If you want to learn to become a professional editor, Inside The Edit’s Pro Editor course is probably the best, fastest and most economical way to achieve that goal.
Film school is much slower (several years), far more expensive (£30-100k) and less likely to give you employable skills (Hello, runner jobs). After having a nice time, overall, you’ll probably leave burdened with a ton of debt but not necessarily better off.
Conversely, entry-level jobs in the industry will put some money in your pocket while you learn, but it can take many more years of sporadic trial and error, chance encounters and random opportunities, to really develop your skills and experience level to a place where someone will trust you to edit for them. This was my route in and up.
In this article and video interview, I took a deep dive into what the new Inside The Edit Pro Editor course is, and why I now believe it is the best option out there for anyone who wants to learn to be a professional editor.
The reason I’ve taken the (massive amount of time) to write this exhaustive article is that I really think this course is going to be the best available option for a lot of people who want to become professional editors, regardless of where you live and how much you know right now.
That’s an amazing opportunity and I wish it had existed 20 years ago when I was starting out!
10 years since ITE launched its online training course it is still the best (qualitative) and most comprehensive (quantitative) editing course I’ve seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. It teaches you the principles, structures and techniques editors need to know.
The Pro Editor Course’s central absorb > practice > feedback > improve learning cycle will support you to both retain and apply everything you’re learning plus the small class-size, constant access to Paddy and alumni group mean you won’t be on your own, ever.
TLDR: Drop your email in the box here to download the full course prospectus, which includes details on every part of the course, how to apply and financing options.
Why you shouldn’t stop reading
I understand that this article is long, but if you’re seriously considering investing £15,000 and a year of your life in this course, then this is everything I’d want to know, and all of the essential details that would convince me that it really will provide a solid foundation for achieving my career ambitions in Post Production.
3 Important Things To Know
- This course isn’t for absolute beginners
- It’s not limited to documentary editing
- It is designed to fit around full-time work
You need to know your way around some editing software and have cut a few bits, and while documentary footage might illustrate some parts of the course, it’s aimed at anyone looking to improve their editing abilities regardless of genre or industry sector.
With roughly 10-15 hour per week largely flexible workload the Pro Editor Course can fit around work and other commitments.
What is the Pro Editor Course?
Inside The Edit has been the best soup-to-nuts editorial course I’ve seen for the past 10 years. The reason it’s not been bested in that time is its depth, its perfectionist attention to detail and the mix of teaching and editing talent behind it.
In the video above I chatted with founder and sole-instructor Paddy Bird about the Pro Editor course, leaving the academic world behind, why film schools are debt machines and why anyone should spend £15k and a year of their life up-skilling to a professional standard.
I’ve previously reviewed and talked about Inside The Edit here:
- Inside The Edit – Launch Review August 2014
- Lessons from Inside The Edit – October 2017
- Learn Documentary Editing from Professional Editors – May 2019
- An Alternative Film School for Video Editors
The one inherent flaw in the course’s original design is the fact that it is self-serve.
You get all of the teaching, the footage to cut with and the skills (if you follow the teaching and do the editing exercises) but you have to do that under your own steam. There is no supportive structure around it. It’s all on you.
Inside The Edit’s new Pro Editor Course fixes that, and then some.
Essentially a Masters-grade year-long training regime, the Pro Editor Course builds on the 12 chapters of Inside The Edit but adds in the critical components of structure, deadlines, feedback, community, mentorship and creative accreditation.
It also provides an immersive training environment that aims to compress into 12 straight months, what might otherwise take years of slow staccato progress, to gradually achieve under alternative paths.
The Pro Editor Course – What you get
- Inside The Edit lifetime access (worth about £1.5k, with over 100 tutorials)
- All of their Boot camps (£3k, 4-6 hours each)
- Guest lectures from industry-leading editors, including direct Q+A
- Direct and constant access to Paddy with individual feedback on your work
- Small cohort of fellow students (30 places each year)
- All course sessions are recorded for later review
- Cutting a 30 min long-form project as your final film
- Community of likeminded students to grow alongside and learn from during the course
- Graduate Alumni group to help you progress when you’re actually working in the industry (jobs, tech support, solutions, advice, opportunities, network)
- Creative accreditation – The Inside The Edit seal of approval that proves you can actually cut. (As long as you graduate with a B- grade or above)
You can get a full week-by-week and term-by-term breakdown of the entire Pro Editor course when you download the prospectus here.
Is Inside The Edit’s Pro Editor Course Worth it?
Is The Pro Editor course worth £15,000? (plus VAT only if you live in the UK)
The real value of any course is not how many hours of teaching you’re buying for a certain amount of money, but the actual skills you will acquire from taking it and whether you can then get paid to put those skills to use on a real editing job.
In this regard, I really do believe the Pro Editor course is much better positioned to out-pace both film school and self-taught learning due to the quality of the instruction, the professional focus and the structured learning/feedback cycle of the course.
