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  • Writer's pictureTony Deehan

A Freelance Video Editors guide to becoming a Freelance Video Editor

Hello guys and welcome to my very first blog post. I have been a video editor on and off for many years but I never really tried to make a proper go at it in the freelance world. I realise it can be extremely daunting to look into the unknown and decide to be your own boss, especially when it seems like the competition is so high and you feel like you don't match up to other video editors out there.

Well, I'm here to say I know how you feel and it can be overwhelming. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The key is to take this gargantuan task step by step. So without further ado, here are my top tips to becoming a freelance video editor from someone who is still trying to figure it out.

Download Editing Software

Before you embark on your freelance career, you are going to need some tools to get started. And there is none more important than getting some video editing software. If you're in a pinch, there are free editing software programs such as DaVinci Resolve for more intermediate editors or Openshot that caters to beginners. Personally, I think it is worth investing in paid editing software such as Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. I have edited on Premiere Pro for years and the interface is very beginner-friendly. Plus there are numerous tutorials on Youtube to explain everything.

Learn, Learn, Learn...

'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail'. Never has a saying had more relevance than to being a video editor. First and foremost, you need to know the necessary skills to become a video editor. It's essential to gain knowledge about the technical aspects and techniques involved with video editing so that you can create beautiful video with ease. Luckily, there are many resources out there to help you learn. You can do courses on websites like Lynda or Skillshare to learn about working on Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, for a monthly subscription fee. This option can be preferable for those editors starting out and who need a more complete explanation of the program. However, if you're on a budget, there are ample video tutorials on Youtube to get you started.

Build Your Portfolio

This one can be quite a conundrum for people. If I don't have a portfolio, I can't get a job. But if I can't get a job, I can't build a portfolio. I can hear you all smashing your heads against your keyboard! Luckily, there are ways around this problem. You can take on small projects for friends or family or by offering your services to local businesses or non-profits for free. You can also contact Youtubers and offer to edit for free until they are confident in your ability. Another option is to download stock footage and create concept videos for the specific nice you want work in. Nobody likes to work for free but this won't last forever. Once you build up your portfolio, you have a powerful tool going forward. And once you have a few projects in your arsenal, you can create a showreel which is a short 30 second- two minute edit of your work that you can use as a marketing tool to attract new clients.

Build Your Network

As a freelance video editor, you will need to have a network of clients and colleagues who can refer you for work. Attend networking events, physical and online. Reach out to to video editors, filmmakers and other creatives in your area. Join online communities on social media and websites like Discord. If you want to work remotely, video editor's groups in Discord can be invaluable because members can refer work to you with ease. I know it's not always easy to reach out to people and this is something I definitely struggled with starting out. But with most of modern networking now done online, you can just start with an email or a message in a group chat. People generally just want to be helpful. The worst that can happen is that they don't reply. That's not a bad trade-off if the end result is finally getting gigs.

Price You Services

When you are first starting out, it can be difficult to know how much to charge for your services. Take a look at what other freelancers in your area or online network are charging for similar work and use that as a guide. Be realistic about what you can charge, and don't undersell yourself. High quality clients look for high quality editors. And the way they do that is weed out the one who are extremely cheap.

Market Yourself and Apply for Jobs

You have your portfolio, a network of other editors to throw around ideas with and a rate that you believe reflects your work. Now it's time to put yourself out there. Create a website, blog or social media profiles where potential clients can view your portfolio and learn more about your services. Offer promotions and discounts to new clients, and don't be afraid to ask for referrals. You can also sign up for gigs on websites such as Upwork and Fiverr. Here you can create a profile with your portfolio and have access to daily jobs, some of which are one-time gigs but also ongoing part time and full time work.

Finally.....Don't Panic

I know, easier said than done right? When I started out, I had at least one mental breakdown per week. Working so hard to create a showreel, building a website from scratch and applying for job after job after job only to get radio silence in return. It can very demoralising. But remember, don't panic. If you really want to become a freelance video editor, you have to realise that it is going to take time. Nothing is to be gained from panicking, getting youself down and then quitting. The only to be a successful video editor is to stay in the game. It's a marthon, not a sprint. And the prize at the end will be all the sweeter for sticking with it.

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