: walter biscardi's Blog
I’m fortunate that I get the opportunity to speak in front of many groups and recently that’s been more high school and college students. No matter what the discussion is about, we always spent a lot of time talking jobs and networking. Because we’re all so digitally connected it should be easier to network, at least that’s what they think. Twitter, Facebook, Forums like these on the Cow and Google Hangouts, that’s all you need to build a reputation.
Not really. Folks hire who they trust. We trust who we meet. We trust those who have met you.
A college student the other day said, “So not necessarily the most talented person for the job will get the job?”
I said no, the person who gets the job is the person we feel most comfortable with. He said, “That’s not fair.” Absolutely correct. It’s not fair in the least.
When you think about this industry, who is hired depends a LOT on how you fit in.
Most companies, like my own, are pretty small. In my case just six full time people. So I have to consider how you and your personality fits in with those around you so as not to upset the balance. One bad apple in the mix and that could bring the entire company down. Yeah, you need skills to get a job, but more importantly, you need to ensure to your employer you’re going to fit in with the company “vibe.” Might be corporate, might be laid back, might be punk, whatever it is, your skill set AND your personality / attitude will determine your employment and career path.
There’s no other way to build up your reputation and skill set than to get out and meet people.
People ask me all the time how I got to know so many major folks in the industry. It started out by giving a lot of helpful advice on the Cow Forums. Then I started going to NAB each year and many of the companies who liked what I was writing sought me out. Then I started seeking out others that I really enjoyed on the Cow and other forums I read. Within my own town here, I attended User Group meetings, some after hours events and so. Not even necessarily in my industry, sometimes just Chamber of Commerce type events because you just never know who you’re going to meet. And I was just myself at every event, greet everyone with a smile and a handshake and show genuine interest in what they had to say. In other words, just being a nice guy.
When my company started in 2001 I had built up a tremendous network of folks in the local area who referred me for work, referred me for technical support and set up issues and a whole myriad of things. Just because I treat folks well and am always here to help. But I got out there and still get out there as often as I can to get in front of people.
That was the whole reason I wanted to get an Atlanta User Group up and running so badly. To create a place for creatives to share some knowledge and more importantly, share business cards and conversation so you can get to know each other. Personal relationships lead to referrals which can lead to working on one of the largest blockbuster films in 2013/2014 as the 2nd Assistant Editor. True story and it happened because two folks met at an Atlanta Cutters monthly meeting.
If they don’t both get out of the house, introduce themselves and share business cards a major career opportunity is missed.
I’m very passionate about folks getting out from behind avatars, putting down the mobile device and actually congregating together to discuss this craft that we all love so much. Honestly live training even trumps networking events. While the instructor has a set outline to walk through, inevitably the conversation turns to “What If?” or “Have you Thought About…..” and those tend to lead to some of the most incredible creative discussions. I learn more from those questions than anything else. Sure you can try to ask something like that on a chat forum or hangout, but you’re competing with folks who can type faster than you. Dialogue, human dialogue, will get you more jobs than one liners during a digital chat.
You bond with the folks around you, share business cards and when the need arises, you just might call each other for work. Has happened to me on multiple occasions both as a student or the instructor. We’re in the room together, we can get a gauge on personalities, what the person is really like and whether you’d actually recommend each other for work.
That just doesn’t happen via avatars. How many times have folks accused you of being “mean” or “angry” when in reality you thought you were being funny. Your voice made it sound funny but the words on the screen just didn’t translate. That generally doesn’t happen when you’re together. I see your face, I hear the inflection in your voice, I hear the delivery of the words and there’s little chance for confusion. There’s also a great opportunity to take the conversation in different directions than it would if we were just talking digitally. We don’t have to wait on that typing delay for a response.
That’s why I’m so proud to be associated with my Atlanta Cutters brethren and being part of a creative event that I don’t think has ever been done. I look around and I see training events that are either uninteresting, overpriced for what they are, or look interesting but cater to “elite” and have very elite prices to boot. I’m all for bettering myself in the creative field and meeting interesting artists but I’m not going to blow multiple mortgage payments to do it. We just decided it’s time to put on a training event that’s both worthwhile of your time and reasonably priced. The Atlanta Cutters are non-profit so we’re just about breaking even.