While a lot of other online training is excellent, particularly for focused topics such as Assistant Editing or colour grading – and I’ve reviewed a lot of the options out there, you still need a structure to learn within, which almost none of them provide.
I previously tried to create my own version of this, the ALT film school for editors – but you would still have to have a heroic amount of self-discipline, focus and time management to win this way. Without real deadlines, creative pressure, feedback and professional accountability it would be very easy to let it drift.
Alumni for Life
One of the other major value-adds of the ITE Pro Editor Course is that high-calibre alumni groups are worth their weight in gold but quality ones are hard to come by. These groups can offer you job opportunities, the ability to recommend people based on genuine experience of them and their work, networks-of-networks for industry connections, client-focused help and advice, encouragement, creative feedback and much more
The best alumni groups I’ve been a part of or seen inside have always come about because the community is filtered down to the really serious people who have taken more advanced courses and been woven into a genuine professional community, administered by experienced professionals. This is not just an open Facebook group, Discord channel or Reddit forum filled with newbie randos.
Why This is Better than Film School
If you’ve looked into the cost of film school these days you’ll know there are no cheap options.
Back in when I did a film degree in London, a year’s tuition cost just £1,500 (around $2,250). Today, the same course costs £9,250 per year (around $13,875). And that’s before you factor in living costs, enjoying student life and contributing to production budgets during the course etc.
Looking overseas, the University of Southern California Cinematic Arts estimates that attending their film school will cost you between $85,500 and $75,000 per year, with $63,468 of that being tuition costs.
After graduating, I earned around £20-30K a year in my first few years of freelancing and slowly paid off my student loans over about 7 years. But as I mentioned, my debts were much smaller than they would be today.
So why do I think that the Inside The Edit Pro Editor course looks like a much better option than film school?
Simply put you want depth not debts.
You want to accumulate a depth of practice, experience and learning as quickly as you can and you won’t get that at in the same way at film school, where you might get to edit a handful of projects a year vs. cutting each and every week.
At film school time spent on researching and writing academic essays on this history of cinema, television or online media might be interesting and informative in a general sense, it won’t really pave the way to employment.
With ITE you’re 100% focused on editing and getting better at it. You’ll get to grips with creating, not just consuming, a broad-range of genres, styles and approaches as well as getting direct and detailed feedback on your efforts.
This feedback is invaluable.
The best things I learnt early on were from sitting with directors, improving my cut with me and explaining why – this is also why I was a cheap hire at the very start!
In fact, almost all of what I’ve learned about editing, other than from brute-force practice, I learned from other directors, producers and editors very slowly, in fits and starts, along the way as I happened to be fortunate enough to work with someone who articulated one of these nuggets of wisdom in a way I could acquire.
Part of the problem with film school, university and higher-education is that it’s sort of expected that you will go. It’s the ladder your parents want you to climb, so get going… but in a practical industry like film, academia isn’t very well aligned to teaching you what you need to know to actually get work. And often the best film schools (if you can afford them) are still running on prestige rather than practitioners.
With everything that’s available at you online today, it’s time to think differently about acquiring skills and seriously weighing up the impact of all that debt will have on your other life choices.
What does the Pro Editor Course Cost?
Inside The Edit’s Pro Editor course is similar in price to a masters degree in the UK but way more effective in terms of building employable skills and it is many times more affordable than anything in the US.
That price is £15,000 or less than $20,000 (+ VAT, which you pay only if you live in the UK.)
Compared to a UK 3-year film degree, or more expensive, a US education, that’s a good deal.
But who is this is for and what do they need to consider?
If you’re going to drop £15k/$20k on this, you of course need to be committed, passionate, focused and disciplined to do the work and get the most out of it.
One of the things that I appreciate about the course’s design is that it’s totally possible to do it around other full-time work, with about 10-15 hours per week. That could be a few evenings and a Saturday or maybe doing a 4-day week with 1-day to study.
Given that the course is run online, location – and it’s associated costs, is not a barrier to entry either. You don’t have to up-root and move anywhere. This is also another reason it’s a great opportunity for those who otherwise couldn’t afford to move nations.
The timezone you are in might get a little brutal depending on how far around the globe you are from the UK but nothing is impossible, plus the live-sessions are not the bulk of the workload.
Lastly, although you do need to know your way around some editing software, you can really be from any background, experience level or previous discipline and still be eligible to apply.
My advice, Seriously Consider This…
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with it and here’s what I think you should do next.
Definitely don’t miss this opportunity, I would encourage you to download the prospectus and explore whether this could be a good fit for you, if your serious about a career in editing.
Sign up for a taster, ask questions of Paddy and the team, look at the prospectus in detail.
Think carefully about how you might be able to afford the course fees, and see whether your employer might be able to loan you the money as an investment in your skill set and career development.
When my wife did her master’s degree when we were newly married (and broke) we took a leaf out of Google’s book and gave her 20% of her time to study. She worked her job 4 days a week, studied for 1 (that being 20% of 5 days) and worked incredibly hard the rest of the time.
