From the Assistant’s Chair: Sell Your Crap!

So you’re at the local drive-in, sitting in your hot rod with a swell filly named Loralane, and you’re necking her like there’s no tomorrow. Then the roller skating waitress glides up to your car and asks if you’d like the Moon Over My Hammy special, and Loralane says she won’t go to the box social with you this Saturday night unless you get her some grub.  But you reach in your pockets, pull them completely inside-out until a moth comically flies out, and it indicates to both Loralane and the roller skating waitress that you are not only broke, but you’re too poor to even afford a wallet to not hold the money you don’t have in the first place. Then she goes off with Butch from the Green Cobras on his dirt bike, and you go crying home while “Earth Angel” by Marvin Berry ominously plays from a mysterious location in the distance.

You know what your biggest problem was? That’s right, associating with those dastardly Green Cobras in the first place! Second biggest problem? You need a bunch of money! Well, if you’re in charge of your own post-production company then you are bound to have a ton of out of date equipment, because this industry is a constantly upgrading, uphill climb. And the higher you climb, the harder it will become to keep carrying all of your old stuff that you barely use anymore. So sell it!

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From the Assistant’s Chair: Communication Breakdown

Here is a chronicling of my life in terms of communication skills: I was born in 1984, George Orwell was incorrect about the future, and I had little to no communication skills aside from crying a lot to get what I wanted. Elementary school in the early 1990s came next. I was good at expressing myself, perhaps too good. I would often get bored with mundane activities and verbally tell the teacher so. Let’s just say that I would often explain to my parents that my poor grades were because “my teacher hates me!” (something I still stand firm behind today). Later in summer camp, probably about 1992 at the age of 8, Ashley Vinanek would tell me she likes me, and while her friends held me down in the ball pit of a Discovery Zone, she kissed me. I very loudly yelled “GROSS!” because of some insane childhood disgust with girls (i.e. cooties), and she hated me for it and didn’t talk to me the final 2 weeks of the summer. Perhaps brutal honesty and poor communication were at play, or just a lack of knowledge that having girls hold me down and kiss me wouldn’t be common in the near future, needless to say it could have been handled better.

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From the Assistant’s Chair: The Little Things

This is an ongoing study into the mind of an assistant editor, and the various small tasks he is assigned to.

An editing facility is a lot like an underground fight club. Except it’s cleaner. And more work gets done. And there aren’t any fights. It’s actually nothing like an underground fight club. But that would be awesome if it was.

Aside from misleading people with opening sentences, an assistant editor has many responsibilities that go beyond actual editing work. It’s these little things that are required of the job that not only make this place run infinitely times smoother, but they are also the reason that clients keep coming back. Having this delusion that these minor things are the most important aspect of the office is important in not only ensuring that you keep doing them, but it also boosts your ego and enables you to brag about your job to attractive women at parties.

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Entering the Third Dimension!

Have you ever seen one of those movies where the kid from Montana, fresh off the farm, goes to Hollywood because he has dreams of becoming an actor, because he was the best actor in his 75 student high school’s rendition of West Side Story? Then he gets to Hollywood, with his suitcase and his cowboy hat, and he’s walking down the street wide eyed and astonished at all the bright lights and weird people that inhabit the area, and he doesn’t know what to do with himself or where to begin? Well, I feel like that farm boy, except instead of going to Hollywood I’m using Cinema 4D, and instead of seeing freaks everywhere, I’m looking at complex menu screens and lots of buttons that I have no idea what they do. I mean, look at this interface, it’s scary for someone with no background in 3D to open this program!

A decision was made by the high council of elders, at their shrine resting on the peak of the volcano, that I would be the chosen one to learn how to use a true 3D program. But I have no experience whatsoever in this area. This is my first job in this industry out of college, and to be honest, I didn’t even use something as basic as Photoshop a single time while I was in college! Let’s just say the most experience I had working on 3D was when I watched WALL-E a couple months ago. So I was nervous at the thought of learning this program, but at the same time excited at the possibility of what I could potentially do. I suppose the purpose of this post is to show you what it’s like to first delve into a 3D program if you have no idea what you’re doing, and possibly how it’s not as scary as one may think.

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From the Assistant’s Chair: Dealing With Unwanted Guests

 This is an ongoing study into the mind of an assistant editor, and the various small tasks he is assigned to.

Let me ask you a serious question; when you are editing a project and sitting in deep thought, contemplating what to do next, how many times do you think about purchasing a new line of make-up, and more so, how many times do you wish that someone would personally come to you while you are working to sell you that make-up? If your answer was higher than zero, then maybe this post isn’t for you.

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From the Assistant’s Chair: Making DVD Labels

This is an ongoing study into the mind of an assistant editor, and the various small tasks he is assigned to.

There was this heavyset kid in my high school who constantly had stains all over his shirt.  It was disgusting; it was as if he never washed his shirt.  Food stains, drink stains, dirt stains, indescribable stains, whatever they were they were all horrifying.  One day someone started calling him The Venus CrapTrap.  Then everyone started calling him The Venus CrapTrap.  Then rumors and jokes started to form around him being able to statically attract filth to himself, as if he were able to walk into a room and all of the garbage in the room would fly across the room and stick to him.  I’m sure it didn’t make his life very easy, as everyone had this unfair perception of him based on his filthy shirts.  I happened to eat lunch with him a few times, and he was an all right guy.  He was just unimaginably lazy.  But he was really smart, interesting, and an all around likeable chap.  But he had the label of being a horrifying beast based on his external appearance.  Now you see where I’m going with this?  DVD labels are the same way, the content on the disc may be awesome, but if the label is trash, it will put people off from the whole thing.

By the way, Mike (The Venus CrapTrap) now works in a warehouse.  I know you’d like me to say he’s now better than all the people who used to put him down, but he is seriously one of the laziest people I’ve ever met.

I make a lot of simple DVD labels for clients around here, in a program called Discus.  There are a few do’s and don’ts, and I’d like to share a few tips to make sure no one is giving your label a bad label.  

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