Through all of this live networking those of us in the Cutters have done through the years, we literally had a huge group of friends to call on and participate. Now you have a chance to not only take workshops and meet these guys, but to hang after hours, go to dinner, have lunch, sit around the bar, whatever. Then throw in all the creatives around you and in one weekend you’ll make more connections that you would probably make in a year via social media.
You see it’s not just about the actual people you meet directly. Those people will then turn around and introduce you to even more folks, just like you’ll do the same for them. Again, it’s the trust factor. I met you, I understand who you are and what you’re about, I like what I see, I’ll pass your name along to other folks. I have met SO many people incredible folks like Scott Simmons, Al Mooney, Robbie Carman, Pat Inhofer and Jesse Averna. Folks who were introduced to me by other people in my networks. People like Shane Ross and Jerry Hofmann whom I was introduced to originally on Creative Cow forums I then became good friends with by meeting up at NAB. It’s that personal connection that makes all the difference.
It’s so much different than getting an email, a Twitter DM or even a phone call. Nothing takes the place of live, face to face communication and networking. That’s why the Los Angeles Creative Production User Group, the Boston Creative Production User Group and the San Francisco Cutters, who graciously let us borrow the Cutters name, are such inspirations to the rest of us. They have created communities and ecosystems that help locals meet other locals and in turn share knowledge and connections. We originally planned to stage a Supermeet Atlanta but those guys are so incredibly busy we just couldn’t make it work, so we came up with our own version, the Atlanta Creative Ball which mixes a bit of the Media Motion Ball and the Supermeet together. Yet another tremendous way for creatives to network with other creatives and have the opportunity to win some really cool prizes like a Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Parties are yet another great way to get out there and meet folks.
So going all the way back to that college student. Life is not fair when it comes to the creative industry. You have to make your own luck, you have to make connections and you have to make a LOT of connections.
Only takes one or two to really kick your career into high gear, but getting to that right one can sometimes take a while. So take advantage of any live networking and training opportunities in your local area. Gain some knowledge and get connections. Show people who you really are. That’s how I landed my dream gig on “Good Eats.”
Started out by responding to a call for assistance on one of the Cow forums. The person I met liked me, my attitude and my talents. Turned out he was the DP for Good Eats. Because he met me, he felt comfortable introducing me to Alton Brown to discuss a concept he had. That led to 5 incredible years working for one of the most talented folks in all of television. Answering his questions on a forum would have solved his problems. Meeting him in person took my career into an amazing direction.
If you’re in the Southeast, I encourage you to at least attend the Atlanta Creative Ball, Oct. 26 in Atlanta, which is NOT a formal event.
It’s a party with a full dinner, drinks (cash bar), Ron & Kathlyn who founded this Creative Cow, Keynote by Filmmakers the Diamond Brothers and the Raffle worth almost $30,000. $75 with code ATLBall2013 http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/ http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/
The Southeast Creative Summit is just an amazing three days of all things creative, Oct. 25-27, for $449 with the code creativecow2013. Or you can attend a Single Day for $149 (Friday or Saturday). Your chance to hang with Oscar, Emmy and Peabody award winners and other creatives just like you. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/
Both events are just tailored made to get you in front of other folks and get your network growing. Heck come to Ball and we can get your equipment list growing!
So you say you can’t make it out to Las Vegas, Amsterdam or San Francisco for the annual Supermeets? Well the Atlanta Creative Ball is bringing that awesome Raffle and Party experience to the Southeast! This is going to be one heck of a party for creative professionals get to cut loose, swap knowledge and war stories and have a chance at some awesome prizes.
On Saturday night, October 26th, we invite you to come enjoy Dinner, Drinks, Networking with your fellow Creatives,
Meet up with folks from Blackmagic Design, AJA Video Systems, Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, Mocha, Screenlight, Axle and a whole lot more. Oh and you just might win something in one of the largest creative raffles we’ve ever had in this city!
This is a party y’all. You just come as you are and we’ll supply the fun. Seriously, this is NOT a formal event, it’s a just a good old fashioned fun time.
You need a new camera? A reference monitor? Editing software? VFX software? Collaboration tools? We got all that and more in the Raffle! Everyone gets an equal shot at a prize from nearly $30,000 worth of technology, so you just might walk home a winner!
