Google. A minute to learn. A lifetime to master.
OK, maybe not a lifetime. But wielding Google Searches to your advantage is definitely a skill. TIME offers some search tricks for your general Googling needs.
I'm specifically talking about Video Editing here, but these 5 tips could work for any tech profession. I use Google to continually improve my editing process. Search for keyboard shortcuts. Try to find video tutorials on cool graphical FX you want to imitate. Troubleshoot why Adobe Premiere just crashed again (I feel your pain).
Here are my Top 5 Tech Troubleshooting Tips for Better Google Results:
1. Find the Right Words
The hardest place to start from is not knowing how to verbalize your issue, so I often begin my search with trying to figure out the correct terminology. Start Googling with whatever terms you know, and just peek around at Titles of results to see if you can fine tune your wording. You probably won't solve your issue in this step, but you'll at least be better equipped to find your solution.
2. Take Advantage of Error Messages
Believe it or not, those warning/errors pop-ups are your friends! (Yes, the ones that make you hurl nearby objects, and curse Apple/Microsoft/Adobe employees & their first born children) The best gift your stupid broken computer can give you is the phrase that appear in an error message. Google the exact wording of the error message.
3. Include Details
Remember to include details in your searches that are specific to your problem to yield better results.
Include the name and version of whatever program you are using. Don't just search for"text drop in and bounce," but instead Google, "After Effects CC text drop in and bounce." There's no reason to waste time wading through tutorials and tips for Motion or After Effects CS3.
4. Reword, Rephrase, Rearrange Words
Try out different variations of your search. Think of synonyms, add in more words as the mystery unfolds, and don't be afraid to delete and try completely different terms!
"text drop in and bounce off screen after effects cc"
"text falls and bounces off screen tutorial after effects cc"
"text realistic bounce off screen tutorial after effects cc"
5. Never Give up! Never Surrender
Every time I've been about to give up on Google, I push onward and inevitably find my answer. Repeat to yourself: "I am not special." It's highly likely that your problem is NOT unique, it's just hidden. If you can just find the right way to phrase your problem with the right details, you'll be golden.
Help Google Help You
Learn to refine your search terms to take full advantage of Google's "magic," and, again, don't give up after one search!
Edit: There's more than just Google out there! Check out my post on other helpful websites for video editors.