Friday, August 17, 2007
Loves Company

Right, so, where was I?

I'm finally back to 100% today -- I woke up this morning full of energy and ready to get some shit done this weekend. The bad news is that now everybody else in the house is sick. It's an ugly, ugly scene. I'm feeling so good, though, I can afford to take some small delight in it -- to this day, whenever I skip work because I'm "sick", my mother still gets that flicker of doubt in her eye. But let's see if she still doubts the truth of my claim from her spot on the sofa, watching Rachel Ray and groaning, running for the toilet three times an hour, eh? Heh!

I fell behind on things while I was down, though, and I can't afford to fall behind any farther. I actually doubt that I'll be able to afford another sickness at all in the next six months, so I hope two bouts of stomach flu within six months is a pre-emptive strike against future disease. I don't think it works that way, though.

I've been contemplating my options once I hit the ground in Portland. The first order of business, obviously, will be to get a job -- any job -- to stop or at least slow the nasty sucking noise coming from my bank account. I have a little cash in the bank, but not enough to be complacent. The first six to twelve months will be dominated, I'm sure, by minimum-wage unskilled work and temp jobs, and quite likely more than one of the above at a time. And that's cool, I'm up for some of that. But it's no way to live your life -- someday I would like to be able to afford an actual bed, like, one that isn't filled with air, one that stands over the floor instead of lying right on it. I'm not going to get there on less than $12/hr. And I have resigned myself to the absolute necessity of procuring some kind of editing computer as my first nonessential purchase -- that's not going to be easy.

But those things will work themselves out in time. My larger concern is trying to imagine what kind of life I want to make for myself, in a place that should be somewhat more amenable to my line of work than this one. Portland has a good deal of media activity, which seems to center on advertising, which is fantastic -- ads are the work of Satan, of course, but making them is the most fun thing ever. In fact, if I had to choose an area of the media industry on which to focus my efforts (setting aside art documentary, which doesn't count since that's more of an expensive hobby than a career path), I would be very tempted by advertising. The jobs are short, intensive, well-funded, and often technically interesting as well. The only things that might be more fun are music videos, and ads and videos are so close conceptually that there's often a lot of overlap. Which is to say, where do I sign up?

The more pressing question is in what capacity I might try to climb aboard the Portland media scene. I've been thinking for a while now that postproduction is probably where I'd be happiest in my working life -- I love the rest of the process as well, but when working for others, all I really want is to be given a task or a project and then go away to a dark little room to work on my own. Not that I expect to start off that way -- I anticipate that the early stages of any career path will involve me swallowing my pride on a regular basis (and hopefully nothing else), but that's where I'd like to end up.

But god almighty do I have a lot of catching up to do. I know how media works, both theoretically and practically; I know the major elements of postproduction and how they fit together, and I know how to edit (though a good mentor could probably open up new worlds.) I sorta-kinda know about sound design, to the point that I rarely cock things up horribly, but I lack that certain spark that might actually make me useful. Image manipulation is beyond me, my understanding of broadcast standards is woeful, and we won't even bring up the subject of visual effects.

So there are a lot of things I need to hustle to get up to speed on. I don't need to be an expert at all of it, but I need to be competent, and I need to be able to speak intelligently about every possible aspect of postproduction so I can talk to people who are experts without embarrassing myself. I need to learn ALL the software to a reasonably advanced level -- FCP is no problem, but I need to learn Avid, I need to learn Pro Tools, I need to learn the various CG and motion graphics programs, compression software, mastering software, web apps, and probably a crapload of other stuff I haven't thought of. I need to brush up on video standards, and god knows I need a better handle on time code.

Which is to say, I've got a lot of work to do. And it's not like there's a book on this stuff -- there are books, but even those are only so helpful. Experience is what I need most, and hopefully access will be easier in a city with a functioning media sector. A lot of this I could pick up on my own once I was exposed to it, and for the rest, I'm a good self-teacher. I'm starting late, and from a devoted but patchy background, but I'm sure there's a way to get there from here.

If anybody has any suggestions, though, I'd love to hear them.
1:20 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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