VBlog: When Film School Isn’t an Option

I received an email today with a few questions about what to do when you wanna go to film school but can’t afford it. Yes, I know this question too well since I asked myself it a few times. I’m on the journey as well so I answer this question from my personal experience.


Hillsong Youtube Channel

Hillsong College – media program

Blink of an Eye & The Art of Editing Film by Walter Murch

Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Also check out: Rebel without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez

My Last Day at The Rock

I had no idea what I was stepping in to. I applied for the job only because I had no where else to go. I questioned God often, “Why am I back here in San Bernardino? There is nothing good here!” I saw it as a place of broken dreams.
He soon began to open my eyes and made His way to my heart. The ironic thing was that I hated my city but my new church loved it. I couldn’t understand why.
When I moved in to the video department God began to show me why He brought me back. I was at The Rock to learn, to work, and to observe.
I started to see it was people that my church loved. And I was one of them.

My church is indeed a light in dark city. I see it as a place of hope, a place that restores the broken and saves the lost.
I thought I was there to make videos but as always, God had a bigger plan.
Tomorrow will be my last day and its going to be sad. I will miss the little details about my day, walking in the break room making jokes with my co-workers, having surprise creative meetings in the lady’s room.
Pastor Deborah, who is the most courageous woman I know, wrote me a letter that melted my heart. To think, she believes in me. That alone makes me tear.

If you are a creative person, you know how often people look at your strange. If you are a dreamer, then you really get that look. You are the outcast, you are the odd ball.. but here at The Rock.. they looked at me with belief in their eyes and with confidence. Their look reminded me that, “All things are possible.”
I want to share with you the card that Pastor Deborah gave me.

The card it’s self is a list.

Ten simple things to remember:

1. Love is why you are here.

2. The most important day is today.

3. If you always do your best, you will have no regret.

4. In spite of your best effort, some things are out of your control.

5. Things always look better tomorrow.

6. Sometimes a wrong turn will bring you to exactly the right place.

7. Sometimes when you think the answer is “no”, it’s “not yet.”

8. True friends share your joys, see the best in you, and support you through your challenges.

9. God and your parents and we, will always love you.

10. For all your accomplishments, nothing will bring you more happiness than the love you find.

And it’s so true.

Though I am moving forward in my career, the love that I found here at The Rock is what I will remember most. It was a job that gave me room to grow, had confidence in my creativity, taught me patience, taught me leadership, management, taught me how to communicate to people. It taught me everything I couldn’t have learned at a school or in a book but it was experience.

Though the road for me up ahead is unclear, I can trust in God because when I thought I was on the shelf and that I wasn’t being used anymore. God placed me at The Rock and gave me a purpose. And I know once again God will place me in a good place. Where I can once again grow more, impact more, teach more, and do more.

So I encourage everyone, no matter where you are at, it’s not forever, so appreciate it while it last.

The Rock Church and World Outreach Center is located in San Bernardino, Ca with over 24,000 members and fed over half a million people in 2011. Last year, over 12,000 people dedicated their life to Christ at The Rock.

First Name Problem, Last Name Solution

I heard a poem on a podcast a month ago that has since stayed with me. I found it fascinating and powerful.

I’m the reality of your every day life. I am many name, many faces, many shapes, and forms. I come in every size and color. I am blamed for more failures than anything or anyone else. I am no respecter of person. I do not play favorites and I never choose sides. Within me are invisible seeds of greatness and immeasurable fields of frustration. What you chose to do with me will make you better or bitter. The people that don’t want me the most inevitably have the most of me. The great paradox is, that I will never go away. Yet I can show anyone a better way. Without me there will be zero chance of success. In fact, I am the driving force behind all achievement and progress. The better you get a dealing with me the better you, you will be. Its not a matter of if you will face me but when you will face me. And with that, let me make you a guarantee. I will be in your face everyday. I am the one thing in your life that has the potential to help you think bigger, be better and do the impossible in every area of your life. Unfortunately, until you met me everything is fine and like most people say “It is what it is.” Those people by the way do not know the power I have to make their potential a reality. The most important thing about me you need to know is that I am waiting everyday to be used by you, or in worst case scenario to be used against you. Who am I? I am your Problem. And in case no one ever told you, my last name is Solution.