Also note, there are only 30 places available each year, so don’t delay.
If you’re reading this after this date, and you still want to apply, maybe you can catch up!
Possibly the most important thing to know in this whole article
Finally, as a caveat to everything I have just said for the past few thousand words.
Do. not. worry.
If there is one thing that is true of everyone who works in the film industry, it is that there is no ‘one way’ into the business. For almost everyone, it takes time and persistence, so if you’re not where you want to be just yet, don’t give up and just keep going.
Inside The Edit’s Pro Editor Course Explained
I interviewed Paddy Bird on 10 years of Inside The Edit, all of the things I’d want to know about the Pro Editor course if I was to drop £15k on it and where they are taking ITE in the next few years.
TLDW: Drop your email in the box here to download the full course prospectus, which includes details on every part of the course, how to apply and financing options.
- 00:00 – Intro
- 02:34 – Stories of success
- 02:50 – Not a documentary course
- 03:21 – If failed…
- 03:39 – What Pro Editors Need
- 04:01 – Why academia can’t do this
- 04:21 – The Pro Editor course
- 04:47 – Importance of feedback
- 06:21 – How does it work and who is it for?
- 06:38 – 12-month structure of Pro Editor course
- 07:05 – Monthly Structure – Week 1
- 08:33 – Monthly Structure – Week 2
- 10:43 – Monthly Structure – Week 3
- 11:34 – Monthly Structure – Week 4
- 12:56 – What you need to pass the Pro Editor course
- 13:38 – Termly structure of year – Summer Long-form piece
- 14:07 – Wish this existed 20 years ago
- 14:23 – Alternative is 5 years of guess-work
- 15:13 – Why leave film school with crippling debt?
- 15:36 – Designed to fit around work
- 16:15 – Who shouldn’t do this course?
- 16:49 – Pro Editor Vs Inside The Edit
- 17:25 – Pro Editor Alumni Group
- 18:46 – Genuinely recommending editors
- 19:59 – What is the future of ITE?
- 21:04 – Skill level is the most expensive investment early on
The 20-minute video interview above is a shorter version of the 35-minute transcript below, which has been lightly edited for clarity and easier reading.
Jonny Elwyn: We first spoke, I think, when Inside the Edit was launching.
Paddy Bird: That was nearly 10 years ago, wasn’t it?
JE: I was thinking it was like a long time ago.
PB: We’ve both got less hair.
JE: I think you look better than I do for the 10 year difference. I can pull up a before and after photo from our first chat.
PB: It’s just the lighting, man. That’s all it is.
JE: But I was thinking, in that time, a better editorial course hasn’t emerged to compete with Inside The Edit on the same kind of level as what it delivers. My question to you is why is that? Why is the moat so high?
PB: I don’t know, honestly. To be honest with you, I really don’t know why that is the case. I remember thinking at the time, I had a few people who I was asking about it and they were like, “just get something up there, get something up there and build it and shape it and define it.” And I was like, I can’t do that. I’m just such a perfectionist. I don’t have that in my mindset.
I’m going to go for broke and I’m going to write this whole thing and do it. And if it falls flat, then great. So it was enormous and it still is enormous. And I was terrified for the first few years that people were going to copy it and they were going to improve on it as things always do. You know, that’s the nature of the world we live in. You start a product and then someone goes, oh, that’s good. Let me take it to the next level. And that’s the evolution of everything really.
But there’s no one who really does what we do, but there’s some great courses out there, a couple of people out in LA and in New York. But I think they’re more to do with drama and stuff like that and assistant editing.
JE: I’ve seen and reviewed lots of them. And I think the hallmarks of the ITE course that have probably sustained it for those 10 years are the breadth of it, which is enormous, also the depth of it in terms of just your ability to articulate and teach the core concepts. Which are not just, “Here’s a scene I cut and here’s where it’s good.” You have broken down the concepts and taught them in such a way that is really good.
But the thing is, you were a highly experienced editor before you made the course, as opposed to an editor who said, “Hey, I’ll make a video course and then didn’t actually have decades to draw on in terms of teaching others.” And I think the perfectionism probably shines through as well in terms of just how meticulously well made it is.
So I think I think all those things make it really what it is, which is amazing.
PB: Oh, thanks. I mean, I think another thing to probably add is that I actually took a break of about a year to teach, around 2008. I kind of got burned out with all these long docs. And then I taught editing software at a training company, on and off for about a year.
And that really helped me because it really helped me articulate. So you’re really feeling the mood of the room and you’re teaching people from broadcast, and I was doing like AVID to FCP courses and Premiere to AVID courses. I was teaching a lot, but it was all software.
But you having people who were doing going through this process of the light bulb coming on about the power of what happens on the timeline and how software works and how you can do all this kind of stuff. So if I had if I hadn’t done that, I don’t think my course would have been as concise and articulate.
