I recently learned Final Cut Pro, Apple’s editing system, which is complicated but incredibly intuitive. That got me anxious to experiment with the other pro film tools. The full Final Cut Pro Studio package is fairly inexpensive, especially with an educational discount.
Unfortunately, Apple’s Shake 4 compositing software costs $2700 or more, which would tend to discourage anyone from picking up a copy just to learn about it.
However, the Apple Pro Training Series book is only $34 on Amazon, and it includes a 30-day demo version of Shake. It’s a great deal for anyone who wants to learn Shake, which has one of the most bizarrely un-Mac like interfaces of any Apple product.
If you’re a tech-savvy screenwriter looking for a day job in Hollywood, I can’t imagine a much better choice than doing visual effects. Even at the low-end, such as wire removal, I suspect there’s always a need. One $34 course-book won’t teach you all that much, but would let you see if it’s something you enjoy.
And yes, for the record, I realize that I don’t have time to be learning Shake. I haven’t started my 30 days yet.