OPENING DOORS: MARKETING YOURSELF AS AN EDITOR
By: Roberto Cardenas
You can’t always rely on previous employers to land a new gig. To help you get yourself in front of a new audience (and make a good impression when you get there), we have put together an easily digestible list of tips:
Do some market research…and keep doing it regularly.
· Check out what your competition, mentors and idols have been up to. The skills they are demonstrating in their recent projects can tell you where you may need to shift focus. The companies they are working for may help you build your hit list for the next job. Their presence online may give you some ideas for how to market yourself and home in on your own value proposition.
· Bookmark industry news sources. Anything that will help you build your craft through education and build your network through knowledge of key players. Then, put a tickler in your calendar to read them at least once a week. If there’s an email subscription, sign up so the news comes to you when it is ready.
· Don’t leave before the credits. People move around a lot in this industry. When you are watching something in your genre of expertise, read the credits at the end. You will be surprised how often some guy you knew from a job five years ago played some part in making the project. When you see their name, a quick “Hey man! Just watched “The Vow’ on Netflix – blew my mind. Saw that you were a supervising producer on that. Very cool. Would love to catch up sometime and talk to you about the behind the scenes on that one!” That little pat on the back and show of interest could be the lead to your next job.
Actively seek out referrals the RIGHT way.
· Don’t only check in when you need something. “Ugh. Rob’s calling me again. He must be looking for work.” Want that to be the reaction to your phone call? Didn’t think so. Make a list of the people that can help you, then make a schedule for contacting them somewhat regularly to share some news, set a plan to meet up, or to simply check in on their wellness. Even if you are not “buddies,” check-ins to let the person know they matter make the check-ins to ask for referrals more palatable.
· Give more than you get. Whenever you can, refer people for whom you can vouch as much as possible – including other editors. It will make them warm up to passing your name along as well. And, now, let’s back up to the two underlined parts of that sentence. 1. Don’t risk your reputation on people who will prove to be a let-down. It’s just not worth it. 2. Even though they may be competition, editors are usually hired in teams. If you refer them to your team or a project when you are booked, they are more likely to do the same for you.
· Meet your contact where they like to be met. Know your audience and give them what they want when you reach out. Give the busy executive a quick text. Try your chatty line producer a phone call. Offer to grabbing a beer with your editor buddy. Show some class and buy that executive producer a quick lunch around the corner from HER office, not yours. The more you meet them on their comfortable ground, the more receptive they will be to you and to helping you network.
Shake some industry hands (or these days, bump some elbows).
· Know what industry events your colleagues, competition and employers attend…and attend them too. You aren’t going to magically be in the right place at the right time. That guy who happened to lean up against the bar next to that gal that gave him his big break? Odds are, he paid a registration fee to be there.
· Read up on key attendees and speakers of the events you attend (back to market research!). That will help you know who to proactively look out for and help you figure out what to say when you find them.
· Don’t be shy. If you don’t introduce yourself, the odds go down to zero that you will say something stupid or get brushed off. But, if you don’t introduce yourself, that lost new contact will help you get zero jobs. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
· Come prepared to chat. Here are three tips to doing so: 1. Know your personal logline. How you introduce yourself and talk about what you do will set the stage. 2. Walk in with 3 engaging stories in your pocket. This will help you keep the conversation going if there’s an uncomfortable lull. 3. Have open-ended questions on hand. People are very interested in themselves. If you can get them talking and show interest, the conversation will flow and so will their confidence and regard for you.
Make sure you have that demo reel buttoned up and easily available for viewing.
· Keep it short at 1-2 minutes. Any longer, odds are they are only going to watch the first one or two minutes and the rest is wasted.
· Front-load your best stuff. You never know how rushed someone is or how short of an attention span they have. Assume they will only watch the first 15-30 seconds (thanks, Tik Tok) and get the good stuff in there.
· Make your transitions crisp. You will be showcasing a variety of unrelated projects, so you should purposefully create transitions so the viewer can follow the jumps from project to project. You can even get creative in your transitions to demonstrate your editing prowess.
· Include all of your talents. Are you the gal that places epic music cues, creates unique graphics, or blows minds with visual effects? Then show us. Include the variety of the type of work you do so the breadth of your capabilities can be seen.
· Consider having more than one demo reel. If you work within multiple genres, consider having a nuanced demo reel for each one. Someone looking to hire an editor for a serious drama may get distracted by seeing too much comedy in the reel. A network executive approving an editor for a feature rom-com may second-guess your sensibilities if there is too much reality or documentary work on your reel. And, so on.
· Make viewing your demo reel super easy. Upload your demo reel to an online platform that allows for easy download and/or viewing by someone with just the link. If your contact has to log in (or worse, create a login), they may never watch the reel.
· Showcase yourself visually on one or more popular platforms. Doing so will give you a calling card to which you can direct people AND so that people looking for someone like you can find on their own. (#editor)
· Follow the people that you want following you. They didn’t follow you right after you followed them? Like and comment (genuinely) on their posts…or get right in front of them with a DM telling them about your editing style and asking them to follow you and keep you in mind for projects. Again, nothing ventured…
· Have a presence on LinkedIn. Yes. It’s not necessarily where the creatives are hanging out…but it is where the executives are checking references and networking.