Learning on the Job
Most of what we learn on the job is from seasoned crew who are willing to share their hard earned knowledge. We learn much better actually doing a job than reading about it or watching a how-to video.
We are all guilty of taking on a job that is over our heads and abilities so we can learn in the process. But there is a fine line between the reality that we can rise to the challenge and complete the task learning in the process and biting off much more than we can chew. Taking on more than we can accomplish can lead to losing respect and even a job.
There are those who say that they can do anything and a few really can. And there are those who think they can and rarely do. There are also those who say little and wait for people to discover that they are really talented. Those are usually very secure in their abilities and don't need to trumpet them.
Even groups can take on challenges larger than they can actually accomplish or have the time and budget for. The seasoned production manager, producer or even P.A. can warn a director and/or crew that they are dreaming beyond their capabilities and budget. Here is where some tactful questions can bring people back to reality.
One serious problem with over-optimism is that a whole project can suffer because one shot or sequence takes more time and money than dreamed of. It is time well spent to do some research about how other crews have failed or succeeded in a similar circumstances. What will it cost? How long will it take to get ready and execute? Do we have the resources? And will it really be worth it on the screen?
Riggers, gaffers, grips, set and prop builders and DPs all like challenges. They learn in the process. Some are bored and loose enthusiasm when doing the same-ole-thing day-in and day-out. Grips and riggers love to rig. DPs, Gaffers and all crew people like to try new equipment or techniques. But someone has to ask if the results on the screen will be worth the cost and effort.
© Copyright 2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.