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How to interview for creative video positions

There have been a lot of factors that have been forced me to think about and look at resumes lately. I’ve been doing a lot of intern interviews, and Siggraph had a bunch of panels about how to get a job / a better job. It’s also that time of the year that I get my reel together so that I don’t end up going 3 years without updating it. All of those things have been brewing, and I figured I’d share what I’ve learned and seen. This is more a list of more things to do than not to do, as it’s just too easy to do the opposite.



  • Reel


•Put your name and full contact info on the first and last frame as well as on EVERY SINGLE THING you hand out. Make it easy to contact you!

•Feel free to include a long form piece, but know that most people will decide based on your reel.

•Pack the good stuff at the front. If we have to wade through 60 seconds of garbage to get to the good stuff we won’t end up there.

•Pick content and music that is non-objectionable. No one wants to send around a reel with offensive content. That doesn’t mean water it down, but don’t put gory or explicit things in there unless you really know your audience.

•Even if you are building a site to host your reel, still upload it to vimeo. Do NOT make a site with crazy menus or flash. DO make it iphone compatible.

•Avoid letterboxing / litterboxing whenever possible, and make sure your reel is as technically perfect as you can get it.

•Put content on your reel that applies to the specific job you are applying for. If not, then don’t bother applying.



  • Interview


•Know what position you are applying for, and think up questions about specifics.

•Learn the ins and outs of the company and think up questions that prove you did.

•Get as much background as you can on the people you will be meeting.

•Do whatever you can to show that you are eager, well trained, and intelligent (i.e. think up questions!)

•Know when to wrap it up. If they like you, they will like you after the first 5. Don’t change that by making it 45.

•Send a follow up to say thank you. Try to include something memorable that you spoke about so they have a reminder of the interview. If you actually want the job, hand write it and send it in the mail.

•Have a career focus, but don’t be afraid to be flexible. Say you want to edit, but be willing to take the tape room.



  • General


•Be true with yourself about what you want to do and where. This is important. They smell desperation. Find your love and follow it.

•You are infinitely more likely to get a job through a person you know, even if it is a loose acquaintance. Ask your friends, ask your former bosses, and ask your enemies.

•NETWORK! Join linkedin and get connected. Stay in touch with former coworkers. If you help them they’ll help you.

•Go to local user group meetings.

•Go to NAB.

•Go to Siggraph.

•Find out about all of the players in your area so you can “talk the talk” if given the chance.

•Offer to help, however you can. Help out on a student film, help out filming a music video. Get your hands dirty and you’ll keep making contacts.

•In general, try to flatter the people you meet with. Ask them about how they got where they are, ask them what they suggest you can do to get into the biz. People are self-interested, so try to align your self-interest with theirs.


Now is a really tough time to be finding work, but there is always work out there. Keep your head up, keep applying and networking, and most importantly KEEP LEARNING. There is a possibility that other people are better-qualified than you. Only you can change that, and all it takes is drive.


Got any other job seeking or interviewing tips? Leave them in the comments!




Posted by: Ross Daly on Jul 8, 2012 at 7:33:41 pm shortcut
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long filepath terminal trick

I work at a pretty big company, and we have pretty big servers, and sometimes a producer will send me a filepath that is well over 10 directories deep. That’s just too far for me to look at the email and then hunt and peck my way deeper and deeper until I find it. Here are two ways to do that faster.


The simplest way is to copy it and hit shift-command-g in the finder. Paste your filepath in there and hit return. There are a few ways it can get messed up, including if it doesn’t have the proper /Volumes/… prefix or if it uses spaces or non-escaped characters in the name. But try it. It works sometimes.


The other way is to open up terminal and type ‘open ‘ and then paste in your filepath and hit return. That ought to open the directory in finder for you.


For both ways you need to make sure you have a directory not a file, and escape characters can cause trouble, but it can save a ton of time if successful.


For a bonus mini-trick: dragging any file into the terminal window will show you its filepath. Super useful if you are pointing someone else to it.



long filepath terminal trick Republished by Ross Daly

Posted by: Ross Daly on Jun 22, 2011 at 12:34:15 pm shortcut
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Hello all, this is my little corner of "the cow"! I'm a vfx artist and I work in final cut, nuke and after effects. I love finding workflow hacks, and I'm always looking for a new keyboard shortcut! For more posts check out You Down With FCP
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