get that stable 9-5 job after school, to pay the bills and play it safe, but also choose something where your experience and education will help you in the long run to being able to turn your passion into a career.

Good luck!

JoeJITSU
06-14-2012, 01:28 AM
Go for your Degree!!
I graduated in Electrical Engineering. I worked a while for Fujitsu, Qualcomm and Sony but really got burnt out. I then went through a investigations course for century college, I ended up with a friend who hired me in Loss Prevention. At this time in 1995 I just started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes....In 2003 I was a District Investigator for Home Depot. I then stopped and started teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu....I got injured with a back injury with 2 tears and 3 knee surgeries, Dr's said that I shouldn't go back to my passion. All this time, I have been doing Videography since 1989 with my Dad...He passed away and I turned to my next passion........Videography. Now it is our family business again and it is quite successful. We are the Exclusive videographers for the Jackson Family and have done many other gigs with such names as, Metta World Peace, Mike Posner, Academy Award Winner Leon Gast, Manny Pacquiao, Big Sean, P Diddy, Kelly Rowland and many Directors as well. The Moral of this story is... Go to school and do what you love...You have a whole lifetime ahead of you that will put you through "the crossroads"....Later on in life you will do something you truly love. Peace

Victor Nhat Nguyen
06-14-2012, 02:31 AM
degree in what Joe? filmmaking?

ernesttx
07-17-2012, 08:21 AM
Hey Victor,
My passion started out with animation, computers and video when I was a teenager, circa 1985. I grew up making films with my cousins and an 8mm camera. Then, when computers came into being in the 80's and early 90's, I was hammering away on my Amiga making short animation clips. I knew what I wanted to do early on, but the technology wasn't there. I was good with computers; so, I had that to rely on my entire career; but, I never lost my dream.

When I got out of the army (as a way to explore the world), I went to The Academy of Radio and Television Broadcasting in Phoenix and after graduating, landed a job in the "video business". My first job was duplicating VHS tapes part-time. But, hard work and determination finally made me a videographer and editor there. During the next 3 years, I used Betamax cameras, Avid's first non-linear editor and Sony just came out with their first DV camera, circa 1995-96. The internet was just starting out. I could see the future of computers and video merging and knew that the time had come to set out on my own.

So, during the time in between then and now, I taught myself film techniques, acquired equipment, learned different software programs and honed my skills. I also worked a myriad of different jobs; but, they all related to video and computers. I did this in order to have my resume reflect a history of industry related jobs. I also found out what it was that I enjoyed doing with video. It was editing. It was putting all the pieces together and making something out of nothing. Animation is a big thing for me, too, as I love to draw.
Currently, I still work a 40 hour job (with computers and databases) but I enjoy doing video work with other people. Right now, with the advent of technology, the tech side of video is not so much of an obstacle as it once was. The creative side would come from within you as you find out what aspects of video you enjoy. However, as many have pointed out above, there are people skills, business skills and professional skills that you will need to develop along the way.

I'm in Austin, TX. If you like, drop me a line at ernesttx at yahoo dot com. I'm always up for chatting about film and video. Chao.

Chris Adler
07-17-2012, 08:29 AM
Did you ever tell us what your dream is?

paulears
07-17-2012, 08:54 AM
If you become a medical profession, retaining video as a hobby while you complete your training, then you could end up with a specialised skill set. Medical video makes an interesting combination. Diagnostic imaging they call it now - so a video person with medical skills could be a niche you could find plenty of work in?

I'm not sure how it works in the US, but many people here in the UK are advising people to get a job, earn money, and then, if you want - do university, because we have far more media graduates than there will ever be jobs for.

unadog
07-17-2012, 10:00 AM
I have an undergraduate degree in Photography (Fine Art) and Philosophy (with a concentration in Logic.)

I started working with digital imaging, then got an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems in 1991.

I am disabled now. I worked from 1991 to 2007 on both fine art (my own studio) and on digital imaging systems. I created a number of high end digital imaging systems, with proprietary image acquisition, storage, manipulation, and recovery (viewing) systems. Multi-million dollar systems with up to 10,000 users, etc.

The things that I value most are my "Liberal Arts" education - Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, etc., that taught me critical thinking skills. Along with the computer skills that I first learned on my own, then got a "certification" with my MBA, and some serious business expertise through the MBA and work experience.

All three sets of skills - critical thinking, business, and computer - are quite necessary in todays world. As a career, image making is vastly changed with the digital revolution. While the tools are wonderful, the "low end" of the business, where a person starting out could have a reasonable career for 10 years while becoming a true professional, is almost gone.

Low ballers, bottom fishers, people with no understanding of business are giving away their work, totally undercutting the market for reasonably skilled, young profesionals.

Find a good way to make a solid living, whether that is in nursing or another area. Be prepared to put a lot of energy and a lot of years into the profession berfore you are at a place where you could think of making a living.

Learn cutting edge, new skills as thoroughly as possible. That is the primary value that you will add coming out of school, or being new to the field. Experience has a real, deep value that takes a long time to gain. If you don't have that, new technology can get you in the door as something "some" old's sometimes don't have and need.

Don't underestimate the value of having a car, a house, and a family if those are important to you. The "starving artist" gig - which I did until I was 29 - is way over rated! (But I was bicycle racing and doing triathlons almost full time, which is even less lucrative than image making, if you can belive it) :)

Good luck!

