Music Video Editors
Approximately 39,800 film and video editors are employed in the United States. Music video editors are usually employed by record companies and postproduction companies. Keep in mind that the music video industry is not the only avenue for employment. Many editors work on television shows, commercials, and films. They may develop ongoing working relationships with directors or producers who hire them from one project to another. Many music video editors who have worked for a studio or postproduction company for several years often become independent contractors. These editors offer their services on a per-job basis to producers of music videos, commercials, and films; negotiate their own fees; and typically purchase or lease their own editing equipment.
Because of the glamour associated with music videos, this is a popular field that can be very difficult to break into. With a minimum of a high school diploma or a degree from a two-year college, you can apply for entry-level jobs in many television studios and production companies, but these jobs won't be editing positions. Most employers will not consider you for an editor position if you don't have a bachelor's degree or several years of on-the-job experience.
One way to get on-the-job experience is to complete an apprenticeship in editing. However, in some cases, you won't be eligible for an apprenticeship unless you are a current employee of the studio or production company. Therefore, start out by applying to as many studios as possible and take an entry-level position, even if it's not in the editing department. Once you start work, let people know that you are interested in an editor apprenticeship so that you'll be considered the next time a position becomes available.
Those who have completed bachelor's or master's degrees have typically gained hands-on experience through school projects. Another benefit of going to school is that contacts that you make while in school, both through your school's career services office and alumni, can be a valuable resource when you look for your first job. Some studio work is union regulated; therefore you may also want to contact union locals to find out about job requirements and openings.
Once video editors have secured employment in their field, their advancement comes with further experience and greater recognition. Some editors develop good working relationships with music video directors or producers. These editors may be willing to leave the security of a job at a production company for the possibility of working one-on-one with the director or producer on a project. These opportunities often provide editors with the autonomy they may not get in their regular jobs. Some editors are willing to take a pay cut to work on a video they feel is important.
Some video editors choose to stay at their production companies and advance through seniority to editing positions with higher salaries. They may be able to negotiate better benefits packages or to choose the projects they will work on. They may also choose which directors they wish to work with.
Some sound editors may wish to broaden their skills by working as general video editors. On the other hand, some general video editors may choose to specialize in sound effects, music, or some other editorial area. Some music video editors may move to television, motion pictures, or commercial work.
Tips for Entry
If you are a recent college graduate, consider applying for the American Cinema Editors internship program. Visit https://americancinemaeditors.org/ace-internship-program/internship-process for more information.
Join unions to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.
Conduct information interviews with music video editors and ask them for advice on breaking into the field.