What skills do I have? Where can I improve?

At the moment I think I am improving slowly in my all round game. As I have mentioned I don’t have a set career path so I try to improve all aspects of what I can do. Whether this is in camera work, editing, sound production or pre-production skills and logistics planning.

Pre-Production skills:

I think and a few would agree, that one of my strongest areas is working within pre-production which means planning a shoot, time management, working with clients etc. I have shown this over many projects including short films where I have done the majority of work when it comes to casting, planning shoots and locations, managing meetings etc. I have shown this in television production modules working as producer of a 20 man team which included working with directors, talent, the production team, editors and contributors. Working as an ambassador in Marketing has introduced me to many people up and down the country from all walks to life with my main aim of being professional and keeping good face of the university and myself.  My soft skills in these areas are greatly improved and certainly when in the university bubble its at the standard.

Unfortunately though when I graduate I won’t be in the university bubble and I will have to work on my own or for clients and businesses. One of the things I haven’t yet experienced is being a runner for a television programme or higher caliber productions. I would be lying  to myself if I had concerns about how I would act in circumstances such as running or manning a desk or that kind of front of house admin type of thing. Although I am capable of being professional and many have said, there has always got to be some doubt…

Production skills:

My Production skills are always improving. I can work and use a variety of cameras which I have used for many productions. I have used all types of production kit such as tracks, dollys, tripods, jibs to effect. I don’t think I’m a master at these by all standards but I have used them in multiple productions.

My camera work is the biggest area I need to work on. The technical aspects such as ISO’s, shutter speeds, over exposing footage etc needs improving  but more and more actively I am working on these areas. I think knowing also why these things happen and trying to understand the best way to get the best footage out of my video production. Ideally I want to keep improving and get to the limit of what I can do technically with my camera and these things need working on. On the plus side though my work gets actively approved by my place of work and since I have began working there, the work and trust keeps coming along which to me is a sign of good.

One of the things when I graduate though is also having experience with other cameras and ideally I would like to use cameras which are quite popular with video and corporate style video production too. For example the Canon C300 is one of the camera skills people are looking for when looking on sites like mandy.com for example. I have used this camera very briefly when on a placement but I haven’t sat down with it simply because I don’t have too much interest in camera work in general but having the skills for employment might be the difference in getting the job or not.

Other cameras I would also like to have been in a production with is one with a large format camera such as a RED or an Arri, having experience either on a production, assisting or running might also look better on a CV than not.

One other aspect is photography, usually I don’t do photography but whilst in marketing a few people have asked whether I do this or not. Most of the time I have said no I don’t because it isn’t my field but I am thinking about looking into it, even if it’s just real, basic, still good, photography.

Post Production and Graphics:

I would say as a video editor, I’m okay, I can put video together, think about what I am doing, music, basic stills graphics but I still can’t do anything fancy yet which might use different software like After Effects. In terms of After Effects I do a few basic things, mainly for stabling shaky footage but I can do basic text graphics, blurring – mainly just different things I have picked up on the go, or things I have seen and wanted to learn about. I haven’t had projects where AE has been needed dramatically but knowing a few things and exploring this may also help when getting a job.

Photoshop is something else I have also started learning more about. I can’t do all the advanced sort of things but making basic graphics and titles I have and can do.  Again this does need improvement and I am working with over the year to improve all round.

Also I have never opened Final Cut Pro. I’m an Adobe kind of guy and I love the workflow and management between AE, PS and Premiere for my videos. However this being all well and good most graduate jobs require Final Cut Pro editors and so, I need to start having a look.

My focuses this year:  

I’d imagine this list would change over the year but here are the things I feel I need to improve on or get on my CV:

1. Create a good showreel – Production

2. Become a capable, unfazed  camera operator – Production

3. Gain better knowledge and experience of Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro – Post

4.  Develop a strong, diverse CV to support it all with a few “big names” on there – Pre Production

5. Come away with a 1:0 Degree

So here are the things which I want to have gained when it comes to May next year when I start looking for employment, honestly I think they are all reachable targets this year and will defiantly give me an ‘ideal graduate’ persona.

Secondary focuses:

Here is a list of secondary objectives I feel aren’t quite as important as the list above but would defiantly improve myself:

1. Get feedback on my work from peers and others

2. Work on big name projects and placements

3. Develop more on social media and online presence – i.e don’t ignore LinkdIn etc

4. Work on other areas outside video, for instance, photography, writing, journalistic, web feed, other things which may stand out

5. Stay focused  confident and professional

Well…actually some of the these are quite important but I still stand that the main focuses are my main but it all remains is the importance to be strive for the perfect media graduate.

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