Practicality and family expectations led me to initially choose a very traditional major in the medical field — a common career within the Filipino community I come from. A friend in my English writing class at Pasadena Community College invited me to help out on a student production and introduced me to a more creative field. I was excited by all of the chaos upon entering the small studio, and it took only a few hours of seeing the magic come together for me to want to take a class in production.
This field quickly overtook my desire to become a nurse — a change in plans that did not please my parents. In fact, even my extended family was disapproving of this new direction. They all said that I would be a failure, wouldn't succeed or make any money, and wouldn't find a job. The desire to live up to family expectations almost made me give up and go back to medicine. I was never the rebellious type, but those negative comments somehow fueled my hunger to complete my degree and graduate. My family’s disapproval made me want to find a job so I could silently prove to everyone that one could make a living other than a "traditional" job.
That fall I joined the SMPTE chapter at PCC. It was a monthly meeting, often with professional speakers in the industry. I remember listening to two men talk about editing and color correcting, which made my interest grow even more.
Our class took a tour of Matchframe Video, and I met the same speaker who was at the SMPTE meeting. I knew immediately I wanted to intern and learn more. In my first year after transferring to California State University, Northridge, I came across a flier advertising a new post house that was looking for interns. I called on a Wednesday and by Friday I was officially interning for them. That's how I got my start with AlphaDogs, Inc. back in 2002. The coincidence came when I realized that the man I had heard at the SMPTE meeting — who I met again at Matchframe Video — was Terence Curren, the founder and CEO of AlphaDogs. Imagine my surprise! The person who had inspired me so much turned out to be the person I was working for — now that's luck!
After being Terry’s assistant editor for many projects, I played with the idea of becoming a colorist. I love the idea of being able to transform the look and feel of the project by how I choose to manipulate the image. It felt like magic to me. Ultimately, I found my strength in online editing and that is what I currently do at AlphaDogs. I have an eye for making things consistent and fixing technical issues. I'm able to figure out and fix complex projects, photos flying in and out, balancing placement and just making things look and feel correct throughout.
My advice to others who want to break into the business, is that you really need to have the hunger for it. I was really hungry to succeed in this field because of the pressure my family put on me to do something else. I think without that, I wouldn't have worked as hard to make things happen.
Herrianne Cayabyab Catolos is an Online Editor at AlphaDogs, Inc. (www.alphadogs.tv) in Burbank, CA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema Television Arts from California State University, Northridge and has experience using tools such as Avid and Final Cut Pro.