After decades of working in the industry, I’m still amazed at the clueless production assistants that manage to get hired for video and film productions. No matter how low you are on the food chain, you’re there for a reason, and people are watching. So to make sure your first day isn’t your last day, and with a hat-tip to DP and Director Brad Knull, here are 10 things you should never forget:
1) Show up early. You’re the new kid, and nobody will wait for you. Show up on time or don’t show up at all – even if it means you leave 2 hours early in case of traffic.
2) If the producer, client, the assistant’s assistant, or anyone else is carrying more equipment than you, you’re doing it wrong. Enough said.
3) Bring a raincoat, flashlight, protein bars, cab fare, mobile phone charger – and anything else you can think of – because Murphy’s Law is real .
4) Make things happen. Nobody wants to hear that it can’t be done. They’ve all made the impossible happen before or wouldn’t have survived this long in the film business. They’re not interested in hearing about your problems. They’re interested in solutions.
5) Bring a notepad and pen. Someone’s going to give you orders. Write it down.
6) Your job is to help make the movie. You can’t get distracted by taking selfies of yourself next to the cool camera, raiding the craft service table, or chatting up the cute makeup artist. Focus.
7) Be a problem solver. Don’t wait to be told – find and do what needs to be done. They’ll find somebody else if you have to be told more than twice. Believe it.
8) It’s not about you. Don’t be the first in line at lunch. Give up your seat for a client. Don’t take the closest parking space. We all know you’re a genius and should actually be directing the movie, but right now, you need to pay your dues.
9) Remember: They may not remember what you did right, but they’ll sure as heck remember what you did wrong. If you want to get invited back for day #2, start batting 1,000.
10) Be the last person to leave. If the director has to carry a trash bag to the dumpster at the end of the day because you left early, you’ll never work in this business again.
Any others based on your experience that we should add to the list?