Well, I guess I’ve gotten vain enough to assume that I might know a thing or two about Avids and editing. So perhaps the world would be a better place if I shared my seemingly limitless knowledge (?). Occasional tips that relate to offline and online editing, Photoshop (my right hand), After Effects (my third hand) and managing media and other files. Throw in the occasional rant to let off some steam and you get the gist . Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


017 - I was at an industry award show and a client of ours grabbed me by the arm and dragged me over to the other side of the room. “Doug” she said to the other man, “This is Fish. Fish co-owns Filet Post production…. and they have THE BEST food”.

“Yes”, I said and added, “we are pretty good at that editing and animation stuff too”.

Sigh. It’s true, we do have the best food…for a post house. Why on earth should th
at be so? Well when I was an assistant I learned a valuable lesson that I repeat so often it should be on my business card: ‘”A good cup of coffee can make or break a screening”.

You see people, being people, come in from the cold or heat after a crappy day, morning or night and then plunk themselves down in your chair, bark “okay, play this thing” and glare at the screen looking for anything they can to blame for their crappy lives. The absolute worst thing you can do is let them watch anything you worked so hard on. You have to wind them down. Way down.

The story goes that the only thing that saved “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was Graham Chapman’s announcement of “drinks are on me” during the first rushes screening. I believe it’s more important to feed the crew well than pay them well. At least on the day of the shoot.

A comfortable chair, polite conversation, a fridge full of an assorted drinks (including alcohol corporate if culture permits), a plate of snacks, and freshly brewed, organically grown, fair-trade coffee (with choice of milk, cream and soy): those are my minimums. It’s amazing what that kind of treatment can do to quell the storms the client has brought in with them. And here’s a tip. Never, ever ask them first. They’ll always be polite and say no. Have it ready. Even if they won’t drink it or eat it, they’ll always appreciate it. And let’s be honest, they can have a crappy day and it’s kind of nice to help them out of it.

I like to think about the time that 10 people came over to watch a video in the middle of preparing for a huge event of which our video work was a significant component. They arrived tired, angry and frustrated. But man did that sandwich tray and cold beer turn their frowns upside-down. Or there’s the time that a new client of mine ran back to her office shouting “Oh my God. I was just at Fish’s and he had candy!” It always helps restore a proper mood.

I have to be clear: it’s not a bribe. I don’t bribe. The work still has to be fabulous. No amount of French pastry will make up for sloppy product. But I can’t stand it when it’s unfairly judged and I’ll do everything in my power to ensure their attitude matches our work.

Since opening our company we’ve taken it one step further - any dubs that leave out place are accompanied by a small packet of candy. It’s astounding how people will fight over three cents worth of candy. And equally surprising how peeved they are if we forget to put one in the package!

That’s my blog for today. Now before you post a comment, would you like a cookie?

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