Posts Tagged ‘Lynda Weinman’

“We’re looking to create the future. We’re looking to change the world of education.”
Lynda Weinman

If you can’t talk politics on election day, when can you? Both President Obama and Mitt Romney (who I both photographed in the above pictures back in ’08) say that Iowa could be the swing state in deciding the next President of the United States of America, so I’m just doing my part to inform the public.

What about lynda.com for President?

Isn’t it time for the USA to have a URL for President? (And a female one at that.)

Look at the track record:

Job stimulation: The fact that lynda.com has had an employment growth of 188 percent over the last three years is impressive, but knowing that growth happened in a down economy is stunning.

Economy: Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin started what would become lynda.com with their own $20,000 investment, and without a single venture capitalist (or government bailout) the company has amassed one million subscribers who pay around $25 a month for their services. Again impressive, especially since lynda.com is online video tutorials.

Technology: lynda.com not only embraces technology, but helps others to harness the latest technology as well. (Plus since no one has to drive to class that makes them a green/eco-friendly company as well.) My illustrator friend Gary Kelley may not care for all the newfangled technology, but he at least appreciates how I can move his artwork around for multimedia presentations. And lynda.com is where I learned to do that via keyframing on Final Cut Pro.

Education: Saving the best for last—lynda.com has over 1,000 courses totaling over 40,000 hours of online education. There are no tests to take or essays to turn in. People are spending hours and hours online to simply learn. To better their skills.  To be more proficient at Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Cinema 4D, and the like. People learn because they see a purpose in learning. In a world where we spend a lot of time arguing about how to fix public education, it’s worth looking at what lynda.com is doing right.

I did my first lynda.com tutorial in 2006 and have been learning from them ever since. A few years ago an editor friend of mine who was working on a project for EA Sports called me one night with a DVD authoring question and asked,”What’s the name of that place you’re always talking about?”—the answer lynda.com. And just a few weeks ago when I spoke to electronic media students at the University of Northern Iowa I told them about how taking advantage of lynda.com (which is free to them as UNI students) is key to their success.

Maybe in 2013 we’re not ready for a URL to be President. Perhaps whoever is elected President today can just name Lynda Weinman as the head of education. That’s a start. And just so you don’t think this is all fluff, take the time to listen to the hour-long talk Lynda gave on education earlier this year in Olympia, Washington at her Alma mater The Evergreen State College. Good stuff.

(A talk by the way I watched in entirety over the weekend and was surprised and thrilled to see at the 22:09 mark Lynda set up and showed a clip I actually shot and edited back in 2009 of Marc Prenksy giving a talk at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. It’s a talk I remember well. This digital world is a small world, huh?)

And to keep this in the film world, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is presented by lynda.com. If you subscribe to lynda.com you will find they have seminars from past SBIFF available on producing, directing, and screenwriting.

P.S. And here’s a short video on how lynda.com got its start:

Scott W. Smith

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“Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”
                                                                           Clay P. Bedford 

“There’s really no way around it. Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it.”
                                                                            George Leonard


Can you imagine being a student in Hong Kong and taking a class where you watch a live video feed online from the United States? Last year I produced a video for a client that is using that technology and I was blown away. Think of the money saved by the fellow in Hong Kong who is willing to wake up at 3AM instead of uprooting his life to attend college here in the states. 

Over a decade ago as the Internet began to make serious inroads into the mainstream some proclaimed that eventually there would be little need for college as we traditionally know it. If that day is coming it’s still a long way off. But online education is exploding and I want to tell you about one company that I think is the single best site for creatives trying to keep up with the technology.

When I moved to Iowa back in ’03 it became clear that the overall media industry was changing. What wasn’t clear was how creative professionals would adjust to the changes. In film school we were told that you didn’t want to be a “jack-of-all trades and a master-of-none.”

But today If you go to Monster or Mandy you might see a job like this: “We’re looking for a producer/director/writer/cameraman/editor who knows AVID/FCP Suite/After Effects/Photoshop/Illustrator/Pro Tools/web compression/music composition, and a basic understanding of JAVA and open heart surgery are helpful. MBA preferred. Must be able to bench press 376 pounds. I exaggerate–slightly.

Who does all of this you ask. Every other kid coming out of college, that’s who. The mindset now is you are expected to be a master-of-all trades. While not being masters I have been amazed at the versatility of some of the young people in or just out of college that I’ve worked with. (Heck, an eighth grader came by last year to show me a documentary he did on Buddy Holly.) So where does that leave all of us who have been out of college a while (or never even went to college)? 

