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While working on set, how do you provide value to your department head and director? What are some ways you have found to go above and beyond? This week we are looking at a question from a student about providing value as a crew member.

STUDENT QUESTION: How do I provide value as a crew member?

ANDREW: I was just watching a video and they were talking about adding equity into the projects that you work on. It’s this idea of giving… It’s not just approaching a project as being a button pusher, “just tell me what to do.” There’s a certain element of that to your job, but also thinking ahead.

Using your brain to be an active participant and aware of everything else that’s going on around you is really critical. So if you’re just zoned in on what you’re doing… It’s like an Amazon Alexa, right? If you say, “Alexa,” then it’ll turn on. Otherwise you’re just dormant, sitting there, waiting to hear the keyword.

That’s not going to be super helpful, but being there and being aware of everything that’s going on, you can kind of preempt when they’re going to need you. That’s the thing I love the most when I’m working with other crew members is like, “Can I get the…” And they’ll hand it to me as I’m about to say it, because they know that I needed that. So when you can, be preemptively acting, being one step ahead. You want to be ready to give that step at any moment, but not step past where they actually need you.

So when you can, be preemptively acting, being one step ahead. Click To Tweet

I think that’s where I’ve struggled sometimes where I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’m one step ahead.” They’re like, “No, I wasn’t going to do that.” Then you actually just slowed them down. So kind of riding that balance of trying to just be a servant and really think, and if there’s someone right above you, getting to know their likes, and needs, and how they like to work in a certain situation. I think that can be a really cool way to add value.

JOHN-CLAY: We call the IT factor. I stands for initiative, which is what you’re talking about, a readiness, a looking ahead. T stands for teachable. So sometimes if you’re not sure how to do it, or if you’re being too eager and anxious, sometimes being teachable on how to best do your job for whoever it is you’re serving, whatever they need, is really, really helpful in being a good crew member.

We call the IT factor. I stands for initiative, which is what you're talking about, a readiness, a looking ahead. T stands for teachable. Click To Tweet

Another thing I would say is if you’re going in for a specific role, be good at that role. Spend the time to hone your craft, whatever that may be, to be able to serve the production well. It’s not helpful for someone to hire someone in for a job that they thought they were good at, and then to find out they really don’t have very much experience. If you don’t have experience, part of that is initiative and being teachable, but when you’re coming in for a specific role, spend the time to be good at that role so you can actually serve them.

The other thing would be as you’re doing your job well, know how to communicate with the director, or whoever your department head is to step back when they say, “Thank you, this is the extent that I needed.” They’re balancing a lot of different departments and no one department really runs the show. That’s part of a director and assistant director’s job is to kind of balance, keep things on schedule to make sure the end goal is what’s being accomplished.

So being able to know when to step back, when to step in for your job is a tricky balance and just kind of part of that open communication of the endeavors of creatives, as they’re trying to make projects, and art, and story. Being able to balance that can be tricky, but is also very, very, very crucial to being a helpful and a good crew member.

Bethany Meckle

Bethany Meckle

Content Curator

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