Feb 29, 2012

How to be a Big Girl: Working & Other Horror Stories

It's currently 12:15AM. And I'm still in the office with the boyfriend and our colleague, Adam. To be honest I did not realize that it was already past midnight.

I started working three years ago and it was quite accidental, more than anything. It was for my diploma's final semester group report, in which my groupmate got us a placement in a small youth-powered community called Youth Asia. Back then it was a small company, handling a forum in a small office in Kelana Jaya. But even after the project was over, I was asked to stay as an employee/trainee/thing and help handling a pretty large event that was going to happen at the end of the year. Me, not really willing to go back to school, I said yeah sure.

My stint as part of the organizing team for the Youth Engagement Summit 2009

Among the few speakers that were there, I got to see Twitter founder, Biz Stone

Sir Bob Geldof

And I got to meet amazing people from different countries in the South East Asian region.

But shortly after that, I was let go. I wasn't about to go back to school. Also if I did, I wouldn't have made it in time for registration anyway. Plus, I actually got my first choice of degree, which was Journalism. But that interest was slowly wearing off. 

I went on to working at a design firm doing copywriting for annual reports. It pretty much got be nowhere fast and after three months, I couldn't stand working there and just left. Which is how I landed a job in post production.

My best friend was working in this post house when he called me in for an interview. I knew close to nothing about post production except being able to cut here and there. I could put together a documentary for a class project, but for TV or film, I had no clue. The boss hired me after 10 days.

I realize that I probably learned more than most my ex-collegemates who took broadcasting ever will. In that sense, I think I take after my dad quite a bit where I HAVE to be thrown into it head first, rather than learning about it from a book.

Learning the keyboard shortcuts on Final Cut Pro took me a little over a week. In a month I could do digi beta transfers (albeit a bit slow), subtitle a complete documentary, reduce the grain and noise on archive footage for documentaries, etc.

Fast forward to two years, I'm working on an animated feature written and directed by a director from California, converting it into stereoscopic 3D. Which is pretty amazing. It's nothing from The Weinstein Company or anything like that but it's bigger than what I've been doing for the local market (which has already been shown on TV and cinema). I never had any formal training to becoming a 3D compositor or a video editor, I just kind of jumped into it because I actually found something that I enjoyed.

So girls, sometimes it's not about the amount of degrees you manage to obtain in your four years of college. Sometimes it's about liking what you do. I'm not saying education is not important but if that's the only thing you have going for you, you kinda need to stop worrying about the amount of As you're getting or not getting or how high your CGPA is, and worry about the possibility of having absolutely zero life and survival skills.

The world of production and post production isn't as glamorous as doe-eyed college kids think it is. You clock in late nights and sometimes 24-hour shift. I've been on a set for 26 hours before and it's far from glamorous, even for the talents. So if you want to go into this line, my advice is - don't. Stay away.

But if you insist, make sure you really, really love it because it's that type of industry. You have to really love it.

Till next time.

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