I don’t like going on courses where there’s a gap in the teaching knowledge. It’s like there’s an assumption. I’m like, I’m just going to assume that you don’t know this and I’m going to explain it to you because everyone’s scared of putting their hands up in class and going, “Sorry, I don’t get that. Can you just explain that again?” So I wanted to get away a rid of that and basically create a course that you would never have any questions to.
And I think the other thing is, is because it’s talking about the art form, there’s a timeless factor to it because these things don’t really change. They evolve, but the theories and the visual grammar and the structure and stuff, they don’t really change at all. You can have deviations and stylisations based on a particular editor’s flair, but essentially the structure is locked.
JE: In your experience of running Inside The Edit for all these years, what have you seen from people who’ve done the course, where has it helped them get to in their career ambitions and that kind of thing?
PB: I mean, we just get so many emails of people who are like, “Oh my God, this has really helped me!” And not just from editors, but directors, producers, cinematographers, videographers. And we get those kind of stories fairly frequently. People saying how much it has affected how they think about filmmaking as a whole, because I’m a great believer that editing is the centre of everything. If you can edit everything else doesn’t become easy, but it becomes easier.
We’ve had people who’ve really gone far in their career and gone up the chain from news to documentary to reality to drama and stuff like that. I mean, that’s one of the things we get asked about a lot, actually, which is; “Oh, it’s this is a documentary course?” I’m like, no, it’s not a documentary course at all. We just choose to illustrate on documentary footage and we had to make a choice.
But the way you cut a montage in a feature film drama is exactly the same [in any other genre]. It’s the same shot structure, action, you know, all the kind of narrative structure that you would do in a reality TV show. It’s exactly the same. Just the level of pre-visualisation is different.
So all the laws of visual grammar and stuff like that are so, you know, I’d say 75% of our content is good for every genre, really, including news. How you structure a news story and stuff like that. It has a specific type of structure and structure of where you are in the world. You know, an American news report might be different from a French news report, but essentially a lot of this structure, the visual grammar of everything is they overlap all the time.
I think if the course has failed anywhere, if I’m honest, it’s probably around – and this is part of our new direction – it’s so big and so in-depth, and what we didn’t do is actually create a structure of how to learn and divide up your time with that.
I remember going to a major broadcaster, I think one of the top three broadcasters in the world. I won’t say who it is. And they said, we’re really interested in this. So they got their head of learning and we gave them a free lesson. They watched it and they went, “This is too in depth.”
And that’s a fight we’ve had, which is in today’s kind of like YouTube, TLDR Generation. You can learn to edit in 10 minutes flat on some software; You take the shots out there, you put an In there, mark an Out, put it down on the timeline, you jigger it around with some trimming and insert overwrite.
But to become good at it, you’ve got to practice and it takes a long time. If we had something I’ve changed and what we are changing at the moment is the fact that we are going to be doing a kind of accompaniment and a layered structured lesson plan, because it takes quite a lot of self-will to sit down and watch Inside The Edit, even just all the tutorials.
We’re basically devising and writing a whole structured year long plan, like a month by month plan, cheat sheets, creative tasks that you need to do, project briefs and stuff like that. Very similar to what we did for three years on the master’s degree.
So the whole master’s degree actually taught us a whole load about how people learn because we’d never done that before. I’d never taught creative editing in front of people online, but watching the progress of how people learn and taking that whole experience, because we signed a three year contract with the University of Ravensbourne and we’ve just come to the end of that – it was really interesting because you really get to see all the questions that people need to ask and answer at this time, where they’re struggling, what the commonalities are at every single stage.
So one of our new directions is to add another layer of learning and breaking down each one of these skills, like intercutting, pace and timing, montage, dialogue construction etc. into these 30 day, easily achievable, smaller bites. So you really get the sense of achievement and you really get the sense of like, hey, I can see how much coal I’ve shoveled here. So that’s the thing that we’re looking to do kind of inside the edit 2.0 really.
JE: Can you jjust unpack that a little bit?
PB: Yeah, so the master’s degree, the MFA, we did with Ravensbourne as a kind of co-production between us and them. We were going to continue it, but then we decided against it actually, principally because we found that the academic structure, and it wasn’t just Ravensbourne, we spoke to a lot of other universities, was really restrictive.
You were forced into doing a whole thing because it’s a master’s degree. You had to do things like writing essays and stuff like that, which were totally, you know, useless in a Pro environment. So we decided to basically go out by ourselves and design what we thought pro editors need. And there’s a bunch of things that pro editors need really.
If you want to compress five, six, seven years down into a year and get out there and start earning money as an editor and working your way up the creative ladder, then you need a bunch of things that the academic world really doesn’t train you for. One of them is a pro workload. You need a pro workload. You need accountability. You need deadlines. You don’t get that elsewhere.
The only place you really get that as a young editor is if you’re working in a posthouse. You still start off assisting. So, you know, you have deadlines, but they’re not creative deadlines. They’re assisting deadlines.