Michael

ernesttx
07-17-2012, 10:43 AM
@Snazzy Flapper - Well, after seeing the award winning movie "UHF", I've dreamt of having my own television station/studio. :P Ok, so, not really going to have a TV station, but, in the coming year I'll be putting together my own production studio (somewhere between Austin and Houston) that will act kind of like a backlot for independent filming, a greenscreen studio area, special effects, pyro, etc. Plus, with the advent of video streaming, I'll be setting up a couple of different internet distribution channels. It will be a place to hangout, learn, network and create.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
11-29-2012, 10:05 PM
Well here's an update for those who care. I'm changing my degree from Nursing to communication... am I crazy?

Kegan
11-30-2012, 08:16 AM
Yes, you are. What do you expect to get out of a communications degree? A communications degree won't give you a "stable" job - at least not one anywhere close to the stability of a nursing one. It sounds like you're going for the safe, easy, fun route in school...which almost always doesn't translate to being beneficial in the real world.

You don't need a college/university education to be successful, but if you are going to pursue a degree - make sure it's one that matters.

Kegan

Victor Nhat Nguyen
11-30-2012, 12:14 PM
Yes, you are. What do you expect to get out of a communications degree? A communications degree won't give you a "stable" job - at least not one anywhere close to the stability of a nursing one. It sounds like you're going for the safe, easy, fun route in school...which almost always doesn't translate to being beneficial in the real world.

You don't need a college/university education to be successful, but if you are going to pursue a degree - make sure it's one that matters.

Kegan

My friend did a communication degree at the University of Houston and he were able to get an internship at the Rockets and later get a job for Houston Dynamo and he's now working at Astros. I'm hoping to be able to gain an internship by getting a degree in communication

ELN614
01-31-2013, 04:06 AM
Victor,
Let me add to don't pursue video as a career.
Great your friend's internship lead him to Astros. That doesn't mean you'll have the same luck. Get a nursing degree and hope your video skills will have you doing medical based videos on your days off.
When I started my company there were 12 companies in the yellow pages. Now closer to 60+. at the same time people/companies use to call a video company to shoot and edit their video. Now with technology they can shoot the video with their $250 video camera and edit with their $100 editing software. I have lost several clients to this technology progression. Example: I used to photo to videos (thousands of dollars a year) and that business dried up to zero. The only way I see a video company succeeding in the future is graphics and animation skills for special effects videos that are commonly seen in TV spots.
I work in three niches but one has eroded over the past 4 years. Although the others are flourishing but all the demand is at the same time period and overlapping which makes it impossible to take on new clients without risking your business reputation by hiring a person to service those new clients.

my 2 cents

Vladi
03-19-2013, 02:58 AM
I don't think you should study film or production, I did and regret doing so, but I don't regret pursuing a career in production, I'm happier than I have ever been and I make more money than I ever expected to. You know that saying "do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life", that's how I feel now and its great man, don't give up on your dream, do what is necessary now and slowly work towards what you love, don't listen to people who tell you not to pursue your dream, I had lots of people telling me I was wasting my time, now they tell me how much they envy what I do. Most of them are just pissed off they didn't have what it takes to make it through the hard times.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
03-21-2013, 02:07 AM
I don't think you should study film or production, I did and regret doing so, but I don't regret pursuing a career in production, I'm happier than I have ever been and I make more money than I ever expected to. You know that saying "do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life", that's how I feel now and its great man, don't give up on your dream, do what is necessary now and slowly work towards what you love, don't listen to people who tell you not to pursue your dream, I had lots of people telling me I was wasting my time, now they tell me how much they envy what I do. Most of them are just pissed off they didn't have what it takes to make it through the hard times.

Thanks Vladi, I'm not turning back anymore, I'm gonna do what it takes to make it in this business. Like you said I think it's all about pushing onward. Sure, there might be many people doing the easy stuff like operating camera and editing clips. But how many know how to light, work with audio or create awesome visual effect? I think if I keep working and improve my skills in niche area then I'll be able to make a living.

On a side note, you have great wedding works.

yohenk
03-21-2013, 02:18 AM
Travel.

Daomay
06-16-2013, 03:20 AM
I only post in the FS700 section but I though I share my dream with you.

Great question. I have 2 business and 3 cars. I love my wife and kid. Love my job as a business owners and I am lucky because I make enough money to feed the family. I bought the Fs700 for myself before my 34th birthday because I have alway wanted to pick up a real video camera and see where it might take me. It has been 7 months since I had it. I can tell you now...if I knew shooting film or learning about film was this much fun I would have started at a very young age. Don't think about money think about for the next 10 years. If making film is where your heart is at....you already have the answer. Remember youtube, vimeo and this kind of community is all you need to learn about film or being in the film industry. Once you have your answer....get out there and shoot anything or everything because you can only get better. I could be wrong but when I have my Fs700 in my hand I am happy.


I look back at my life and I have alway love to film and this is my journey. I don't film for money I just film what I see that is beautiful. I hope you make the right choice because if i could start all over again I will choose passion over money.


https://vimeo.com/67507190

paulears
06-16-2013, 10:01 AM
The entertainment industry in general is so quick to change, has lots of short term fads and there are always people straight from college waiting to undercut you and take your work. My own son just took one of my long term clients, because he's cheaper than me - and clients with their shrunken budgets make financial decisions. He is now working more than me. I get asked for my advice, my opinion and all sorts, but often now, the real work goes to people who work for peanuts. Would I do the same career path again? No!