Specs Howard School of Media Arts Blog

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    Life Lessons From The Field: Justin Baker

    Posted by Abby Cook on Mon, May 5, 2014


    "Don’t be discouraged by the challenges.  After school it may take some time to find the job you want, or you may have to settle for something that will lead to the job you want, just make sure to stay positive and keep at it! " -Justin Baker


    We caught up with Specs Grad Justin Baker, Senior Editor and Videographer at Wedit, and he gave some great advice for working in the media industry.


    Where do you work and what do you do there?
    I am the Senior Editor and Videographer at Wedit.  I create video content and manage our freelance editor team.  As well as editing videos when we do not need to use our freelancers.

    How did you get started working where you are now?
    I was a freelancer and working within the family of companies already.  This led to an easy hire.


    Did you participate in any internships or volunteer programs? If so, what effect did it have on jumpstarting your career?  
    None while at the school.  However, I did have an internship at Quicken Loans on a new video team.  It led to the great position I have now.


    What advice would you give a student currently attending Specs Howard?
    Don’t be discouraged by the challenges.  After school it may take some time to find the job you want, or you may have to settle for something that will lead to the job you want, just make sure to stay positive and keep at it!


    What was the most important thing you learned at Specs?
    How being organized can save you so much time and effort.


    What is the secret to a successful collaboration with a director?
    Be organized.  Also, and it depends on what you are shooting, help out with the shoot.  Being on set can give you a bigger idea of what the director is looking for in a finished product.


    What is your favorite part of the editing process? What is the worst?
    Best - seeing the finished product.  Worst - going through 90 hours of footage to find clips for a two minute project.


    Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your video editor expertise?  
    Edit in your free time.  Go online and find awesome videos you love, go home and shoot (even if it's just on a smartphone) and try and replicate.  Sometimes you’ll learn so much just from that.  Practice makes perfect.


    What is your biggest accomplishment in editing?
    Personally my biggest accomplishment was one of my first at Quicken Loans, a national commercial for Moosejaw.


    What are the top 3 traits or skills every videographer must have to excel?
    Detailed.  Organized.  Creative.


    Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your videographer expertise? 
    Just go shoot.  No matter what it is, just go out and shoot.


    What is your preferred type of camera?
    DSLR.  More specifically, Black Magic Cinema.


    What is the best advice to give someone who is just starting out in the freelance world?
    Be organized.  Sometimes you have to work around your full time job and that can require planning.


    How does someone get started in freelance? What is needed? 
    It certainly helps to have a video reel online.  Most of the time people want to see what you can do or what you have done.  So even if you are just shooting your cat in the backyard, you should look at it as a way to showcase your abilities and skills as a videographer and editor.  After that, just search the web.  There are plenty of websites dedicated to freelancers and people looking for them. Career Shift is a good site that Specs provides.


    What are some good marketing strategies for new freelancers?
    Network.  As a freelancer you may have to work with other people you don’t know.  Be sure to get names, be professional, and be on time.  They may have future jobs for you or may recommend you to others based on their experience with you.


    Where does someone start networking to get my name out/gain clients?
    Social Networking.  It’s a great way to meet others in the field.  Sites like Linkedin and Twitter can help you connect with others who are in the same shoes.


    Tips on being a successful freelancer?
    Always be early and always be professional.  Don’t call people “guy” or “dude”, be sure to learn their names and always be polite, even if they aren't your favorite person.  This could be the difference between you getting the future gig or someone else.


    Pricing tips? Flat rate vs. hourly?
    Search competitors. Call them and ask, that always helps.


    What do you find most challenging in your position?
    Dealing with what is possible versus what a client thinks is possible.


    What has been your biggest flub or mistake you’ve made in your job?
    Forgetting to put in footage or moments that a client may ask for.  Not paying attention to the details only causes extra work later.


    What are some common misconceptions about the business?
    That you can walk in, find a job, and be good with little effort.


    What future trends do you see in your industry?
    From an editor’s view, just the software.  It seems like instead of having three or four programs to push out a finished video (Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Speedgrade, Divinci Resolve), it will all be done on just one program.  From color grading, to special effects, to editing.  As a videographer, the trends are in the cameras.  A few years ago they could only shoot in 1080, now we have 4 and 6k.


    What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face to get to where you are today?
    Not getting the job I wanted right away.  Having to take a smaller job to get to the big one.


    If you are interested in additional Specs Howard graduate stories, visit the Graduate Stories page by clicking here.

    Every Specs Howard School of Media Arts graduate has a story to tell.  We collect new life lessons from the field as often as we can.  If you are a graduate and have a story to share, visit our website, and drop the Career Services department a note to let them know what you are doing. We love hearing from our graduates.


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