Surviving Post-production

How to Get Into and Survive Film, Advertising and TV Post-production – The Alternative Guide

ABOUT

Klaudija Cermak is a visual effects artist working in London’s Soho. She has over 20 years’ experience in film, advertising and TV post-production. Her credits include Gladiator, Harry Potter, Troy, Virtual History and numerous commercials for major brands.

 

This blog took a disproportionately long time to set up considering the fact that I work in post-production but it is no news, at least to my family and friends, that I am no technical guru which I usually apologise for with the statement “I’m just an artist”. This should also be no news to most of my colleagues who like me can replace heads and airbrush anything and everything and yet can’t get the TV monitor to work when the client walks in. The excuse, usually, being “Somebody must have replaced the remote because this one is not working.” Some tasks just don’t seem essential enough to learn. I remember one of my boyfriends complaining about me not being able to make a soft-boiled egg “just like his mum” and me crying “I can’t be good at everything”. Ok, it is already obvious that this blog, just like the book, may sometimes venture out of post-production and into the real world.

The blog follows the book ‘How to get into and survive Film, Advertising and TV post-production – The Alternative Guide’ published on 27th February 2012 on Amazon, a Kindle Art and Reference bestseller within 24 hours. By the way, you don’t need Kindle to read Kindle books.

The blog is aimed at those dreaming of entering the post-production industry as well as those already in the industry.
The book answered the questions that students asked me following my master classes on post-production over the last few years at London universities.
The blog will answer the questions the students haven’t asked me.
Like the book I expect the blog to be quite eclectic covering anything and everything to do with post-production as well as offering additional tips and tricks on a wide range of subjects from post-production workflows to compositing tricks.
Blogs’ advantages over the books are that the communication is very much two way and more or less instant.
The disadvantage of this blog is that I have no editor.
Ask questions, give answers, place comments, get advice or give some and let’s get the industry moving onwards and upwards!

 

 

7 comments on “ABOUT

  1. Vicky Smith
    09/03/2012

    Quite an interesting read but whilst I guess it is a bit tongue in cheek (I hope) there are plenty of issues raised. Is the industry really so bloke-based? Surely there are more women working in this industry now? What about animators (creature or character) there is no mention of those. Are they kept in cupboards and brought out when there are creature heavy films starting like John Carter? What do they do afterwards, apple picking in Kent?

    What happens to people in this industry when they become “senior” do they retire to Devon to paint watercolours of cats on cushions? I would love to know at what age this is and also what about anyone who is naively self-training via online courses (obviously talking about myself here). I am an experienced tea-maker but try as I might, am not a cute young hipster. Is this really an industry where you can’t re-train and start later in life at 40, 50 or so?

  2. Clouds and Ivy
    10/03/2012

    Dear Vicky,

    The answers to your many questions:
    1. “Is the industry really so bloke-based?”
    Skillset – Women in the Creative Media Industries
    2. “What about animators?”
    Film post-production facilities expand and contract their workforce on a film by film basis.
    On a creature heavy films they will look to recruit the animators from both the UK and outside UK to fill the seats and the artists are usually contracted for the duration of the film.
    If you look at VFX credits on John Carter you will see that the names of the artists are truly global.
    IMDB – John Carter
    The contract may be rolled into another one if there is another creature heavy film on the horizon, otherwise one has to seek a contract in another facility that has one.
    3. “What do they do afterwards?”
    Ha ha ha, apple picking in Kent doesn’t sound so bad. Well, if you are lucky you roll from film to film.
    If you are unlucky you may have gaps between the projects and if you can’t sustain yourself in those times you may have to take a temporary contract abroad.
    4. “What happens to people when they become ‘senior’?”
    I must say your ideas are very appealing, Devon and watercolours! We don’t really know yet. The industry as we know it today is only about 30 years old.
    5. “Starting later in life?”
    I always believe in pursuing one’s passion, so if you have a passion for animation go for it!
    Of course, if you are a sole breadwinner with parental responsibilities the answer to this question may be more complex. It all really depends on one’s circumstances and aspirations.
    More insight into the UK animation industry here:
    Skillset – Animation Sector Profile
    Hope that helps.
    Good luck!
    Klaudija

  3. Vicky
    11/03/2012

    Klaudija, thank you for taking time answer my list of questions and also for the information given here. Kind regards, Vicky (although I noted your point about the global crew involved in John Carter and will have to think about changing my name by deed poll immediately for something more distinctive/exotic/noticeable.

    • Clouds and Ivy
      11/03/2012

      Ha ha ha, please don’t. You have a lovely name. I am sure you will do very well. Best Klaudija

  4. Jon White
    19/03/2012

    Hi Klaudija,

    As above with Vicky I found the book a great read as I am debating whether to step into this industry as a compositor/colourist. I am also a career changer so a bit older (mid thirties).

    I had a few questions as well:

    1) You mentioned that full time is the way to go rather than freelance, which I can see definitely – escape studios said most jobs are freelance, so are there areas which have more full time positions?
    2) What is the best route to becoming a colourist, do you become a compositor and then move across?
    3) Did you mean the industry is ageist in the ‘Too Old to Work’ part, I wasn’t sure as you mention above that the industry hasn’t been around long enough to tell.
    4) Is advertising more stable in the sense if the uk film tax breaks were withdrawn the work would still stay here?

    • Clouds and Ivy
      19/03/2012

      Dear Jon,

      Just so you know, mid thirties is young!
      1. Most of the jobs in film are on a six months freelance contracts. These contacts often roll over to another contract.
      The reason for this is that different films have different requirements.
      Of course there are permanent jobs in film too, as the facilities keep core teams on a permanent basis.
      There are more opportunities in advertising for a permanent job and sometimes this is also down to luck, being in the right place
      at the right time. Escape Studios have a very good track record in placing their students into the industry because of their close links with the facilities and high quality of courses.
      2. If you would like to be a colourist I wouldn’t go down compositing route. Compositing is far more complex than grading.
      People will kill me for saying this, but I have always thought that grading is so overrated, maybe because it’s my forte and I find it really easy. It would be a better combination to combine editing and grading. Quite a big demand for editors that can grade too.
      You have few options really:
      a. Get into a facility as a runner and try to work your way into a TK department – may take too long.
      b. Learn Color or DaVinci – Soho Editors are running the courses and they can be quite affordable, as Skillset sometimes subsidises them. Then do some work for free to build the showreel with real jobs – some of the free jobs are advertised on Mandy and then you can go after the paid jobs.
      Even if you don’t wish to be an editor I would advice you to take a short FCP course.
      3. The whole society is ageist! However this is not something you need to concern yourself with now. In 10-15 years maybe.
      4. Advertising is more stable but the most stable in my opinion is Digital and TV.
      Hope that helps.
      Good luck!

      Klaudija

  5. Jon White
    20/03/2012

    Thanks so much Klaudija, very positive and helpful!

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