Qualities of a Film Industry Professional
In the film industry, it is important to understand that no matter how creative you are, or how many blockbusters you have in your head, the person who might hire you doesn’t care. Producers are just trying to fill jobs on their crew with competent people who will carry out the vision of the director. That being said, the easiest way to get a job in the industry with no prior experience is to take the job that no one else wants. This means lowering yourself to getting someone else coffee, taking out the trash, painting the walls, etc. If you can put your pride aside enough to do these jobs with a smile, you will be far ahead of most. A little humility will start you off on the right foot and it’s important to remember the qualities of a Film Industry Professional:
Work Ethic — During production, work days can be as long as 16 or 18 hours. This can be tough and requires a lot of stamina. A strong work ethic means that you are the first to volunteer to help and the last to leave at night. Cheerfully offer help to others in your down time, even if they are in a different department. Not only does this show your commitment to the project, but it might land you your next job. Don’t complain about the long hours, because it may cost you your next job.
Organization — If you are a creative person, chances are your are highly unorganized. A missed deadline in a film can mean thousands of dollars down the tube at best, and the failure of the project, at worst. It is helpful to find some sort of organizational tool like a computer calendar or a paper planner. I use a combination of the two. You can read about my system here.
Creative Problem Solving — As an assistant, your first responsibility is to do what you are told without argument; but if you see that something can be done more efficiently, don’t be afraid to suggest it to your superiors. Just remember, their word is the last word. If your idea gets shot down, be a trooper and go with the flow.
Take responsibility — Just like in business, there are different departments in a movie and it is easy to blame a different department or an assistant when things don’t go right. People on the way to the top take personal responsibility for not only their own department, but the whole project. While you can’t be in all places at once, take ownership and work closely with your co-workers. Make teamwork, not excuses.