Which brings me to reason I have become an evangelist for Lynda.com

Tom Peters says that if you want to rejuvenate yourself move to another climate or culture than you are used to–just to shake your life up a bit. Moving to Iowa from Florida fit both of those parameters for me. And one thing I found here was because the production budgets weren’t as high as the big cities that creative people here had to wear many hats.

I realized to survive and compete I had to put on a few more hats. That’s what led me to Lynda.com. First I looked a one-day workshop in Chicago and all the expenses related to it and figured it would cost me around $500. And how much would I retain in that one-day blast? That led me to a company where I bought 36 hours of Final Cut Pro DVD instructions for around $350. Saved a little money from the one day seminar and got a lot more instruction plus I could learn at my own pace. What could be better?

Then I found out about Lynda.com’s online tutorials. Very user friendly and packed with more than 29,000 video tutorials of online training in 445 courses. You can watch thousands of segments free but if you dive into a subscription (which I recommend) it’s only $25. a month or $250 a year. (If you’d like download the exercise files to work on it’s $375. a year.)  

This is an unpaid and unsolicited endorsement of a website that can change your life. I have benefited from other training places (Creative Cow, Ripple Training, LAFCPUG, DMTS DVX User) and enjoy a trip to the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport like anyone else (I once ate a table with legendary photographers Arnold Newman and Mary Ellen Mark), but I find Lynda.com the best place to learn how to use creative software. Which is why I return to it again and again.

They kind of redefine learning for creative people. The instructions are broken down into small chucks usually between 2 and 10 minutes so you don’t feel like you have to spend an hour or two straight on a tutorial. 

I’ve done lynda.com tutorials in airports and hotels, late at night and early in the morning–it’s simply a solid and convenient way to learn. If have trouble grasping some of the technology as I do you just play the segment again. 

Sometimes it will help you out of a jam. Last year I had a friend working on a DVD for a national client and he called me at night asking where that place was that did online tutorials that I was always talking about. He found what he was looking for at Lynda.com.

Once 14 year olds realize they can get this training online they can begin to redeem time spent playing video games. They won’t have time for college because they’ll already be working pros who, at least in technical knowledge, surpass most college professors with a Ph.D.

Lynda.com is also perfect for aging boomers and retirees who feel like they’ve missed the technological boat but still have the urge to create. In fact, if you’re in that category you have to check out Lynda.com’s creative inspiration segments with photographer 70-something Douglas Kirkland. (Yes, I am aware that people still create with pen and paper, typewriters, and paint–but work with me here.)

Douglas photographed Marilyn Monroe when he was 25 and went on to shoot a who’s who list of celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola and Orson Wells. He’s in his early seventies now and still working and reinventing himself. He was in his 50’s before he embraced digital photography thanks in part to Lynda Weinman herself. In an interview he spoke about people his age saying they were glad they were retiring before they had to learn all this digital stuff. But Douglas didn’t understand that mentality and embraced the new world and all that it offered him creatively. After all Douglas says, “You can’t live on what you did yesterday.”

I remember reading an Ansel Adams quote from later in his life where he said that the one regret that he had was that he wasn’t going to be around to see the digital changes.

If you believe in “the rise of the creative class” and that there is a “war for talent” you will embrace the changes around you. Have a passion for what you do and learn the tools that will free you to create more boldly.

I tell my editor friends to start shooting (even if it’s just their kids), I tell my cameramen friends to start editing (even if it’s just their demo reel), and I’m telling you (Mr. or Mrs. Screenwriter) that if you pick up a camera and start editing you can begin to make steps to seeing whole new possibilites for your writing.

You won’t be multi-talented Robert Rodrigez out of the gate (or perhaps ever) but remember the famous John Wooden quote, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere you from doing what you can do.” Think in terms small steps. Lynda.com can help you with many of those steps.

Will it replace college? I don’t think so. We need football teams to root for, a place where students can escape their parents who pay tens of thousands of dollars so they can party, and places where successful alumni can donate money to have buildings named after them. So, no, Lynda.com will not replace college–but it’s well on its way to replace how we learn.

You don’t have to move to Iowa to shake your life up. Just try Lynda.com for a month.

P.S. Just to prove my point here is the word by word ad for a group in St. Louis that is looking for a “writer with shooting and editing skills:” 

The duties for this position include (but are not limited to):

* Script writing
* Producing
* Directing
* Editing (rough-cutting on long form projects and complete editing on shorter videos)
* Some Graphics work
* Production work – running camera, recording audio
* Building and organizing sets
* Anything else required that goes into creating high quality productions from start to finish.

You do not need to know how to do everything, but you must have some sort of background in film or video and the ability to learn new skills extremely quickly. If you already think of yourself as a Swiss army knife, you may be the right person for this job.

Copyright ©2008 Scott W. Smith

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