Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Voyage of Discovery

Above is a video I did last week of a team-building exercise for incoming students at the Darden School. The "Lewis and Clark Voyage of Discovery" gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own recent Voyage of Discovery, where I've been taking classes at the Washington D.C. location of Future Media Concepts with the goal of earning my Final Cut Studio (FCS) Master Pro certification.

I had initially embarked on this course of study as a way to forward my career and, lets be honest, earning potential doing something I really loved. Over the years I've worked as a writer, musician, producer, marketing manager, e-commerce strategist, sound engineer... a lot of different jobs. None of them were as fun or more of a seemingly "natural fit" for me as the creative work of being a music editor, way back in the day. It didn't pay much but many years later I still look back on it as one of the happier times, professionally, in my life. Later, there was a brief, glimmering moment in my life in video where all was creative, a natural extension of my experience as a music editor... and then all of a sudden it seems I was told I was "The Producer" and life hasn't been as much fun since.

So it was with that thinking that I went back to school this summer. Ostensibly, the goal was to achieve a certification that would provide greater breadth of professional opportunities. I really thought there wasn't a whole lot for me to learn in editing video or audio, and I couldn't care less about graphics, because I'll always want to hire pros for that anyway. Whoo boy, I couldn't have been more wrong.

I'm about half-way through this course of study, and as with all things in education, the most important thing I'm learning is how much I Did Not Know prior to the outset. What I'm learning about technique and workflow makes me cringe at the way I worked just a few months ago, and I'm finding that with my new set of tools I don't get in my own way anymore. I have a vision, I create it. If it doesn't work out, I start over and try something else. With my new tools I don't spend any more time saying to myself "with all the effort I just put into that, do I really want to undo it and try another way? Isn't that Good Enough? Most importantly, I'm noticing a visible improvement in my work over just the past few months.

Of course, if you're familiar with the FCS suite you'll recognize a lot of template media in the above piece, and you know what? That's just fine with me, because a month ago I wouldn't have ventured that far. And for the next project, I'll do more and be braver. And on and on.

All this, and I'm only half-way through. Can't wait to see what lies at the end, or beyond it.