There are tons of skills that will make you a better filmmaker, but have found these 5 skills to be invaluable. Here are 5 skills that I like to see in filmmakers I hire or 5 skills he/she is willing to develop. Watch the video above to see all 5 tips and read the conclusion below to see the payoff of mastering these skills.
1. Knowing How to Stage Gear
Staging gear is a crucial step in production. Knowing how to stage gear makes things easier to find through the shoot and also help move production along. If the video above, I talk about how I recommend you stage gear and specifically lights.
2. Being Subtle on Set
This one is huge. Nobody likes the loud guy who can’t keep himself contained on set. Being subtle and quietly supporting your director is an invaluable skill. In the video, I talk about how this applies on set.
3. Asking Questions
I always appreciate a learner’s spirit in assistants and shooters. Asking questions really does 3 fantastic things. 1) it shows your boss that you are interested in learning and not just a grunt looking for a paycheck. 2) Asking questions helps you learn and improves your skills which makes you more valuable to your boss and can allow you to raise your rates later. 3) Asking questions can help your boss learn a think or two. Sometimes we don’t know why we do things, and that is just silly.
4. Being Relentlessly Observant
This skill is GOLD. If you’re relentlessly observant on set, you won’t find yourself getting let go or rejected as a shooter. Now, with this skill comes being subtle (Skill #2) so don’t be observant just to turn around and start yelling about issues to anyone who will listen. In the video I talk about what this looks like.
5. Studying Your Boss
If you study your boss and learn to meet their needs before they ask, you’ll find yourself on all of their shoots. So next time you’re on set, observe how your boss likes his cables packed, lights staged and coffee doctored.
The Crucial Conclusion
This post might just sound like a list of ways to suck up to your boss or director, but trust me when I say these skills go far beyond that. Today you could find yourself doing these things as an assistant, but one day you might find yourself on set as a director. Then you will need to know how to have your crew stage gear. You will have mastered the art of being a subtle director. You will know how to ask questions and discover new methods for doing things. You will be a master of observation and nothing will get past you. And finally, you will be able to study and serve your boss well and that boss won’t be a director, it’ll be the story.