Post Production

How to be a hero to your kids (by editing that is).

Every once in awhile you might actually get some editing jobs your kids take interest in.

Editors very often work in anonymity, often alone, sometimes never seeing a client, usually without the praise that is given to the director or producer. And that might be just from those who hire us and collaborate on our work. What we do might be even more mysterious to our family. Looking back on 2015 I was fortunate enough to have a brief period in the fall where I was working a few different videos that made me look like a the coolest dad in the world to my kids.

As a parent I often see tweets and pics from other parents as they take their kids to work doing cool things like going to the capital building, working on a film set or going to the race track. When it comes to editors and post-production folks sharing what they do with their kids it might be: “Hey kid you want to come to work with me and sit around in a dark room all day?” That answer is usually no unless there might be an iPad involved. That’s not to say kids don’t take an interest in editing as they often do, especially as they get older (and it’s an important skill to learn today). But for younger kids (mine are both below 7) interest might be limited to pushing a few buttons or watching some images go by until the next talking head. Then it’s boring.

That’s why I was excited when I had a trifecta of cool projects come through in Fall 2015 which had both of my kids checking in daily (sometimes hourly) to watch footage, “approve” cuts and see how the projects were going.

That looks like fun!

ozark02 The first that came into the edit suite was a job I’d done for the last couple of years for Clear Creek Productions creating a series of marketing materials for Camp Ozark. This is a huge, multi week project that is many hours of footage with thousands of clips. There are some talking heads involved but the best footage is that of the water slides, zip lines, skiers and crafters just to name a few. While my oldest just wanted to watch the cool footage and go do some of the same stuff I try to use the opportunities as teaching moments to explain the idea of a summer camp to my youngest. While he wasn’t too keen on leaving home for a week or two without his family just yet he did realize how much fun he could have.

Camp Ozark 2016 from Camp Ozark on Vimeo.

After a few weeks of seeing the amazing breathtaking tube slides day after day we hit a local waterpark on its last weekend of the season.

I want to see that bulldozer!

westside03 Another job that came in around this same time was was a branded content piece for Cultivate Studios showcasing a heavy equipment company West Side Tractor Sales Co. It was a very challenging piece because we used nat sound and dialog captured in the field (from non-actors) to supplement the voice over and tell a story of what this company does. It was one of my favorite projects of the year.

There was a lot of cool shop footage with tools and machines and people welding but it was the heavy machinery at the end that had the kids checking in over and over. While we’ve certainly spent our share of time watching diggers and excavators on both Netflix and YouTube this was footage on daddy’s computer that we could pause, zoom and rewind at will. And a lot of it. It was my first experience with the kid in my lap using a mouse to scrub around and play footage. Next I need to teach him how to make selects.

I wanna see it again!

hamster02 Finally there was kid-targeted project that I cut right in this same timeframe. This wasn’t a “grown up” project with cool footage but a music video aimed squarely at their demographic. The Runaway Hamsters is a band made up of four siblings that began with a good cause and made a music video for their first single Hamsters In The House. I did this cut for Moo Creative Media and director Roman White. Since my kids are growing up in a musical household (I like rock n roll and my wife teaches early childhood music education and recorded her first record in 2015) we always encourage music when we can. I knew the kids would like this project but tried to get a cut complete before showing it to them. That plan was foiled when I was inserting a piece of animation into the cut one evening when one of my kids wandered into the room. He knew I was working on something unlike anything they had seen me work on before.

It was great fun to show the various cuts to my boys as the edit progressed. It was actually a great learning experience as well as they were able to see subtle differences in the edits even asking me to put back a shot that I had cut. It was my very own focus group.

As the new year begins I consider myself very lucky to have had this group of projects come into my edit suite and very fortunate I had both the time and ability to really share them with my kids. We spent some quality time together watching (and often rewatching over and over and over and over again) raw footage, rough cuts and locked edits. It might have taken me a little bit more of my time to finish the jobs but it was well worth every second. Plus it was a great reminder to me, as a parent, to spend all the time I can with my kids as this profession isn’t often conducive to quality family time. I hope to remind both myself and my fellow post-production parents of that same thing in 2016.

If you’re on the Facebook search for a group called Parents in Post Production. It’s a closed group but it’s a great place for parents to chat about trying to raise kids in this unpredictable and busy business.

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PVC Staff
Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production…

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