Getting Started with Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the January, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Nicholas Jacobs writes:

My 10 year old ACTRA actress daughter (acting since she was 5) wants to produce films. She’s very creative and a good actor and very good with voice work.


It was suggested that she write a short story and use stuffed animals as characters, film it herself, do the voice work and then work with Dad on an iMac to produce a film. We have not bought the iMac yet, and will probably start with iMovie, but may move to Final Cut Express if we need to.


Can we do this with Final Cut Express (not the pro version).


I want to get her started, hopefully with our Canon (as there are just too many options on HD right now) camera and hopefully iMovie and grow from there.


Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Larry replies: Thanks for writing – and my best wishes for Elizabeth’s success. At ten-years-old, even a highly motivated kid may not be ready to make a dedicated career commitment. So, as the father of a daughter myself, here’s my take:

1. The hardest part of producing a movie is PLANNING! Thinking through clearly what your story is, how you want to shoot it, and how you want it to look. Draw sketches of key scenes. This does not require any software – pencil, paper, and brainpower is all that’s necessary. This process is frustrating, difficult, time-consuming, and absolutely necessary. Oh, and it is also great fun.


2. The second hardest part of producing a movie is getting it shot. Making it look right. Telling your story the way you want. This, too, does not require any software; just a camera.


3. If you survive step 1 and step 2, the editing is the least of your worries. I would opt for cheap and easy – iMovie is fine. So is Sony Vegas on the PC. Don’t get hung up on tools at this point. You are deciding if you like the process.


4. If you can plan a movie, shoot a movie, and edit a movie that others want to watch — and you want to do it all AGAIN — that is the point to invest in the tools to become successful.

For now, it is enough to try.


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