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Hi. They asked me to write a short bio about myself; so, here goes. I travel the world helping editors get work, improve their skills and keep clients happy. I’m a producer, director, editor, consultant and trainer and I’ve been doing this work for more than 40 years. I’ve worked at local TV stations, network television in the US, and created more corporate videos and audio podcasts than I can count.

I believe that technology is inherently confusing for many people. So I work hard, in my writing and training, to make training less frightening and more understandable. (I also tell a lot of stories.) I love watching that light bulb go on when a student suddenly understands something they’ve been struggling with.

I’m based in Los Angeles and am a member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America. As you’ll discover on this website, I’ve written thousands of technical articles – and eight books – on all facets of production and post-production. I also write and publish ‘Larry Jordan’s Free Weekly Adobe and Final Cut Newsletter’ – now in its eleventh year – which provides essential news and tutorials on a wide variety of audio and video editing software.

Larry’s Bio

Producer, Director, Editor, Trainer.

You really want to know?  Well… I was fired from my very first radio job.

Just after graduating from Cornell College, I was working for a small FM station in northern Illinois: WRWC-FM in Rockton. It was a beautiful music station where, every fifteen minutes, I would say: “You’ve been listening to the Mantovani Strings. Coming up next: the Boston Pops.”  Or was it the other way round? I get confused.  Then, on the hour, I would do a 90-second rip-and-read newscast - torn of the pages of the station’s teletype.

I was in hog-heaven; which was a good thing because I think I was broadcasting to more cows and sheep than people. 

This idyl lasted for three months. Then, the Program Director called me into his office and said: “Son,” (I was much younger then) “you are a second tenor. We need a baritone. Enjoy the rest of your life.”

That was it. My dream job in radio dashed against the cruel rocks of a baritone-free voice.  I was devastated.

Fortunately, the same day I was fired in radio, I was hired as a camera-operator at WHA-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, as a graduate student assistant. I pivoted out or radio into graduate school and television and the wide world beyond.

From there, further chaos ensued - I mean, I didn’t really want to set the studio on fire - but, that will need to wait until you interview me again.

1.  You produce, direct, edit and train other filmmakers, how

    did you get your start?

Ha. No.

Every day is different, which is why I like what I’m doing. Every day starts with solving problems, or answering questions, via email - anywhere from 100 - 200 messages a day.

Then, depending upon the day of the week, I’m either prepping for an online webinar, or the weekly Digital Production Buzz, which airs live on Thursday evenings. Or, prepping to teach my weekly class at USC. Or writing articles for my weekly newsletter.

If it wasn’t for deadlines, I wouldn’t get anything done - the work would simply pile up to unreasonable proportions.

I also work periodically on free-lance projects, or in-depth training on a particular piece of software. Or doing my homework testing software or hardware for a product review. Or…

Well, you get the idea.

My efforts are all targeted at helping media professionals find work, improve their skills and keeping clients happy. That means that I need to stay on top of key industry trends, research products that are useful to my audience, and share what I’ve learned through podcasts, webcasts, articles, tutorials and interviews.

2.  Can you describe a regular day on the job?

It’s two-fold and I haven’t overcome it - I wrestle with these every day: 

1. How to stay current and somewhat ahead of the curve?

2. How to make enough money that I can keep on studying?

Our industry is changing - what worked last year doesn’t work this year. There is more free information available than ever - and it is very, very hard to compete with free.

I also think that we, as an industry, are being overwhelmed with technological change. This means that rather than staying on the leading edge, we are hanging back waiting to see which trends actually take off. The sidelines are getting crowded.

This hesitation has ramifications for our entire industry. Spending slows, investment slows and developers either scale back or race more products to market - some not fully developed - in hopes that something will catch a buyer’s attention.

It is a very challenging, scary, dynamic, fascinating, terrifying time.

3.  What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to get

     where you are now?

Aside from almost burning down a studio?

Um, This list is end less :

Directing a segment of “Good Day Boston” which featured Judy Misset leading a crew of dancers in a Jazzercise class to the music of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate!”

Four cameras, live, 30 dancers, on location. Every shot was perfect. Every angle was flawless. Fast, accurate cutting precisely on the beat. I still get goose-bumps every time I hear that song.

