What qualifications are needed if I were to become a compositor or video editor? Take into consideration that I am currently an IT engineer, so I'm guessing I'm going to need to attain certain qualifications, or at least take a course to learn whatever software is required for either of these roles.
I am UK based, so if you could refer to courses/qualifications here in the UK that would be great.
I don't know what qualifications you will need but you will definitely need a showreel of previous work. You will need to show your competence using certain software packages and how creative you are. If you can show potential employers something they haven't seen before (I assume that's what you are referring to) then that puts you one step ahead of the thousands of others. You need to show ad's, tv work, movie work, 3d modelling and corporate work that you have done in order to get your foot in the door. Are you artistic, can you paint or draw, do you have a good eye for composition, do you understand light and shade?
But what do I do if I am starting out? From a complete start point.
How do you know that this is what you want to do? Nikosony assumes that you are, at present, an ethusiast, and would therefore have a body of work. If you don't have a body of work, I would suggest:
1) That you couldn't know that you want to be involved in the industry; and
2) Any money spent on courses would be a potential waste of money.
Given your response I would suggest that before you do anything else, you pick up a camera and start to experiment. If you like what you're doing, then invest in educating yourself. Start with a few decent books, then move on to enrolling yourself in courses. Bythis time you'll have a body of work and will be at the stage that Nikosony suggests.
I suppose another question I would ask is how long have you wanted to be a compositor or editor? Have you wanted to become either a compositor or editor over a period of years, months or is it just in the past few days? If you are looking to be employed in the industry then it's going to be a long journey with a lot of rejection along the way, this industry is littered with 'dead bodies' of people who thought they had what it takes to make it.
If on the other hand you want to start working on your own videos, then as Marc suggests you need to get a camcorder, film some event and see if you can edit it. Then ask yourself is this the kind of work you would like to be involved with? Could you make a living from it (you talk about courses and getting qualifications, so I presume this is more than just a passing interest). Sorry to be so blunt, but I will give you my straight honest opinion as I'm sure other forum members will.
In short, no, it's not a two week interest I've had. I've been interested in the film industry for quite a few years now. I've always taken an interest in the other side of the camera and how what we see on screen is constructed. Often waiting for the extended edition of DVD's to come out just so I could see the 'Making of...' and featurettes.
I just want to make a go of it now, before I regret not doing it at all. Luckily I am young enough to be able to chop and change careers if I like (I don't have the burden of bills, mortages etc). Which is why I am serious about making the switch from IT to the film industry.
That's why I was asking what it would take to make a start in this industry from a complete 'newbie' point of view.
In particular, I'm interested in an Assistant Editor role. From what I understand my experience IT would transfer over quite well, due to the fact that AE's maintain the editing systems?
Then I would search through the forums, and particularly posts made by 'The Guru' on this subject. He's been around the block a few times from what I hear and has been more than helpfukl with thorough advice on 'making a go of it' in 'the industry'. If you plough through all the posts he;s made, you'll probably be well armed with an inside knowledge of just how much hard graft you;re looking at.
I am not a pro - I started making my own films about 6 years ago and the advice I consistently got was either, 'you are doing great - most courses will teach you little ' and ' read this, learn from others, make show, listen learn'.
I started doing an MA in doc film (stopped due to health crap) and whilst I loved it it taught me very little about editing or camera work - I was way ahead of the graduates from other meda courses becuase of my own efforts.
My friend who got a 1st in a media degree who passed the ma got an assistant editors job, on half the money i earn as a nurse, and nurses are not rolling in it.
My advice is to cultivate wise and tactless friends and just keep making stuff and showing stuff and listening to feedback.