Army National Guard Training

Yeah. Read that title again and then think of all that you know about me. So yeah, there’s a bit of a twist. I was training them. In how to wear pink. No really.

Actually I was training them on how to use Final Cut Pro. I’m pretty damn good at using that software, which is kinda surprising to me considering I use it for such specific projects and never have used some features of the software whatsoever. Literally. And yet, I was asked to train them.

Now, I’ve taken classes from Apple Certified Trainers and learned a ton. I mostly learned that what I do and what a film crew does are two totally different things. I’m not part of a crew of several or hundreds or thousands, I’m the entire crew. I film, I edit, I produce, I foley, I author, I script, I do it all. I even deal with set building and lighting. That stands in direct conflict with the roles that most editors fill for Film and TV production. And that’s ok.

This gig required that I put together a syllabus. Which I did. And then the class started and it was nearly 4 hours into the class before I realized I hadn’t opened the stupid thing and had no idea if I was following it or not.

The class, however, was going great and learning tons. Why? Because I didn’t need to know what Apple thinks the students should be learning to teach them. In fact, if I’d done the syllabus’ route, the class would have ended up learning about a third of what they learned. After three days, each student had learned the interface, navigation, common pitfalls, how to adjust settings, controls, timing, in and out points, how to deal with still images, build pieces in Photoshop, the whys and wherefores of pixel sizing, the basic insanity of television resolutions and display methods, and had actually produced a very slick, fully personalized and completely useable video to show their Commanding Officers.

Do the students know how to work in a Film Production? Well, probably not. Can they create great videos for the National Guard? Yes. And since that’s their job, my training and the fact that I catered the learning to both their current level of knowledge and a specific goal means that I was hugely successful. Would Apple approve? Don’t know, but I suspect they would.

For the last part of Day 3 we had a quick session on how to export to DVD Studio Pro, re-use of documents in the production for the DVD and then presented each DVD to the C.O. on the big screen and had a discussion with said C.O. on how things worked, looked and the next steps. All of which is to say that it was a resounding success!

To the point that they wanted to recruit me. Which is, perhaps, the best compliment this big ol’ homo could ever get from people in the military. Because when it all boils down to it, substance matters. And I’ve proved that I have at least enough of the right stuff.

Plus, my students rocked! I really did enjoy my time out there, and if we get to do some more training I’m stoked about it.