I spent part of my September on a photo shoot for a german car manufacturer.
I had the privilege to work with a really good photographer and crew. I hired a couple of new P.A’s and I should have sent them this notes in advance. Since I did not, I send them now.
– don’t fuck it up on your last day.
– don’t sit.
– don’t give ideas unless stated otherwise.
– double check but do not ask things twice.
– write things down. and if things are just said on voice, write them down and send them by email.
– do not expect nobody to understand that is hard to get internet on location.
– truck drivers will always come up with difficult requests. be ready.
– have always sweets on set.
– they can maybe drink alcohol. you cannot.
– give the people you are buying things to the sense of emergency and importance that your boss will apply to you.
– eat faster than your clients. sit the last one, stand up the first. the average lunch duration should be 12 minutes.
– the only way to control a situation is to send more frequent emails than your client/boss.
– when you need to be a booss, be a bit of a pain. everybody remembers everything until they forget it.
– save yourself the hangovers. they are hard to work with.
– always work considering you will not get paid before 60 days.
– if you are on set; 1) work, 2) pretend or 3) hide.
– your voice should be always lower than the one on top of the pyramid (photographer or director)
– your chat should always be kept under a security distance from the maximum concentration area (camera).
– people talk a lot on set. increase quality by talking less. and yes watsapping counts as chatting.
– use the walkie talkie as it would cost one euro each time you press the button.
– papers are meant to be read, carefully.
– if you think your job is to forward emails to other people , you are doing it wrong.
– the only one who can forward an email without reading and understanding it is the executive producer.
– if your assistants fails, you are the one responsible.
– pressure handling is the only valuable scale to evaluate how good a film/tv professional is. all the rest is wind.
– you need to know what you are not good at. hire people who are better than you doing that.
– if you are not an executive don’t Instagram, Facebook or Tweet any graphic material from any job you are doing.
– lots of this rules don’t apply to executive producers. they can decide the way then want to lose a client. you don’t.
– you will always think a production designer is doing few and getting really well paid. this might be a good sign of him being good.
– treat a bit bad the camera department and they will get back to you strong and all union and rights for the working class and overtime warriors. treat them like pure shit and they will accept your conditions.
– don’t try to make a gaffer understand you. he is a knight of the light.
– a gaffer will always take one spark more than the ones necessary. you should do the same with PA’s.
– try to get always at least a girl, a big guy, a guy who understand tools, and a guy who understand computers in your production/location/ad team.
– AD’s are overrated. AD’s are overconfident and they need that so they can do their job. AD’s want to be your alpha in the pack. Let them be.
– sound recordists smoke and suffer often. Take care of them well.
– ask your DIT to deliver you a copy of what is in each disk so you never have a the most horrible discussion; the one on missing files.
– you will know a bad camera crew because they will hire a hot and lousy female VTR.
– make up people get often bored. Their fee compensate their deep and constant boredom.
– wardrobe people need to be rock stars.
Guys , welcome to this business