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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Change, part one

Dan Bailes: Okay, so all we seem to hear about these days is "change." Everyone seems to want change, talks about change and yet so often when change comes, it's disruptive and unsettling. No, I'm not talking about the elections. I'm talking about change in the workplace. Here at GVI we just swapped out our old Avid systems for brand new Avid systems, new monitors, the works. The same, but different, which got me thinking about change.

In my work experience as an editor I've had to master three completely different technologies. First film, then video, and then computer editing. And not only were the technologies completely different, I also had to learn new ways of thinking and approaching how I should go about my work. I want to write about those differences in another post, but for the moment I'd like to focus on something I've learned in the process.

Most of my professional life I've worked on my own, often as a freelancer, although I've also had my own business. Over the years I've developed close working relationships, but always on a project by project basis. So I've pretty much had to depend on myself to shepherd myself through these technology and workplace changes. Fortunately I found that I was pretty adaptable and eventually I was able to thrive within all the changes. Of course, editing is mostly about judgment, creativity and experience and technology is only a means to an end.

But the changes were also stressful. Since I pretty much had to educate myself, there often was no one readily available to ask. Sometimes I'd get stuck or frustrated, knowing there was a better way, but not knowing how to get there. And of course, not being sure or not knowing is a byproduct of change. And that can be quite unsettling.

At GVI, I've had a different experience. We support each other. And that support makes the transition fun and exciting. I'm looking forward to learning about the new features and new systems. And now I have backup, so the stressful part is gone. And thinking about it, it's the same for programs I've produced here, too. When I wasn't sure or didn't know, I had plenty of people here to consult with and brainstorm. And that's the key to making change a positive instead of a negative. Having support and back ups, so you're not in it all by yourself. And then also sharing your own process and what you're learning so that everyone benefits.

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