So we’ve structured a course called the Pro Editor Course, which is the first ever professional level creative accreditation. Can I actually cut? So we devised this year long course, which is an acceleration of the master’s degree. And it’s basically adding a whole bunch of new stuff in there and putting people into a continued cycle of learning, editing and most importantly, feedback.
You don’t really get feedback either at film school in any great depth. So the feedback sessions we do, we do individual feedback with all our students and we do group feedback as well. “I’m going to watch your cut. I’m going to go through it shot by shot and say what’s going on here.” You know, that deep analysis that you don’t get anywhere in the world. You don’t get it from directors. You don’t get it from exec producers. They just either work with you or not. You either get the call again at the end of the job or you don’t.
You don’t have anyone saying, “No, no, that’s wrong. You can’t cut those two shots together and then bring the music in here. That tone of that music is wrong. And then now that you’re trying to ramp up the pacing here, you’re going to need shots with more camera movement.” The deep analysis of what’s wrong with your scene and sequence.
And that’s the quickest way we’ve seen over three years. That’s the quickest way people grow. We’ve seen people who have absolutely no experience in editing, who are not even in the filmmaking industry. They’re just, like – we had a podiatrist on one year, but just the continued analysis and working and practicing and feedback loops around and around again every week for a whole year. They are employable as a professional editor.
It’s been amazing to see. I was like, how do we accelerate that very slow, predictable five years of guesswork and chance and put people in an environment where not only are they going to be cutting continuously, but you’ve got a feedback loop, and you’re going to be put under pressure like a real professional editor. You’re going to have deadlines. You’re going to have accountability. That was the whole kind of theory behind it, really.
JE: Unpack for me the mechanics of how it works. So with this Pro Editor course, is it one year full time? Is it the kind of thing that you need to have a certain level of experience to take on? Who should do it? And what kind of what level is it? Because with Inside the Edit, you could come in from nowhere. And is the core content mostly Inside the Edit but wrapped with this structure or how does it work?
PB: The core structure over the 12 months is the core structure of Inside the Edit. Inside the Edit is 12 chapters and each one is a creative skill. And you’re going from assembly to rough cut to fine cut. And that’s how we split each term. Each chapter is a month’s work, essentially.
So September to December is assembly, January to Easter is rough cut and then Easter to summer is fine cut. The way we structured it’s a blended learning experience. So each month is a creative skill and each month, obviously, is split into four weeks. So in the first week, you are watching that chapter’s tutorials on Inside the Edit. So it’s a viewing week. It’s nice and easy viewing week. You’re also watching one of our advanced boot camps. So they’re about four hours, sometimes a bit longer, sometimes a bit shorter. So they also take that concept and they give you more examples, live examples of me talking through it and stuff like that.
So you watch all of this content in the first week. You immerse yourself in pace and timing or music editing or montage, whatever. And then in the first week, I do what’s called a live cut session. So I will go through and in a live environment, I have footage on my timeline and I will cut live and go, ‘oh, this doesn’t work or let’s do this.’ And so you’re seeing the process happening in real time. It’s a masterclass, a watch me edit live masterclass. And you can ask questions at any time.
Like, why did you do this? What do you do that? And of course, what you also see is the trial and error of, “Oh, I’m going to try this out. Well, that didn’t work.” And, you know, editors don’t edit something perfectly first time. It’s a process and it’s a lot of, yeah, “OK, I’ll try this or maybe this is a good idea.” So that’s the first week.
The second week, you get a project brief and you’ll set a bunch of sequences. So you’ve got to cut a bunch of sequences, you’re given raw footage, which has been specifically designed to test you and on this particular creative skill, say pace and timing. How do you manipulate tempo? How do you create low tempo, speeding up crescendos, diminuendos, all these kind of things? How do you cut fast, slow? What are the things that the elements that really define tempo outside of just cutting fast?
So then you basically do a rough cut. You work for two weeks, two and three. You cut a bunch of sequences. You’re given the footage. You’re given a project brief that replicates the kind of conversation that you have with the director. So it’s like, here’s the rushes. This is how long it’s got to be. These are the problems that you might find in the rushes, because there’s always problems. There’s nothing that happens, 100 percent. This is the tonality of the sequence. It might have jeopardy and it might have comedy. It might be a slower paced romantic sequence or it might be a faster paced action sequence.
And there’s variation, of course, because we’re very keen on the whole idea that you need to vary different tones and tempos as you grow throughout the course. So no sequences are the same. So each of these sequences that you cut every month, you’ve got two weeks to cut them. So the start of week two, you’ve got two weeks to do an interim cut.
Now, in the second week as well, we’ve got this thing called Movie Night, Movie Night Analysis. So I basically take whatever we’re learning that month, whatever creative skill, we watch movies and I choose specific scenes and selections within movies and go “Look at this, look at how the editors done this. Let’s watch this scene. Let’s watch that scene. Let’s watch a faster version. This is slower, a medium, whatever that thing is we’re watching. It’s not that this is easy, but can you see now that we’ve completely deconstructed this particular skill? Let’s see how the pros do it.”
