One thing I’ve noticed over my freelancing years, be it as a camera operator, video editor, graphic designers or programmer, is that you will always run into something you don’t know how to do. That’s when it gets exciting because it’s an occasion to learn something new, and that’s when the power of good Google searches come in.

Think “I need to search this”

First of all, it sounds obvious but apparently it isn’t, try and solve the problem yourself. It seems when some people run into a problem, their first thought is “I need to ask somebody who knows about this”… it works, if 1) you know somebody who knows about this, and 2) they can help you every time you run into a problem, which is unlikely. The trick is to becoming an expert yourself, and you can only do this by doing, struggling, searching, learning, solving.

The first thing to do is Cmd + Tab > Chrome > Cmd + T > “help meeeeee” (or whatever your problem is).

I have a super cool little plugin that replaces Apple’s search feature Spotlight called Alfred. Check out my article talking about it.

A few tips

Over the years I’ve gathered a few tips:

  • Don’t write whole sentences, keep the keywords and get rid of the small filler words (a, the, my, etc.)
  • Start with the program, or process, you’re using, i.e. “python import library”, or “after effects create glitch effect”
  • Copy and paste errors you’re given, you’ll always find somebody who’s had the same ones
  • If you don’t find an answer try and ask the question differently (it’s happened that I had to do 3 or 4 completely different search to solve my problem)
  • Related to above and not specific to Googling but, there isn’t just one way to solve a problem

The more you Google Search the easier the phrasing comes to you. You start recognising websites that are a good source of help (stackoverflow for programming, creativecow for editing).

Don’t be scared of YouTube results

Google often shows you YouTube videos as a result to your question and peope tend to ignore them, but they can be very handy, especially when it comes to more visual problems such as Davinci Resolve, Premiere, After Effects or Blender.

Written answers are obviously better for programming, so you can easily copy and paste what (hopefully) is the solution to your problem.

Enjoy solving problems

Although it slows you down in your project I love running into problems. It’s an opportunity to further understanding the subject you are working on, and if you have some spare time later it gives you some material for you reading / learning list.

Here it is, the first part of how to Google Search. Meanwhile, work, do stuff, anything, run into problems, solve them and learn. The more you develop this skill the easiest it will be to take on new projects in territories previously unexplored.