Between YouTube, TikTok, online courses, digital ads, and short films, the demand for professional video editors is high. But how do you even get hired as one? Maybe you could find a job application for a large production house, but how would you go about finding a YouTube creator in need of an editor? Here are our tips for getting hired as a video editor, regardless of what level you’re at and what field you want to get into. Cover photo: Kal Visuals
Get Hired as a Video Editor
Be really good at what you do
There are many styles of editing, and even if you technically have the skills required for a job, someone looking for an editor will prefer to see actual examples. So if you’re applying to edit TikTok videos, make sure you have previous TikTok videos to prove you have the skills and know the best practices.
If you know you want to apply for an editing position but you don’t have any experience editing the style of videos the job requires, then get creative and make your own. Create your own Tik Toks, your own gaming video, your own horror film, your own fake advertisement – just create something to prove you know what goes into that kind of edit. You should also be proficient in your chosen editing tool. There may be some value in knowing multiple editing tools, as some companies will demand that you use a specific one. But you should prioritize being a deep expert in your favorite editor so you can accomplish the edit you need as quickly as possible.
Notice that we never mentioned having a degree. While film school or a degree in broadcast or media doesn’t hurt, it’s also often not required if you can prove you have the right skills.
Decide between freelance or staff editing
There are two main paths a video editor can take. One of these is to become a freelancer, taking a variety of jobs as they come up. The other path is to become a staff editor. This is a full-time position that may have benefits and stable hours. You may find it at an editing house, a production studio, or a marketing agency, depending on the type of editing. Doing freelance editing means that you’ll have more freedom, but less certainty. You’ll also have more variety, whereas being a staff editor may mean editing the same show or movies every week. It’s all about personal preference.
Photo: Direct Media
Know your environment
If you live in a film-centric city such as Los Angeles, there are likely many opportunities for those interested in in-person editing work where you can work in an office. If you don’t live in a city like that, freelance work may be your best option. It may be difficult to find work on a major movie or TV show, but there are still plenty of options if you don’t live in the big city. If you have a budding music scene in your town, you can get into filming live performances or editing music videos. Maybe there are local businesses who will be in need of ads and commercials. No matter where you are, you will likely have local news and weddings, so there will always be local work.
There are many ways to find freelance video editing work. The primary way is through freelance websites such as Upwork and Fiverr. On freelance websites like this, you can find all kinds of remote work for various kinds of video editing. You’ll probably find a lot of YouTube video editing gigs, which can provide a lot of consistent but varied work for you. You may also find some corporate work, ads for small businesses, and some events like weddings.
You’ll never be bored by the variety of options available online, just don’t get too attached to any of them. There’s no guarantee of steady work or of continuous work with the same client.
Video editing is a wide field, with styles ranging from feature films to social media. If you’re working as a freelancer, you might be able to be a jack of all trades and take on gigs editing various styles. However, if you plan on getting a full-time position and following a career in a specific editing field, you should specialize and always be walking a path toward that style. If you can, only seek out work that has to do with your chosen path, even if you have to do some pro-bono or discounted work for friends at first just to build a small portfolio. Starting a strong career in a specific editing field can open many more doors in that field, while changing courses may be difficult as you may get pigeonholed into what people know you for.
What rates can be expected?
Video editing jobs vary by a lot, and how much you get paid depends primarily on the skill level required for the job, and your own skill level, as well as the type of editing. On the low end, some jobs on Upwork and Fiverr may try to pay around $10 per hour, but most entry level editing positions will pay around $15 to $25 per hour, or a salary of around $30,000 or so.
The average experienced editor can expect $40 per hour, but there are plenty of even greater opportunities for professional editors for movies or TV, even up to six figure salaries or more. But just because you’re worth that much, doesn’t mean that every job will pay that much. Many will pay lower, many will pay higher, but you probably won’t ever have a consistent rate especially if you’re freelancing. Specific jobs like visual effects artists may command higher salaries, which is why it can be useful to specialize in a certain style of editing.
Photo: Tim Sullivan
How to Get Hired
Getting your very first editing job will open the doors to more and better jobs. If you don’t have any local connections, start with a gig on Upwork or Fiverr. You might not be editing anything groundbreaking, but it will be a good start for your experience level. If you currently have a full-time job that isn’t in video editing, or you’re part of some sort of club, see if you can get permission to do some video work. Work with the marketing department to film and edit an ad for the company, for example. Once you have some actual client work in your portfolio, it will become easier and easier to get new work. Editing jobs are often in demand, and your portfolio will make your application rise to the top of the list.
Video editing is a great job, but finding your first gig can be daunting. Like we said, start by building your portfolio, either with small gigs or by producing your own content. Before you know it, you’ll be on your path to editing the kind of videos or films that you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re an editor, let us know how you got your start down in the comments below, and make sure to subscribe to FilterGrade if you found this video helpful.