And we might look at documentaries, might look at dramas, reality TV, might look online branded promos and see the differences because if you can do this, you can do it in any genre. So that’s week two.
In week three, we have you cutting for your second week and we have our group feedback session. So the group feedback and these are amazing because, you know, for three years we’ve been running them every month. And what you see is when everybody comes together and they’re cutting the same footage and we all watch each other’s cuts, everyone watches each other’s cuts and you get to see the really good decisions that that person did, but also the bad decisions or they didn’t end it well or they didn’t create an arc good enough across a pictorial arc or a narrative arc, whatever.
So everyone has these kind of epiphany, enlightening moments when you see what other people have selected and how good they are and stuff like that and how bad and like, “Oh, I’m going to learn from that. I’m not going to do that or I’m going to nick a bit of that. And, you know, that’s a really good idea. I’m going to take that.” So that’s the end of week three.
And then week four is one-to-one week. So one-to-one week is when I have a one-to-one with every single student and I watch all of their cuts and give them detailed shot by shot analysis. “You’ve got problems here. This is really good. These are where your strengths are. These are where your weaknesses are. This is where you’ve got to work on. Let’s go through it.”
It’s kind of like the the notes you get from an exec producer, but way more detailed. How are you cutting these together? Are you observing all the good rules around continuity? How’s your music selection? Are you matching the tonality, the music with certain elements within the scene? You know, all of these hundreds of questions.
And then we also have a guest speaker in week four. It’s really nice to ask questions to successful editors like Eddie Hamilton. He’s one of the guest speakers. He’s just finished cutting Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning. And got Oscar nominated for Top Gun: Maverick, Mark Everson, who’s cutting Wonka at the moment for Warner Brothers, he cut Paddington 1 and 2 and Johnny English Reborn, stuff like that. Directors talking about what do they want in in an editor? What turns them off? What turns them on? What attracts them to a CV?
So it’s a very Pro orientated set of guest speakers who you just wouldn’t get the chance to talk to these people otherwise and ask them questions. Ask them about their rise, whether they’re an editor, a director or an exec producer. And then at the end of week four, you submit your work. So you’ve got your final deadline. So you’ve got an interim deadline, a kind of rough cut deadline. And then you once you’ve taken notes, we’ve gone through with me. You go back and rework your sequences and you submit them.
And every term you then you get a grade on your work with written feedback. So you get three or four layers of feedback and you get a grade. And so if you go through each term. And you get a B or higher, you will become an accredited Inside The Edit Pro Editor, but not below.
JE: How long does the course run for, the full year? How many months are in a term?
PB: So you start at the start of September and you finish at the end of August. There’s four months in the first term and then three months in the terms two and three. But then we break up in the middle of July as we also have a summer project. So you’ve got six to seven weeks to cut a 30 minute long-form piece.
So it’s a whole year, a couple of weeks off over Christmas, a couple of weeks off at Easter. That’s it. There’s no breaks.
JE: Sounds amazing, could you have made this course for me about 20 years ago?
PB: And for me as well. I mean, all the pain that we went through of trial and error. The way we came up is incredibly laborious and this full of it’s just full of a lot of time wasting. One of the reasons we did the master’s degree was to kind of prove that you could get to Pro level in a year. You still need to practice and work on different footage and stuff like that, but you can get to a very, very high level very quickly. If you’re put under those circumstances.
But those circumstances do not exist out there at the moment. It takes a very, very long time. Because of the structure of how the industry works. You’ve got this chicken and egg paradox, this crazy situation: you’re supposed to know all of these creative techniques and skills and concepts. That’s what directors, producers, studios, production companies and broadcasters expect. Yet we can’t articulate what they are, we just know it when we see it.
And then at the other end, the film schools and they’re just, they’re not teaching what you need to know. And you end up, you know, 100, 200 grand in debt, depending on where you are. And you’re not really employable.
So the whole the whole structure of what we’ve always tried to do with Inside The Edit, and specifically with the Pro Editor program, is, how can you earn money now? Not when you’re 100 grand down, and you’ve got to wait three or four years.
This is not a full time course. This is specifically designed to fit in around work. So most of our students over the last three years, they got full time work. They might be editors. You’ve got lots of promo editors who want to move over to long form and stuff like that. They’re seasoned, high end promo editors. There are people who are new to the industry. There’s a wide range, but they’re all working full time.
I’d say 90% of them working full time and they’re doing, a couple of hours in the morning before they go to work. Maybe get them in early. A couple of hours in the evening or an hour in the evening and then working on weekends and stuff like that. So it’s designed to fit around full time work, whether you’re in the industry or not, really.
JE: It sounds like a lot when you unpack it, but it sounds like you can also do almost all of it at your own pace within that schedule, within that structure.
