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How to start a video editing career

  • Published on March 19, 2022
start a video editing career by learning Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro

There are several ways to start a video editing career. The first step generally involves learning the tools most commonly used in the craft, such as Premiere Pro or Final Cut, and as well as learning the craft of video editing. After gaining confidence in their ability to work with video editing tools, it is possible to pursue paid work. Finding clients in need of video editors can be achieved in a variety of ways. By strategically marketing video editing skills, showcasing skills, creating a portfolio, and building a client base, it is possible to find video editors jobs either as a freelance or full-time worker.

Marketing video editing skills to find work

Getting started with a career as a video editor generally requires finding clients and pitching for projects. Although applying for jobs online may help you find work as a video editor, some areas may not have as many open jobs as the major video editing markets of Los Angeles and New York. Smaller towns still have a need for these positions but may require some creative marketing of your skills..

Getting in touch with local businesses such as restaurants, boutiques, and even nearby corporations about their need for commercials, promotional videos, or training materials is a great place to start. Similarly, local bands may be interested in making quality music videos to promote themselves. Additionally, videographers may be looking for help with an upcoming wedding or special occasion they’re filming, and may need assisting with video editing. When first starting in the field, it is often necessary to accept entry-level video editing roles.

When pitching new clients, it’s important to do your research beforehand and be ready to answer any questions. Understand the type of work the client does. Organize your previous clips into a demo reel that presents a variety of your best work. Prepare a general pricing system by talking with other videographers, examining your level of experience, and researching rates in your area. Leaving business cards with clients gives them time to consider their needs and get in contact with any questions they might have.

Websites for video editors

Websites are invaluable tools for video editors seeking to build a career and promote themselves. They give potential clients the ability to assess a video editor’s skill level and compatibility with projects that they’re looking for help on. Adding completed projects to a website showcases growth in skill and a commitment to seeking out new work opportunities. In order to attract new clients using a website, video editors should consider including the following on their website:

  • Prominently featured demo reel
  • Quotes or reviews from previous clients
  • Complete list and/or links to finished work
  • Highly visible contact information
  • Pricing estimates or a section for messages about quotes
  • Links to other social media or blogs
  • Mobile-friendly web design
  • Layout reflecting personal style
  • Logo for independent video editors

There are many ways to go about building a website to showcase your video editing skills. You can build a site using WordPress or Drupal, or use a low cost online service. You may want to host your video on a separate streaming service so that it plays quickly, and embed the video into your own site. Hosting video directly on your own may require large amounts of storage and may not play as efficiently as occurs on dedicated streaming sites.

Business cards are another great way to promote business and are a worthwhile investment for video editors trying to establish themselves. Even for video editors that work from home, having business cards at the ready is important. You never know when an opportunity will arise and it’s an easy way to communicate professionalism and make certain prospective clients remember you when they are ready with a project.

Building a video editing career through differentiation

Despite the positive growth projection for video editing careers, it remains highly competitive. It is important to differentiate your video editing skills from others. Taking on different projects and diversifying your client base can set you apart from other applicants and equip you for a larger variety of projects. Obtaining a video editing certificate to advance your skills as a video editor is another great way to push toward the top of an applicant pool, or taking individual workshops such as Premiere Pro classes or After Effects courses.

When you’re ready to start work, use at least a basic contract to make certain you and your client know exactly what is expected, any deadlines, and the amount to be paid. Once a client agrees to pay for your services, communication is the key to making sure they’re satisfied. Discuss pricing before any work is completed. While payment options vary depending on the type of work, write up an agreement or send invoices describing what they’re being charged for, your payment rate, and when the amount is due so that there is no confusion later on. Always communicate with your client about their vision and schedule regular check-ins to update them on your progress. Be open to suggestions and account for the time you’ll spend on revisions when calculating your rates.


Reported by Morgan Keith


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics classes along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.