Alexander Keipper

BFA, Film & TV, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

What are you currently doing?
My most recent full time gig was editing a feature documentary for HBO set to air next year entitled Risky Drinking. Since then, I've relocated from NYC to LA where I'm doing some freelance editing and seeking more full time employment.  I'm joining the union and pursuing scripted work as well as documentary.

What aspects of your education, includinginternships and/or student projects, do you think best prepared you for your career?
I focused on production a lot in school because I loved working on sets with friends, but I knew professional production work wasn't something I'd be interested in. During my last two years at NYU, in addition to my film production courses, I started taking the editing courses available. These helped me become familiar with Final Cut, and much much more importantly AVID. I also got to study under some outstanding editors like Sam Pollard, who taught me loads about craft and storytelling (and ended up being my first real boss). At the same time, I began seeking internships for filmmakers and small companies that needed assistant editing interns. Keeping things small was a benefit because it typically meant I was working in environments where I got to really explore things and learn from people one on one instead of getting lost in the busy shuffle of a major company (and/or becoming a de facto unpaid office assistant).

What would you tell your freshman self if you could do it all over again?
NYU is amazing, but it doesn't give its best qualities to you easily. Sometimes you have to work and dig to find the classes or professors or experiences that are really going to help you grow. Take every class you can. Don't burn your gen ed classes, find ones that will help you grow and influence your art. Never take an internship for credit; why would you pay to have a job? Use those credits to explore something in your craft that you never had the chance to before. If you're in film, work on sets all the time. It's how you improve your art, form relationships, and figure out how to be a professional in a very different and nontraditional kind of professional world. If you want to do post production, edit all the time; the more you cut in school, the more you'll have for you reel when you graduate, and it's amazing how little time you'll have on your hands to pursue projects for free once you're out of school.  Learn Final Cut, Premiere, and AVID; you'll be thankful you did down the road when you don't have to limit your job choices by which programs you know.  If you're worried about ever being able to get a job in your industry, don't be; it's surprising how much work there is, and the more you explore the school and the industry you'll see how many places there can be for you (or you'll make your own).