(Of course, my memory is vastly aided by the fact that no recordings of that segment still exist. But it was the most fun I’ve had directing. Well, that and the Emmy Awards….)

5.  You’ve worked on a huge number of productions, which was your

     favourite and why?

I’m not really a filmmaker. I train people how to be filmmakers. If I were to describe myself, I would say that I’m a producer, trainer, director and editor - probably in that order.

Running my own company requires me to be a producer. I LOVE! training and helping people understand how all this weird technology works.

And burn-out is still a constant worry. It is a struggle trying to find time to take time for myself - when there are always more emails to answer, problems to solve, training to create and staff to lead.

It is very, very hard to find the right balance and I know that I haven’t found it, yet.

6.  Filmmaking is an all-consuming career. What do you do to avoid

     burnout and stay passionate?

It means that I lose a lot of sleep. It means that I feel that I never quite know enough. It means that next month I can explain something better than I can this month.

It means that my work is never done. (See “burnout,” above.)

7.   How does changing technology affect your work?

My filmmaking friends would say: “Go out and shoot something. Only by doing will you learn.”

There’s truth to that - sometimes, education gets in the way of learning.

But, my experience is different. I recommend you work for someone else who knows what they are doing - even if only as an intern. New filmmakers don’t know what they don’t know. Spend time learning from others - then start doing.  Adopt those methods that work for you and invent new ones for those that don’t.

Ultimately, you need to start shooting. But the more you know about how every other job functions on the set or in post, the better you will be.

I spent years in production before I directed anything. That background informed my work as a director. More importantly, it taught me how to work with the other crafts, because I already understood a lot of their challenges. My directing taught me how to edit. And my editing taught me how to teach.

It’s all a giant circle. Never assume you know enough. You never know enough - there is always more to learn; both in practical experience and in training. And formal, structured training is critical - learning from a good teacher will cause your brain to explode - in a good way - because you understand the fundamentals that underly all the technology.

Whether you learn from me or someone else, dedicate yourself to learning your craft and the technology behind it.

8.  What’s the most important piece of advice you could give a

     filmmaker who’s starting out?

Film school can help, but not for the reasons you think. This industry runs on “who you know - and who knows you.” Film school is a great place to build a network.

But film school is not essential to creating a film. It can help, but there are many reputable, informed, talented resources outside of film school. A bad film school is worse than no film school.

A filmmaker should never feel inadequate because they didn’t go to film school. They should feel inadequate if they don’t study their craft.

9.  Is film school essential, or can you get there without it and why?

Oh!  So many, so many:

•  Casablanca - for the lighting

•  Moulin Rouge - for the choreography

•  SoapDish - for the comedy

•  Patton - to learn how to handle extras

•  Babe - to learn how to handle sheep

•  Leap of Faith - to learn how to handle a crowd

•  Star Wars - for the audio

•  Dr. Zhivago - for the camera work and images

•  and Animal House - for the parade…

Though, come to think of it, I did stage the parade - on the 25th Anniversary of the movie. Parade, pirates, cheerleaders, floats, ROTC - press from around the world.  Shutdown Hollywood Boulevard in fact - until the elephant got lose.

But, that’s another interview, too.

10.  What one film in cinema history would you have loved to have

       worked on and why?

4.  They say whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. What’s the most

     ridiculous thing that’s gone awry on a job?

Larry Jordan

This week’s filmmaker...

Feature on a Filmmaker

Every week we talk to an industry pro and ask

them 10 questions about their work, how they got

started, plus advice they might have for aspiring filmmakers!

Guests that don’t show up for a live show and having to suddenly fill twelve minutes  with verbal tap-dancing.

Kids that make faces during a live broadcast of a religious ceremony (Yeah, THAT kid.  I was in the control room directing with nowhere to go.)

Directing a live fashion show where the color du jour was such an intense blue that it was outside the color spectrum that could be captured by a video camera. Instead, all the colors turned purple. Ghastly.

Getting slammed up against the wall by an angry sportscaster who felt my close-ups were too tight.

Having Vincent Price storm off the set because I phrased an instruction to the crew incorrectly.  

Oh, gosh. I love live broadcasts and production. However, by definition, it means that you are setting yourself up for catastrophe on a daily basis.

This is one of the reasons most of my training is live. It adds an element of sheer terror to the performance.

Check out Larry’s site hereBio from larryjordan.com

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