Seriously you need to SEE this raffle! http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/raffle/
We welcome our very special guests, Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom, the Founders of the Creative Cow! If you’ve searched for information about anything creative for the past 12 years or so, you’ve probably found an answer on CreativeCow.net
We welcome our Keynote Presenters Josh and Jason Diamond, presented by Blackmagic Design. The Diamond Brothers are filmmakers from New York whose work is varied and wide ranging. Many know them as the “Share It Maybe?” directors with the iconic Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
Just for good measure, here's a code good for $10 off admission! ATLBall2013. Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Courtland Street. 6:30 - 10:30pm.
I'll be there ready to have some fun. Hope to see you there too!
SINGLE DAY TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE for the Southeast Creative Summit. The Atlanta Cutters has a limited number of single day tickets available for either Friday or Saturday, Oct 25 & 26. Just $149 each. Admission includes the 50% savings to the Atlanta Creative Ball.
Can still get all three days for just $449 with the code creativecow2013
The Southeast Creative Summit will be 56 workshop sessions over 3 days. In addition, we'll feature the first ever Atlanta Creative Ball, an awesome social night of food, networking, sponsor showcases and of course the Raffle which is approaching $30,000!
Never has so much information been so easily available to so many than today. Right here on this very site are literally MILLIONS of tidbits of information, nuggets of knowledge and full blown training products ready at a moment's notice. For the bulk of what we need to know in this industry, this information is invaluable. Especially when we're getting started with a new tool, knowing how and which buttons to push is the information we need to get us past "launch this tool."
But when it comes to the creative side of the industry, well that's better served in a communal setting. Sure there's things like Google Hangout, but there's nothing like being in the same room, the same space with other like minded individuals to bounce ideas back and forth. It's more organic and yields better results when you're actually face to face looking at the same screen, the same document, listening to the same audio.
I know when I work alone in an edit suite for too long, I lose a sense of "just how good is this thing." I love the collaboration of bringing in another editor or 2 or 3 or more and saying "look at this" and just hit play on the keyboard. No introduction, no anything, just "look at this." As soon as playback is over it turns into a natural discussion that covers everything from the sound to picture to text to graphics and whatever else was, or was not, on the screen. We always need that extra set of eyes and I find it most collaborative when all those eyes are in the same room bouncing ideas and looking at the same thing.
It's the same when it comes to creative training. Put 20 people in a room discussing green screen lighting for a while and you're going to end up with one heck of a discussion. Not just 20 avatars sharing text, but physically in a room where you can actually get up, move the lights around, move the cameras around, try techniques, share knowledge and so on. Now put 400 creatives in one location going all manner of workshops covering a wide range of topics and suddenly you have a HUGE knowledge bank all sharing and bouncing ideas in person, in realtime. Beyond the workshops there are the early morning coffee and breakfasts, the lunches, the evening dinners all which will lead to knowledge sharing. I see this every single year at NAB and it's one of the things I really love about that event. We just basically talk shop non-stop for four days and it's incredible how much knowledge you walk away with in that short of time.
This love of personal collaboration is one of the reasons I helped start the Atlanta Cutters User Group two years ago and why I was so excited when we came up with the idea for the Southeast Creative Summit. Yeah it's fun to converse via Twitter, Forums and Google+ but it's so much better to actually shake hands and swap stories. Of course when we started this concept, I never dreamed we have an Academy Award winner, Emmy winners, Peabody winners and more leading the workshops at the Summit, but it has happened. So not only do we get to hang out with each other at the workshops, the coffee shop, at dinner, but we get face to face time with some absolutely amazing industry icons.
Sure it's convenient to just be an avatar and hang out virtually with folks, but man it's so much better to hang with real people. So get off the couch, come out from behind your computer and get out there. Network with REAL people. Shake some REAL hands. Get to know the people in your neighborhood and around the block. If you own a company, in many states, like here in Georgia, you can get tax write-offs for sending your folks to seminars and workshops.
May I humbly suggest you start at the Southeast Creative Summit? October 25-27 here in Atlanta and only $495 for all three days with the code creativecow2013. Well actually it's only $449 with that code through Saturday night, Sept. 28th. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/
May I also humbly suggest the Atlanta Creative Ball on October 26th with a raffle over $26,000 and counting. You can meet the Founders of CreativeCow.net, Ron and Kathlyn Lindeboom and meet our Keynote Presenters Josh and Jason Diamond. http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/
We received an inquiry today from a corporate client asking if Certificates of Completion for the Southeast Creative Summit would be available for Attendees so that employees would receive re-imbursement for their expenses at the event. While some companies will pay outright for their employees to attend a workshop event, others have the employees pay out of pocket and then re-imburse the employee upon receipt of a completion document or certificate.
