Networking Tips: Maintaining and Tracking Your Network

Here are some things I use to keep track of my network. The tips I mention in this video are more personal and lead to more work than the “easy to use” contacting on LinkedIn, Facebook messaging or more impersonal methods that social media will have you believe work.

Create a document that has the following columns:
Their Advice:
Last time contacted:

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Smart DX – Tracking Takes and Creating Markers Live

I’ve been working on a several animated projects in the past few years (Tron: Uprising, Kung Fu Panda 3, an upcoming feature produced by Paramount Pictures among others) and one thing that has always been difficult is the manual process of breaking down dialogue. I’ve learned to become very fast at it, but it’s still very time consuming and always seems to happen when there is already a crunch going on in editorial.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to streamline the process and I grabbed some friends and colleagues and have come up with this application called Smart DX. It helps you track takes while you are in the recording session and lets you change marker colors (circle takes vs. false starts vs. producer picks) as you go.

I’ve created a KickStarter page for the project. I’ll post some tutorials in the next coming weeks as to how this can be useful for one man band shops, small companies and bigger budget features. Take a look at the project and if you the project would help you, reserve your copy.

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My First KickStarter

I actually did it. I created a KickStarter project. It is in full swing and though it is more about my writing and experiences outside the edit bay, I thought I would share it here because chances are most of us look for things to do with our families when we are cutting.

It’s a book about going to Disneyland with your family, especially about what to do as a Father/Son trip. It applies to all, but I took that angle with it. Take a look and let me know what you think. Pledge if you can. I know I have pledged for some of your projects and will continue to as I see them. Thanks for reading!

Creating a “Flipbook” of a Project

I put out this request a couple of weeks ago and I think I have found a solution combining the use of a few different scripts.. I know that some editors in the animation area will be interested in this post and some other people may find it helpful as well. What this does is make an image sequence of your project, but ONLY with the first frame of each cut.

1. Start with an XML (FCP) or AAF (I found that an Avid AAF with a video mixdown imports the fastest, even if they come up all offline). You just need the cuts. If the media comes up offline, just grab a quicktime reference of the sequence you are using. I should mention that you should flatten your sequence as much as possible. I will explain why in #3.

2. Import via Automatic Duck to After Effects. CS6 will do the ProImport so you don’t have to download auto duck, but in previous versions you will have to get the free (now it is anyway) plug-in. Note that I tell it to ignore audio so those don’t come in as cuts either. That will interfere with how many shots get exported.

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Wanted: After Effects Script

I have had a great time looking at and maybe with some guidance I can find what I am looking for.

I am looking for a script (or combination of scripts) to take the composition I have, go to the first frame of a clip, export a jpeg or add it to the render queue as a still, then go to the next clip and repeat. This will give me a sort of storyboard of the clips in my timeline.


Splitting Audio Tracks for ADR and Composer

If you want to look like one rad editor for your composer, output a cut for them with all dialogue (DX) panned to the left and music (MX) and sound effects (SFX) panned to the right. This will show them you are a pro.

To do this in FCP, I would just change the pan on the tracks that contain DX to left and the MX and SFX to right. This is one reason it is so important to make sure your tracks are organized throughout your edit. Try to keep dialogue on tracks 1-5, SFX on 6-12 and music on 13-16 (or some variation of that).

In Avid, the easiest thing to do is make a mono audio mixdown of the tracks that contain DX and then another for MX/SFX. Then you only export the cut with those tracks and pan left and right respectively.

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Cutting Neil’s Puppet Dreams

Today I wanted to eat up some time by writing about my experience cutting Neil’s Puppet Dreams for the Nerdist channel and Henson Alternative. So here goes nothing. I have been curious about how other people get their jobs, how they work to cut their pieces and how it all comes together as I have been learning and cutting more and more so I hope this does someone a benefit.

Getting the job to edit Neil’s Puppet Dreams started about a year before I got the footage on a drive. That’s because it started with a connection I already had. My producer from Yo Gabba Gabba! felt that because of my experience in cutting notes with directors over e-mail, having my own system (I cut at home for YGG now so I could come home and put my kids to bed) and my “OCD” nature with handing shots off to VFX people (I kind of went over the top and made a google doc for each episode, treating each shot respectively and while it was over the top, we got the job done)..(take a breath sorry for this huge sentence)… that I would be a good fit for this project. While we had Neil Patrick Harris, it wasn’t a large blockbuster project. While it wasn’t a free project, it wasn’t a union project, but I like to do projects for the experience and because they are fun when I can pay the bills.

Rita sent me the scripts to the shorts without telling me who was attached to the project and I read them through to make sure it was a project I was interested in doing. I think she did this to see if I could do it for passion over profit. I accepted and we moved forward. It was when I read the scripts that I finally figured out that it was Neil Patrick Harris so I then decided to go for it and commit, as it would help my reel in terms of “star power” and cutting narrative shorts with a good amount of VFX.

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