Frequently Asked Questions
DO I NEED ANY PRIOR FILMMAKING OR COMPUTER KNOWLEDGE IN ORDER TO TAKE YOUR CLASS?
Although some of our students do have prior experience working in the film industry, no experience of this sort is necessary or expected. You'll just need a basic working knowledge of Macintosh computers—if you know how to send email and browse the internet you should be fine. The only thing that's truly required for the six-week class is motivation; film editing requires the ability to work independently and creatively.
How big are your classes?
The maximum number of students in our six-week class is 14. And we always maintain a student to teacher ratio of no more than 3 to 1.
What is the Schedule for the Six-Week Class?
For the first week, class meets from 10am to 5pm. Students work in pairs as they learn the fundamentals of Avid Media Composer.
For weeks 2-6, each student has access to their own editing computer from 9am to 1:30pm. There is a daily lecture, class discussion, or guest speaker from 1:30-2:30pm.
In larger classes, we also have a 2:30pm to 7pm editing shift. In this case, students are assigned to either the morning or afternoon shift on the first day of class. Please note that while most students end up with their preferred shift, it's not something we can guarantee.
CAN I TAKE THE SIX-WEEK CLASS IF I ALSO HAVE A PART-TIME JOB?
We have lots of students who work part-time during the class. With the exception of the first week (which is full-time), you'll attend either the morning shift (9am to 2:30pm) or the afternoon shift (1:30pm to 7pm). The rest of the day is free. We do occasionally schedule guest speakers, screenings, and other events outside of these hours. Attendance is optional, but you might want to keep them in mind as you plan your schedule.
DO I NEED TO BUY ANYTHING OR BRING ANYTHING WITH ME?
You might want to bring a notebook to class, but we provide everything else.
WILL I HAVE MY OWN COMPUTER TO WORK ON?
Yes, you'll have four and a half hours a day on your own editing system. The only exception is the first week of class, when you'll work with a partner (we find this helps people learn Avid more quickly).
IF I WANT TO TAKE THE CLASS, CAN I FIND OUT BEFOREHAND WHAT FILMS WE'LL BE EDITING?
No. The film industry moves fast and in order to get the best possible projects, we usually have to wait until right before a class starts to finalize things. You might end up working on a scripted feature with famous actors, a no-budget improv comedy shot with DSLRs, or a verite documentary. But we always pick films that we think will provide a great educational experience for our students.
Why is the Six-Week Class Taught on Avid?
The focus of our six-week class is editing for narrative and documentary film and television, where Avid is the industry standard.
Final Cut Pro's latest incarnation—Final Cut Pro X—is a radical departure from previous versions and has largely been rejected by professional editors. See, for example, this.
Adobe Premiere seems to be gaining ground, especially for short form and web content. But with the exception of a few big-name filmmakers using it (David Fincher, for example), it has yet to gain wide acceptance in the film and TV world.
In short, we think Avid is the best program to learn right now. It's also worth noting that Avid is generally considered the hardest editing program to learn and, perhaps for this reason, Avid jobs tend to pay better. We consider this another advantage for our students.
OKAY, BUT THEN WHY NOT TEACH PREMIERE AND/OR FINAL CUT PRO IN ADDITION TO AVID?
Great question. We're aware of other classes that try to teach multiple software programs and there are a few reasons why we don't.
First, we tried it—and we found it's much harder for students to master any of them when they're trying to learn all of them. It's a little bit like trying to learn Spanish and Italian at the same time. They're just similar enough to be confusing.
Second, from a career perspective, it's much better to be really good at one program than to be okay at three. Our goal is for students to leave the class ready to walk on to an Avid editing job with complete confidence in their skills.
Finally, the main focus of our program is the art of editing. The software is just a tool. And by itself, knowing what the buttons do doesn't make you a good editor. What makes our course unique is that we also teach you editing techniques that can be applied to any software program. It's like the difference between learning what the buttons on a camera do as opposed to learning the principles of lighting and shot composition that enable you to take good pictures.
DO YOU HELP STUDENTS FIND JOBS AFTER COMPLETING THE CLASS?
We don't have an official job placement program and we don't make any promises about getting our students jobs after they complete the six-week course. As you probably know, freelance editing is a tough business. Success requires a mix of talent, connections, and luck. That said, we do believe that our six-week course will give you a leg up. You'll leave with a professional reel, a credit on a real film, and access to a network of hundreds of Edit Center graduates, many of whom are now working in the film industry. And most importantly, you'll have the skills to embark on your first job with confidence.
When we get calls from directors looking for editors, we do try to forward these requests to former students, but of course this can't be guaranteed for any particular student.
DO YOU HELP OUT-OF-TOWN STUDENTS FIND HOUSING IN NEW YORK DURING THE COURSE?
Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to officially help students with housing. But lots of out-of-town and international students take our classes. Most of them find short-term sublets on sites like Craigslist and Airbnb.
DO YOU OFFER FINANCIAL AID OR SCHOLARSHIPS?
As a small school that's unaffiliated with any college or university, we don't currently have the means to provide financial aid or scholarships for our courses.
DO YOU OFFER CLASSES IN ANY OTHER LOCATIONS?
Right now we only offer classes in New York City.
CAN I COME VISIT YOUR CLASSES?
Yes! We know this course is a big commitment. We encourage prospective students to come to one of our open houses to get a sense of our program. If you're unable to attend an open house, please contact us to schedule a visit.
I'M A DIRECTOR WITH A FILM I WANT TO SUBMIT FOR EDITING IN THE SIX-WEEK CLASS. HOW DO I APPLY?
To submit your film for an upcoming Six-Week Art of Editing class, please refer to our documentary and narrative film submission guidelines located here.