The answers is absolutely we will have a Southeast Creative Summit Certificate of Completion available for those who require them for re-imbursement and anyone else who would like to have one for their files.
Great question and if you have any more, please contact us at info at atlantacutters.com
As previously announced, Yonder Blue Films will be leading two workshops at the Southeast Creative Summit and these are a MUST attend for anyone who is considering adding aerial photography to their arsenal. There is a LOT you need to know, both legally and creatively, before you take the plunge into this emerging field of production.
An Introduction to Aerial Photography
This workshop is a MUST for anyone considering aerial photography. Ben and Will have been flying for over a year and they will introduce you first and foremost to the the rules & laws of flying which is one of the most confusing aspects of aerial photography. From there they will get into the gear & variations in flying machines. In other words, you’ll know what you need to know BEFORE you get into aerial photography.
Aerial Photography 101
Yonder Blue Films has been all over the country shooting with their quad rotor unit. Will & Ben will offer tips and tricks for flying and shooting. What you should and should not do. If it can be arranged in the hotel, we’ll do a demo flight at the end of the workshop.
You can view Yonder Blue Films incredible work on their website: http://www.yonderbluefilms.com/
The Southeast Creative Summit runs October 25-27 in Atlanta, GA with 56 workshop sessions covering all aspects of Production and Post. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/ Early Bird Tickets are only $495 with the code creativecow2013
but those sales will end on Sept. 25th.
The Atlanta Creative Ball will happen Saturday, October 26th with a raffle that is already over $26,000. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com
Atlanta's not just southern fried food anymore y’all!
The Southeast Creative Summit is happening Oct 25-27 in Atlanta, GA
One of the coolest things about Atlanta is that it’s such an interesting town for all ages and all interests. It’s not just “Tara” and “Gone With the Wind” anymore. From incredible cuisine to amazing theaters to all manner of attractions, there’s something for everyone here.
Ok, first of all, the Sheraton Hotel (our host for the Summit) has a gorgeous New Orleans themed indoor pool area with a retractable roof. Lots of space to lounge about and with the roof, rain won’t interrupt your “pool time.” There’s two full service restaurants and a 24 hour coffee / snack service with a beautiful bar overlooking the pool. For those of you who live in the Atlanta area, the Sheraton is a great “stay-cation” destination too!
Most folks think barbeque, fried chicken and all manner of southern cooking when you say Atlanta. But how about Ethiopian, Indian, Pakistani and all sorts of fusion cuisine? I’m a huge foodie and have experienced some of the best meals of my life in and around Atlanta. Queen of Sheba Ethiopian is a personal favorite. The Vortex (pictured above) in Little Five Points is both a gastronomic and visual delight. “Better Burger Joints” are popping up all over town with their own spins on the classic American fare. Rosebud is a classic from chef Ron Eyester and features my favorite High Road Craft ice cream. Tuk Tuk is a cool Asian Fusion restaurant with the best snow cone dessert I’ve ever had. If you’re a foodie, there is so much to eat and see beyond “southern food.”
For attractions, you start with the largest aquarium in the world right off Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium. It’s not just a big building, it’s unbelievably stunning. Definitely save the underwater tunnel and the “Big Tank” for last. It will take your breath away both from the sheer size and when the whale sharks first swim by. They are amazing. Come out of there, walk about a block and you’re in the World of Coca Cola. Taste flavors from around the world, check out the memorabilia and my favorite part, see the commercials from everywhere. Some very creative stuff being produced in all parts of the globe. For serious thrills, Six Flags over Georgia will be open on the weekend with plenty of roller coasters to get your adrenaline flowing including Goliath. A hidden treasure for you Jim Henson and Muppet fans is the Center for Puppetry Arts which houses some incredible works from both Henson and Children’s Workshop. I could go on but we have more links in the Area Attractions page for you to check out. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/
If you like live theater and concerts, there’s something going on every weekend in Atlanta. The Fox on Peachtree Street is a classic Baroque theater that hosts both live shows and movies and sometimes has tours on the weekends, well worth it. Dinner theater, comedy standup, traveling Broadway shows, live concerts are available all over the city. Just check out the online ticket sites to see what’s playing that weekend.
