On August 13th, the Blue Collar Post Collective conducted a town hall style panel discussion in Hollywood on the state of mental health in post production. The panel was live streamed on YouTube, and the archive is available to watch.
Mental health is a very important topic, but we don’t focus on this discussion much within post production. We’re in an overworked industry that doesn’t prioritize self-care. Creative people are by nature more likely to suffer from mental illnesses (and commit suicide at a higher rate than most people) so it’s important that we keep ourselves in check and watch out for one another. During the panel, people working in the field (and a licensed therapist) addressed these topics, and more.
Panelists included assistant editor Natalie Boschan (Empire, Shooter), online editor/assist Chris Visser, dailies colorist/assistant editor Kira Prince (Jane the Virgin, Allegiant), and licensed marriage and family therapist Shayne Vitemb. The panel was moderated by finishing editor/post engineer Matt Christensen (Blue Giant).
This summer, I launched the west coast chapter of the Blue Collar Post Collective, a grassroots nonprofit organization that seeks to support each other and emerging talent in post production. We have regular social meet-ups in Hollywood, and our first educational series has been about the human side of post production. Our first panel on making post more inclusive was moderated by me and can be viewed online.
Last week, a young woman on Twitter told me she had read an old blog post I wrote and immediately related to it and needed more information. The post, titled “Professional Fears”, was published on February 5, 2010. As a recent graduate, she told me she was being held up with exactly what I wrote about and wanted to know how I moved past it.
My initial reaction: wait, I’ve moved past those fears? Says who? I’d forgotten all about this post and hadn’t read it since I wrote it and sent it off to the internet six years ago. That’s not to say I haven’t been in the throes of job-related fears ever since. Of course I have. Everything is scary and loud and I have to make my own doctor appointments and pay bills and everything.
Each year, the American Cinema Editors holds a student editing competition in which students are provided the same set of video dailies they must edit into a short. The submissions are judged by a panel of professional film editors, with three finalists invited to the formal and fancy ACE Eddie Awards held in LA in January. One student recieves an Eddie award among the crowd of high level editors also being honored for their work on the year’s biggest and best movies and television shows.
For the first time, one school swept the finalist nominees for the award. Not a school in New York or LA, but University of North Carolina, School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC.
This was not an exciting year for the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas.
But that’s okay, because the “exciting” stuff isn’t what affects post production workflow the most. At least not immediately. Some “really cool” products that make a big splash on NAB Monday might slowly assimilate into the mainstream of post production over many years.
Some new cameras will start to gain traction a year or so after they’re actually released. Hot topics like virtual reality are new and exciting, but still relegated to an odd mix of specialists and dabblers trying to figure out what it all means. We won’t know what those things really mean for years.
When I moved to Los Angeles, “show my art in a gallery” was as much of a realistic goal as publishing an autobiography or being including in Forbes’ “30 under 30″ list (there’s still time!).
So when I saw the Art of Post event featuring art created by post production professionals in Los Angeles and New York, I knew it wasn’t just a new idea, it was necessary. And that’s why visual effects producer Lauren Ellis decided to put this event together with assistance from her company The Molecule, which has locations in both cities.
Do you hang out under a tree during a lightning storm? Do you perform a checksum every time you copy important files from one place to another? If you don’t have an equally strong opinion about both these questions, it’s time to learn about checksums: how they work, how much you can trust them, and how this technical task can save a creative person from certain doom.
(Note: this blog post ended up connecting me with a young woman doing an X-Files documentary who interviewed me in New York.)
I could safely fit three episodes of The X-Files on one VHS tape in Long Play mode.
And I did. In the late 90s and early aughts, I collected and categorized episodes in much the same way one would arrange a mixtape. Some episodes go together chronologically, others go together thematically, but maybe a few belong together instead? In the endless stream of new episodes and nightly reruns that existed when the show was running full force, I built a collection of bootleg tapes and created customized labels for them from low resolution stills I found online. In the prehistoric pre-streaming media internet, this was the only way I could preserve and re-live my favorite moments in the series.