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Categories: Interviews

Larry Jordan is a producer, director, editor and consultant based in Los Angeles and known throughout the world for his tutorials in various areas of production and post-production, especially editing. Marija Makeska talks to Larry about his life and work.

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Tell us about yourself.

I got my start, many years ago, as a radio announcer. That lasted for three months, at which time I was laid off because they wanted to replace my second tenor voice with a baritone. Fortunately, the same day I lost my job in radio, I was hired at WHA-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, as a camera operator. I’ve been in TV ever since, mostly as a producer/director specializing in live news and live events.

Today, 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 podcasts than I can count; my shows number into the thousands. I’m based in Los Angeles and am a member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America. 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, and am the Executive Producer for the Digital Production Buzz, a weekly podcast on media technology.

Which one you would choose first: teaching editing, or editing?

Choose FIRST? Live production. But, as you didn’t give me that choice, I think I prefer to teach. My company originates more than three hours of programming each weeks, focused on news, information and training. While I don’t edit every program, I do review everything we do and, many times, help with the editing as necessary. That being said, I prefer to help others improve their skills by sharing what I’ve learned. I figure this is the best way to be sure I’m going to see programs in the future that I want to watch – help people editing them know what they are doing.

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How did you become experienced in the field you chose?

I started by studying Radio/TV/Film in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. From there, I moved to broadcast jobs in Montana, Maryland and Massachusetts. There’s nothing like practical experience – and suffering from seriously stupid mistakes – to learn a craft. At last count, I think I’ve produced, directed or edited thousands of newscasts, talk shows, special events, even dramas for PBS. And the part that has appealed to me the most is building the team – both in front of and behind the camera – to create the show. That love of collaboration hasn’t changed as I moved into teaching and training. Except now, I work with my students to help them discover the tools they need to find and keep jobs in the media industry.

When did you start teaching digital media?

Full-time? 2003. Part-time? I was teaching production at Emerson College in Boston in the mid-1980’s. Now I’m training for my own company – Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc. – and teaching part-time at USC in Los Angeles.

What is your favorite editing lesson to teach?

Color correction/grading. Because no one understands color – or even how to read video scopes – and everyone loves discovering all the extremely cool emotions they can evoke using color. My second favorite class is audio techniques. Again, because audio is so vital to any story and video editors are virtually clueless about how to make audio work for them – aside from setting very basic audio levels.

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What is the biggest challenge you have in teaching students?

Younger students want to start editing immediately. They don’t want to take the time to get their media organized or plan deliverables. They want to start telling stories. This is fine, until the time comes to create the final package for delivery, only to discover that they can’t find all their media, or they don’t know what format the client needs or how to export it properly or any of a host of other issues that could have been solved at the beginning by spending a little time planning what they need to do.

Older students have a hard time letting go of what they know in order to learn something knew. Their biggest barrier is saying “My current system does [x], why can’t this system do the same thing exactly the same way?” Their challenge is not let their past define their future; but be willing to learn new ideas and new techniques.

What is your message to The Spread readers?

We are inundated by constantly changing technology. Technology is changing not because we need it to change, but because it doesn’t know how to slow down or stop. It is impossible for one person to keep up and easy to assume that you “know enough.” Staying technically current is critical to survival. This means that, as creative professionals, we need to allow time to discover and learn new techniques, yet never lose sight of the fact that – at our core – we are story-tellers.

Technology, gear, knowledge and experience are simply tools to help us tell stories that captivate the imagination of the audience. I’m delighted to be a part of that process.

You can find out more about Larry and check out his tutorials at larryjordan.com. Follow him on Twitter @LarryJordanFCP

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Marija Makeska is a writer, poet, filmmaker and a visual artist living in Detroit, USA. She enjoys spending her time with people from different cultures while working on various projects with pagan, or gothic themes.

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Posted on Jul 6, 2015

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