PB: It works out about two hours a day. And now you don’t have to work every day. You can do six hours a weekend. It’s about 10 to 15 hours a week. It might be a bit more on some weeks. There’s some weeks that may be quite intense, but essentially you need a certain percentage of mental real estate taken up with editing every single day if you want to be an editor.
And it’s the age old thing. The more you put in, the quicker you get there. I mean, that’s one of the reasons I wrote the podcast is that so that it would immerse people, half an hour, 45 minutes once a week, or if you’re new to it, go back – I always tell all my students go back and then just listen to it -listen to a podcast every day because it’s something about the craft. It’s something about a career. It’s something about the psychology of the edit suite. So you immerse yourself.
So if you are in that for at least half an hour to an hour every day and you are cutting and you are thinking about editing and you have this immersive experience where you have accountability and you have deadlines, you have the stress of the real world, not, you know, “I just got to get this edit done for my film lecturer by the end of the term.” You know, that’s never going to work, that’s not a realistic situation at all.
So the course is between 10 and 15 hours a week. And I think most people who are certainly passionate and driven can find that time around work.
JE: Who should self-select themselves out? Because it sounds like an amazing opportunity, an amazing course, which certainly requires a high level of commitment and drive.
Whereas, obviously, if you just signed up to Inside The Edit, you can watch at your own pace. You can dip in and out as and when you want to. But if you don’t have a rigorous self-discipline, it could very quickly become wishy-washy, in terms of what you get out of it.
So who should go for it and what should their mindset be in terms of approaching it? Should it be “I’m going to do commit to this for a year because I know, on the other side, I’m going to come out employable or even more employable than I already am?”
PB: We do get this question a lot. Which is what’s the difference in Inside The Edit and The Pro Editor program?
The difference is Inside The Edit is self taught learning. So you go in, you have the footage, you are set creative tasks, you watch the tutorials and at the end of each tutorial given something to do. But there’s a number of things that you don’t get.
You don’t get one-to-one feedback. You don’t get group feedback. You don’t get deadlines.
But you speed up when someone’s giving you feedback, when you have accountability as well. So you could be the greatest editor in the world. But if you can’t keep a deadline, you will never work. Ever. Because deadlines are money and people won’t trust you with money, because a set of raw footage is an enormous amount of money that has taken a lot of talented people, enormous amount of stress and organization and God knows what else and money to put on our timeline.
The whole thing is, the Pro Editor course is preparing you for industry. It’s putting you in an industry-based environment where you are learning and getting feedback and getting the accountability and deadline.
But the other thing we’re really interested in, actually, we’ve basically created a Pro Editor alumni group. So it’s a community of Pro editors who’ve gone through the course. And one of the beautiful things we’ve done, from the masters for three years now, is so many of these people are staying in contact.
It’s like you’ve gone on this amazing journey. You’ve all learned the same stuff. You’ve all come to this really high standard and now you’re going to go out into the world. So you need support. You need constant advice and stuff like that.
So we’ve built this alumni group, which you get lifetime membership to. And we meet up every month. We watch cuts. We’re building a Discord group where people can say “I’ve got this client and they don’t really know what they want. Can everyone have a look at this cut and give me what they think?” Or “This client, they’re not paying me as much as they should, or they’re trying to negotiate down. What do you think I should do?”
It’s not a normal channel full of filmmakers who haven’t gone through a very arduous and in-depth process. It’s like these are all Pro editors. That kind of community, with editors, I always thought was missing. It wasn’t something we could do on an academic level because it just doesn’t exist. As soon as you finish film school, thanks for your money. Bye. Goodbye. Next year, next cohort in. Right. Let’s repeat the cycle.
I’m like, “No! You should build a community of people and you should look after and care for these people and watch them grow, forever.” So we give people the lifetime membership to Inside The Edit. We give people lifetime membership to all the boot camps. So they have these learning resources forever. And you come and join our community, but you have to have gone through the Pro Editing course to access the group because otherwise it dilutes the usefulness of it. You wouldn’t get as much if people are asking really basic questions and stuff like that. It would be a different type of group.
JE: And also then everyone has the same foundation of knowledge and experience to a certain degree. And that is just so useful for being in a good position to actually recommend another editor to your clients.
PB: That’s the great thing, is that people are already sharing jobs on these groups of our students. They’re like, “Oh, we need another editor. Can you recommend anyone?” “Yeah, I can recommend someone. And that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Because you can actually know, you’ve seen that person’s work for a year. You’ve seen them evolve. You can actually recommend them.
Not, well, this person is my mate. They’re my friend. I hope they don’t screw it up because it’s going to look bad for me. Instead, I can recommend this person [based on real experience]. So that’s unique. I’m always trying to fill the gaps in the editing experience, how you evolve a career, how you make money as soon as possible, how you get more clients, how you create a bigger show reel. And I think that’s really missing from anywhere in the training world, the academic world. It’s only open to a few people. Maybe if you’re very lucky to be an assistant editor on a big feature film in a post house or something like that, but, you know, there’s five of those jobs a year.
JE: What are the mechanics of paying for it? Because it’s got a premium price tag, compared to other online training. Which isn’t really a fair comparison but…
I mean, if I was a younger editor working somewhere and I knew this existed, I’d say, “Hey, boss, can I get a career development loan or,can you just invest in me as a person, pay me to do this course one day a week or something. I will be far a better editor for you, in a year’s time.
But just unpack for me the mechanics of that side of doing the course.
PB: That’s the kind of philosophy around Inside The Edit. We got we work with a lot of broadcasters and production companies who want to train up their staff and they say, “We’ll buy this course if you complete it in a year” or something like that. That happens to us with a load of broadcasters and production companies around the world, big and small.
But with the Pro Editor course, because you’re getting all this one to ones and group feedback and all the big kind of machinery we’ve build around it. So, yeah, it’s more akin from a price tag to doing a like a one year master’s degree. But it’s not really a master’s degree. It’s way less academic and much more practical.
I mean, no one in the industry cares whether you got a degree. That was one of the defining factors about why we decided to go out on our own. I don’t know anyone who’s been asked if they had a degree. No one cares when you’re entering the industry as a production assistant. All they care about is have you got a driving license?
They don’t actually care because you’re not going to roll out of film school and then walk into a half million pound entertainment show. Film schools are a tour. They’re a tour of the battlefield. You never really get in there.
So you’ve got two choices really for the Pro Editor program. You can pay upfront before the course starts, which is £15,000 plus VAT*. Or you can pay by term, but it’s obviously more expensive. Instead of £5,000 a term, it’s £6000 plus VAT. It’s kind of like the same price as a master’s degree in UK and very, very cheap for a master’s degree in the US.
There are people that are cheaper than us. There are people that are way more expensive than us, but we wanted to make it affordable for what we offer.
JE: In terms of time zones, and I assume students will come from all over the world. How accessible will it be for people?
PB: Probably half of our students are from the US, which is a pretty large percentage, and that’s East Coast, West Coast and, everywhere in between. The sessions usually last anywhere from sort of two to three hours. Sometimes we go longer if there’s more questions. I don’t really say, right, 90 minutes, that’s it. We I just tend to carry on until everyone hasn’t got any more questions.
A lot of them are like 7pm to 9/9.30pm in the evenings when we have the weekday ones. And in lots of different parts of US that’s lunchtime. We have sessions on the weekends as well. So like Saturday, which is like 2pm to about 5pm. That works out really well from around breakfast time in LA.
But we record the sessions. They’re all Zoom calls and then we record them and post them immediately. And then we have this like open communication. We use Slack. We post everything. “Hey, watch this. What do you think of this?” Everyone can post their cuts and stuff like that.
All the recordings are on the site immediately. We post them straight away. So if anyone misses a session, you can watch the live session again.
JE: It sounds like you’ve thought of everything.
Well, it’s taken three years and evolving it over three years. And you just get to fine tune things and see how things work and where the errors are and how can we make this easier? Everyone, I mean, everyone can can text me directly. It’s not like a lot of courses where you could talk to the tutor, once a month or once a term. If you’re having problems or something, text me wherever you are and I’ll answer.
So we run it like a production company. We don’t run it like a film school.
JE: What should I have asked you that I’ve not asked you, as we’re coming up to an hour so I don’t take too much more of your time.
PB: If anything, the last couple of years has taught us is that basically we’re evolving a whole bunch of new products. So the Pro Editor program is one. We’re doing all these new advanced boot camps, which are pre-recorded. You can buy them if you are light on a particular skill. “I really need understand pacing and timing.” OK, so you just buy this boot camp. It’s like 5-6 hours long. You can buy a skill off the shelf, as it were, and you get footage and you get tasks to do and stuff like that.
We’re going to be doing conversion courses, so we’re going to be doing these one week intensive courses like editing theory for videographers. So if you’re going out and you’re a one person self-shooter director, how do you shoot? What do you shoot? What do you need? What’s the minimum? And then how do you get it all back and cut it together? So I think that’s kind of lacking in the industry as well, because I’m a director and shooter as well.
So, we’re just expanding the amount of products and ways to learn editing, really, and all the kind of secondary skills around that. So the next year is really exciting for us.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of learning out there, which is not really Pro level, so we’re kind of filling that gap. We don’t think the film schools are doing it.
Your skill level is the most expensive thing in the early part of your career. But where are you going to learn? And my whole thing is do you want to, as in some parts of America, you’re like dropping quarter of a million. Or, even 100, 200 grand, and you’re in debt until you’re in your 50s!
And you’re no better off than anyone who’s really going straight out into the industry and then picking up gradually by themselves. That’s crippling.
We’re constantly thinking of new ways to teach editing and evolving new products to support that. And so the next 18 months for us is a very big growth period in that direction, really, to give people highly condensed, professional level editing and filmmaking theory that you can’t get anywhere else.
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