Editor Rob Ashe is doling out some great words of wisdom on his new website. Ashe is both a professional editor and former instructor in his field, so some of his posts strongly relate to concepts I try to teach my Electronic Communications students. In a recent post, Ashe wrote about how many editors are rabid fanboy/fangirls of a particular editing program for no substantial reason, much in the same way people are staunchly pro-Mac or pro-Microsoft.
It’s discouraging to see this attitude develop among some of my students. For example, a few of them were visibly disappointed last semester when I said we were going to use iMovie to make their very first videos. Somehow, the students already had the impression that they had to use Final Cut Pro if the videos were going to be any good. To them, the quality of the video hinged on the program, not their ability.
In communications-related industries, it’s counter-productive to work under the impression that there’s only one program to do the job. You’re eliminating job and work opportunities if you focus on the program instead of the skill. Employers want to hire people who are adept at learning, using and modifying a variety of resources (software and otherwise) to get work done efficiently and effectively. And yes, that may mean editing videos in iMovie or photos in Corel. Sure, one program might have more bells and whistles, or do something a little better than another program. But that’s part of what an employer is looking for – someone who knows what program to use and when to use it over others. Software is just a tool and is not vitally important; one’s ability to craft the content is.
To combat this attitude, we have to help others learn how to learn other programs. Once a person has the fundamental skills down, it becomes a matter of understanding different interfaces. A cut is still a cut and a fade is still a fade no matter what program you’re in.