In 2012, I’m not sure what’s going to happen and where I will call home. I know that I am doing what most have only dreamt of doing. I will start my journey to become a film editor. This poem has encouraged me and hope it helps you as well.

You can hear the complete podcast and series from The Abundant Life Church in England here.

7 Questions with an Assistant Film Editor

I’ve been looking to connect with a female film editor for years. After all its my dream job to edit a film.
Kim is an Assistant Film Editor and on her newest project she is an Apprentice Editor.
When she sent me back the answers, I was blown away at her insight. She gave me  a lot to think about.

-Thank you so much Kim for taking the time to answer my seven questions.

Here we go:

Kim Huston, Assistant Film Editor

1. What responsibilities does an Assistant Film Editor have?

In my experience the Assistant Editor on a feature film is very much the Editor’s right-hand-man. The Editor relies on the Assistant to keep them up to date and prepared for the work ahead.When you give them the dailies for that day, the Editor assumes everything is accounted for and error free because it isn’t their responsibility to check. Check for errors or inconsistencies, or sync issues in dailies, then organize in the most sensible fashion, and keep everything consistent in your method. Your main goal as an Assistant Editor is to make life easier for the Editor.
The AE is also the one in contact with production for receiving footage, and paperwork, and whatever else they need to send. So keeping up to date with them is important. They get caught up in their busy day and sometimes forget to send things and it’s easy to lose track of what came in and what didn’t. The paperwork upkeep is necessary for the Editor to properly work as well. It will slow them down if new footage has come in, but the current line pages and facing pages aren’t there to accompany.
DVDs and digital files get requested all the time by the Director, Producers, distributors and marketing, Mixers and VFX houses, etc etc.  So the Assistant Editor makes all of those happen as well.
It’s a lot of providing and appeasing, while always having your Editor’s back and working as a team to make things work. It’s an interesting, but fun relationship to have with someone. It’s like being on a capture the flag team of 2! Strategize and work together!

2. What have you found to be the best training in becoming a film editor?

The best training I’ve found for becoming a Film Editor is to do TONS of projects on your own, so you learn the craft and aren’t bogged down by technology. Watch a lot of movies! You should know your craft and what other people are doing. And read theory books, especially by Walter Murch. He has such a smart and eye opening (haha, Walter Murch book reference joke) way of explaining his choices and methods of editing.
I’d say film school doesn’t help a whole lot, but that’s probably not true of the top schools on the two coasts as compared to mine in the midwest. Going to school with teachers who are actively working in the business, who have connections and offer you jobs is SUCH an advantage. The other part about doing, watching and reading ensures you’re good enough to accept the job offers from your great school connections.

3. Have you ever had to work on a project you were uncomfortable with?

No, I haven’t worked on anything that I was uncomfortable with. Some things I wouldn’t personally watch or enjoy, yes. Nothing offensive.

4. What makes a good editor?

I think a good Editor can define a project, but knows they’re working on someone else’s baby and doesn’t overshadow. A good Editor will know what “style” the project calls for and it’s not about showing off. A good Editor can drive the story, and should. A good Editor adds to the story instead of takes away, covers up, or pulls back the curtain to reveal every cut.

5. What are film makers and directors looking for when choosing an editor?

In a perfect and professional scenario, Directors will look for a person who 1, they can get along with and is a team player and  2, will successfully pull off their vision. I think they look for a creative partner in crime.

6. Sometimes on credits next to the editor I see A.C.E. What does it stand for? 

The A.C.E. stands for American Cinema Editors. It’s not a union, but more of an honorary cool kids table.
(There is a different union) I call it the “cool kids table” not to be flippant, but because it’s where you want to be, and you have to prove yourself to get there, and then you get to show off your fancy new suffix. It seems a bit coveted. The rules of admittance sound a little like those of an ivy league school. But I fully admit to aspiring to be able to join one day! It’s all about getting to sit with the awesome people at lunch.

7. What advice would you give to a FCP video editor who would like to transition in to film? (me haha)

Well there are plenty of films cut on Final Cut. I’d say learn Avid too. You wouldn’t want to NOT get work because of the program you use, so know them all! Otherwise, my advice is meet people specifically working in features. I’ve learned… very slowly… that it’s ALL about who you know and just a piece of paper with your qualifications gets you nearly nowhere.

— so good, Kim you are awesome… 🙂

Connect with Kim: