Editing/Special Effects career - Help


New member
To all whom read my letter,

I’d like to begin by thanking you for taking the time to read my letter and help address some of my corners as well as offer any advice you might have, with that being said I’d like to introduce myself. My name’s Daniel I’m currently a student at UCF finishing his AA (General Education program) this semester, however over the past semester I have been encountering many problems regarding what I want to do as my career.

Ill begin by letting everyone know that I’m very much into the movie industry in a theoretical way, meaning I have no actual experience yet in any aspect of the film industry (which I agree that I should 2 years into college). Nonetheless what I hope to do someday is to become a film editor or a special effects person (CGI) and once I’ve got my hand in the industry so to speak, I might try my hand at producing. My main focus is to study Editing and possibly special effects if possible.

I’ve taken my “career goal” to many people and advisors trying to seek help yet have received minimal help. At first I was told to enter the film program, yet months later I was told I’d be better of doing Digital Media which would open up more job possibilities to have in case editing didn’t start off correctly, I could always work on design and other television-oriented careers. Mind you I was given this new information with a new counselor, just two semesters shy of starting my real core courses. I read up on the information on my own and it seemed that Digital Media would probably be the better degree to have to show for college, although as we all know the industry isn’t all about having a degree unlike being a doctor or a lawyer. At this point I was extremely confused by the lack of information everyone seemed to have, and the fact that everyone gave completely contradicting opinions. I came to the conclusion that either half the people aren’t in touch with “reality” or that the industry is that “shady” to get into. I’d like to believe the first of the two.

After speaking to my advisor once again, he mentioned that Editing isn’t something that is taught, its one of those “self-taught” careers and I should really work on it on my own. I asked him about special effects and was responded by “Special Effects in and of itself isn’t a career”. I’m beginning to wonder, if all this is true then Hollywood must be making up jobs just for credits, and we all know that isn’t true. Editing and Visual effects do exist. I have heard of getting certified for programs such as Final cut for editing purposes allowing me to work and be able to post that on my resume, which I hope to get started on this winter once I purchase my apple computer. (I rather get used to apples, as they seem to be the up and coming tools in the industry). I then looked around at others universities and noticed they do offer some editing/cgi courses, but no actual degree in them. (NYU, ULA, etc) so I once again confronted my teachers/advisors only to get the response that what I’m looking to do is a self-taught business and I should consider switching majors. I was also responded with “Digital Media degree is more of an art-oriented program not so much technical like editing/special effects are”. At this point I was frustrated and began considering other options. I looked up Full sail also in the same city and just down the street and was impressed by their curriculum. They seem to offer more opportunity for me to work on what I want with their Digital Media program while keeping the doors open for other tentative careers. However as of late I have heard many bad things about Full sail and their programs. Once again, bringing me to more thinking.

I’m posting my letter in numerous forums to try and receive a response hopefully from someone in the industry or another student who’s been through the same problem. I really believe the Internet might have something to offer in terms of opinion and I would like to hear what everyone has to say about my topic. I’m trying to gather as much information as possibly to decide if Full sail or UCF will be the better options and how to get my foot in the door with what I want to do, whether that means wait for classes or buy a Mac and start self-teaching myself and applying to do small jobs. I’m also interviewing as many students as possible in order to get opinions from all angles in hopes of getting more complete background knowledge on everything.

My current plan is to keep gathering information in order to make the best decision possible, which will affect the rest of my life, having 5 months to do so. I also believe that a Digital Media degree will probably be the better option for what I’m trying to get into, however I will be working on a Film degree from VCC (Valencia Community College) possibly after receiving my main degree for my own knowledge and the sake of having a second degree. During this semester I hope to get my Mac and begin working on studying and self-teaching myself programs such as: Final Cut, Adobe, Avid and others to hopefully work on that “self-certification program”. Hopefully this helps everyone get inside my head a little and better understand what I’m attempting to do.

Thank you for you time once more,