Post-Production Careers: Creating a Marketing Strategy for Going from Free to Fee-Based Video Editing Services

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How to Start Your Editing Career

The phrase “everyone works for free sometimes” works double for the film and video industry. In reality, if you want to enter into the world of film and video production you are going to have to spend time interning and volunteering to develop skills, make contacts, and “pay your dues.” This is not as steadfast in the world of post-production, but you can still expect to do quite a bit of work without a fee. Many professional video and film editors at a high level are based around freelancing, which requires you to make a name for yourself if you want to get consistent work. You may want to start out offering your video editing skills for free to clients, though you will still need an educational background and software knowledge. This is going to help you to develop your editing reel for later clients, once you do begin charging. When you are ready to make the shift you will need a marketing strategy for going from free to fee-based video editing services to help promote yourself.

Showing Your Work

The main point of your marketing strategy for going from free to fee-based video editing services should be your relevant experience. You will need to compile the work you have done and put it into a reel and a comprehensive list that you can transfer to a resume. If people are going to hire you for your editing services they are going to need to know that your skills are up to par with the fee you are requesting, so you need to have work to show. When you are still editing for free it is important to take on a variety of different types of projects so that you can get down different editing objectives, though much of the time you will likely spend assisting main editors or working on very small independent projects. Once you have everything put together it is important to create appropriate packages to show people, which is likely going to mean preparing DVDs to show relevant work.

Sell Yourself

The marketing strategy for going from free to fee-based video editing services is going to be the same as the marketing strategy you should have in assigning yourself a personal identity and professional package. The real transition you are making when going from free to fee-based video editing services is jumping into the professional world from the world of a student or intern. This process requires you to learn how to package and sell yourself to clients, so this means learning a lot about self-promotion. Develop a web and social networking presence for yourself, complete with samples of your work, resume, and contact information. Try to spread this around as much as possible, and make sure the quality of it is professional and the style represents your own post-production work.


Most professional video editors are going to be required to own much of their own equipment, which basically means a computer and software. Since you will often be changing locations, showing work in progress to clients, and dealing with multiple platforms, you are going to want a high-end laptop to keep your work mobile. At the same time, your software should be up to date and include things like motion graphics, design, DVD authoring, and color grading programs. You need to have the proper base equipment that’s required and if a client requires something special, you can include that in your fee. This is not something you necessarily need to spell out plainly in your marketing materials, but it is going to be a must once clients make clear contact with you.

Contacting the Past

Your contacts from your free work are going to be your main starting point, so making contact with them and sharing your marketing materials should be step one. Let them know that you are establishing yourself as a freelancer and that you want to be considered for paid contracting jobs. This is going to be hit and miss depending on where your experience was, but it is going to allow professional outlets to be aware that you have entered this sphere.