A couple of stocking-stuffers for Producers and Prospective Producers…
No Room for Kings.
There are no Kings on a Production Team
Just one of the great things about being a Creative Consultant and able and available to work anywhere in the world is the opportunity to encounter, mentor and sometimes team up with individuals from other cultures – to learn how they do things, how they might think, to be able to teach and to learn how to teach in a given culture.
Children of privilege show up, all the time, wanting to learn and create a career in production, film, theatre… The Key is the burning desire to learn…
While in Dubai, I was invited to give successive guest lectures on The Nature & Management of Creativity at the EMDI Institute of Media & Communication ( http://www.emdiworld.com/dubai/index.html ). The classroom of nearly 50 students is a powerful microcosm of this part of the world.
Pakistani, Indian, Lebanese, British, South African, Sri Lankan…these students are from everywhere. The unifying factor throughout the classroom was a virtually tangible thirst for knowledge and a desire to work; to take what is learned back to home countries and make a difference, to build a life and share with others.
We put some of these students on the team for the National Day event, here in Dubai. Though they were assigned at the lowest of levels and asked to do everything from untie knots to glue things together, they jumped at every opportunity (well, most of ‘em!); embracing the chance to be among a killer team of professional creatives, stage managers and technicians, to observe from inside a production of magnitude and to be able to ask questions of anyone within earshot.
These are great young adults, and it was great to get to know them, a little bit.
Impressive, too, has been witnessing the setting-aside of ego in order to learn. Not every culture facilitates such breakthrough. Many, though not all, of these students are Children of Privilege who don’t actually have to work, who are used to deference and exception in their personal lives and are able to set aside that mindset in order to actually learn.
Their Passion trumps their Privilege, and that’s impressive. Impressive…and necessary to truly learn anything.
No matter how highly ranked in one’s native society might be an individual, when on a production team, that person must be part of that team; accepting responsibility, taking direction, being corrected when appropriate in the context of the team. Nobility does not alter the job of the film or music editor, the script supervisor, the cultural consultant, the project director, the intern… In my experience, I have seen Ego obstruct Learning and add significantly to the cost of a project in far too many of the cultures in which I’ve been able to work (including the US). And Ego can be a very expensive quality to bring to a Production.
It sure chaps my hide when I do see it. Missed opportunity is a painful loss.
Ego. Park it.
To the Google!
Before meeting with someone new – be they prospective client, employee, partner, investor, resource, vendor – Google ‘em.
There is a Certain Demographic that already knows this. I am regularly surprised, though, at the number of professionals who blithely make no use of this undemanding and accessible, richly informative tool.
Countless are the times I’ve shown up for a First Meeting, sometimes scheduled weeks in advance, and been asked about my “background” by someone who, imho, should already know as much about me as I know about them.
Before sitting down across a table or desk from someone, know as much as you can about who they are and what they’ve done; especially in a Professional Context. This is simple stuff.
Frankly, when I discover at a First Meeting that the person with whom I’m meeting has not taken even a few moments to do such research – whether they be potential employee or potential client – I am compelled to take another look at whether or not I even want that individual as partner, teammate or client.
The ramifications of that failing are, frankly, profound and often critical…and could adversely affect a potential working relationship.
Laziness, ignorance, fear of the interwebs, whatever the cause… The reticence to appreciate and access the tools of the web indicates what it indicates; irrespective of rationale, it’s a Big, Red Flag in every respect.
Keeping abreast and conversant in the ever- and rapidly-evolving platforms of social media, research tools, communications platforms, et cetera, is critical for survival in business – especially in the business of Experience Creation and Production. Eschew it and risk your very livelihood. Eschew it for long and the task can seem insurmountable.
Believe me; as decision-makers grow younger, knee-jerk evaluations are made on what may seem insignificant or incidental to you, but are indicative of a relevant savviness – or lack thereof – that could easily cost one a gig or a client.
One’s email address, alone, can say enough to remove one from consideration.
In an era when a personal or professional domain name costs only a few dollars and takes less than five minutes to set-up; a hotmail, yahoo or (ancient) aol email address speaks of irrelevance and datedness without any interaction whatsoever.
Get up to speed, get up to date…or simply retire.
Is that harsh?
I’m just sayin’.
[Feel free to download the interactive book, “imho,” for iPad from the iBook Library. And, by “free” I mean it won’t cost you anything…]