So beyond just coming for the Summit and the Atlanta Creative Ball, bring your other half, bring the family and enjoy the City of Atlanta as a mini vacation with something for everyone. We’ll see you there! http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/
Walter Biscardi, Jr., Co-Founder, Atlanta Cutters
Atlanta Creative Ball announces the Keynote Presenters: Filmmakers Josh and Jason Diamond, presented by Blackmagic Design. They'll be chatting about their latest Sesame Street project shot with the BMCC and they'll be joined by Sesame Street editor, Jesse Averna.
October 26th, Atlanta. Raffle already over $20,000 and includes a Blackmagic Cinema Camera among MANY other prizes
. Going to be an epic and awesome night!
A continuing series to get to know your Southeast Creative Summit Presenters. In this episode: Scott Simmons!
How did you get started as a freelance editor?
I was an assistant editor after film school back in the early 2000s. The advent of Final Cut Pro and affordable Avid software (as well as DV!) gave me the confidence to try freelancing. I freelanced for 7 or 8 years before going on staff at a Nashville post-production house. I stayed as a staff editor for 6 years before returning to freelancing in April of 2013. The ability to assist for several years meant I was able to meet a lot of people and make a lot of mistakes. I was also fortunate to work with a lot of good editors who were happy to teach. Now days I try to do the same.
Can you tell us about a creative challenge you’ve had in an edit recently? How did you overcome it?
Last year I had a series of 30 second spots that supplied nearly 14 hours of footage. Massive amounts of footage isn’t unusual today but this was an unusually large amount of footage for a short edit. Luckily I had an intern available at the time who was able to do some of the initial logging of the footage but for me a large part of the job was logging. I was diligent in logging the footage and using a combination of subclips, notes and comment in the bin, a star rating system and clip colors to to get through it. The properly logged footage meant it was easy to sort and find footage but as I was cutting alone but, more importantly, when the director and agency was in the edit with me.
As a freelancer, you work on all types of projects. How do stay organized when the needs of each project are so different?
I tend to approach all my jobs the same way: First talk with the director and get an idea of the project and what their vision is as well as what they experienced on the shoot. Next it’s watching the footage, organizing the footage and making notes on the footage; all before starting to cut. At that point it doesn’t matter what type of job it is as you’re approaching them all the same. Of course once you start to really build a cut your mindset will probably be different from a music video to a corporate piece to a documentary. But if the editor is organized within the NLE (and maybe on a notepad as well) and familiar with their footage they can easily move between different type of projects. We’re working outside of Hollywood here so it’s often necessary to be able to cut different types of things.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given during your career?
It’s hard to pin down one specific piece as being the best advice I was given but I think one of the most important was the advice to pick something in the film / video / tv profession and focus on doing it to the absolute best of my ability … and that was editing. In today’s world of multi-hyphenates where you have a single person doing everything from pre-production all the way through post-production the dedicated editor seems quite rare. Even with ultra-cheap gear for both production and post I still believe in the collaborative nature of filmmaking and that extra set of eyes and talents that a dedicated editor can bring to a project is of vital importance.
What can people expect from you at the Southeast Creative Summit?
I hope to stuff a lot of good information into my sessions. I tend to talk fast and jump through a lot of topics so I love for people to ask questions if there’s something they miss or if they would like me clarify or expand upon a topic. I love for attendees to ask questions at any time during a session as questions can often lead into something that I might had not thought about or planned on covering. So please … ask questions! While the Southeast Creative Summit sessions aren’t about learning a particular piece of software, I’m an editor who cuts on all the major NLEs so my sessions will touch on all three of the major NLEs.
Sign up for the Southeast Creative Summit and use the code creativecow2013 for $100 off admission.
Early Bird runs through Sept 25th and is just $495 with the code! http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/registration/
I'll be the featured guest on Wednesday night's #PostChat Twitter discussion and we'll be making some special announcements about the Southeast Creative Summit. If you've been thinking about attending the 3 day event Oct. 25-27 in Atlanta, tune in Wednesday night and save!