Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Describe your ultimate assistant  (Read 7046 times)
David R Munson
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9



WWW
« on: November 11, 2011, 09:31:41 AM »
ReplyReply

Primary question: Let's say you could design from scratch a person. This person is your freelance photographic assistant of choice. Your go-to guy, your first choice every time, the guy who makes you feel disappointed when he's already booked. What's this person like? How would you describe him? What stands out about him in comparison with lesser assistants? What makes him valuable on set and on location? What's better about his business practices? (booking, billing, etc) I want to focus on the positives here, having a strong understanding of what not to do already.  Wink

Background: I am returning to the US (Chicago) after a few years abroad and will be going back to photographic assisting. I've had steady work assisting in the past and have developed good relationships with the shooters with whom I've worked. I've already compiled a good, long list of the things I did badly or at least could have done better before,  a shorter list of things I can do to tighten up my operations having already corrected past mistakes, but my list of ideas to set myself apart/ahead of my competition is quite a bit shorter than I'd like. If I'm going to be crazy enough to go back to freelance assisting when the industry is worse-off than it was I left a few years ago, I'm going to work my ass off to put myself ahead of my competition as best I can. This time around, I want to be really, really good.

Secondary question: What are your magic bullets? That is, what are the bits and pieces of equipment that have saved the day on shoots in the past? I ask particularly in relation to location work. I'm updating my assisting kit (a bag densely-packed with handy things), and I'm trying to figure out how I can make it better. For example, things like door stops, a big gum-type pencil eraser, dental picks, a small mirror, and lineman's pliers are among the more-useful but less-obvious things I already carry.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 09:33:30 AM by David R Munson » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2011, 06:42:33 AM »
ReplyReply

I look for two things:

1. Someone who can anticipate problems/issues/ideas and self-motivate themselves to act on them
2. Someone who doesn't complain
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
David R Munson
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9



WWW
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2011, 06:58:04 AM »
ReplyReply

What about things like billing and booking? How important to you is online booking? How about electronic invoicing and payment options? How would you prefer to be contacted by potential assistants who are working on promotions?

Trust, enthusiasm, gumption, ability, etc have always been at the core of what makes a good assistant, but how does one put a fine polish on one's game?
Logged
David R Munson
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9



WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2011, 10:00:30 AM »
ReplyReply

Excellent replies, John. Thank you.
Logged
marcman
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 07:04:57 AM »
ReplyReply

I'll point out two things I've noticed in my relatively short(2.5 yrs) time as assistant(ongoing). Sometimes I've been lead assistant to secondary assistants as well as trained new assistants. One thing I always stress is to be honest. If you don't know how to do something, don't be afraid to say so. This avoids A)things not getting done, B)things not getting done properly and C) equipment getting broken. As a new assistant whether in general or in a new working relationship, there is nothing wrong with asking questions. Everyone does things differently and it's important to know how and WHY. Obviously, timing is important, so knowing when to talk/not talk is important. The other thing I always stress is to work hard and do it with enthusiasm. There is always something to do, something as basic as keeping the gear tidy, the cords coiled etc.

Lastly, if you screw up, own up to it. If you get an earful from the boss, take it in, learn from it and move on. Don't take it personally.

Logged
TMARK
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1843


« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2011, 09:07:49 AM »
ReplyReply

I always look for people who have a sense of humor, know boundries, are inoffensive to clients, have the emotional intelligence to read people's moods and understand social conventions and situational awareness, have technical skill, don't bitch, and be able to solve problems.  I can teach someone to light a set and use a meter, load 8x10 film, pull focus, etc.  I can't teach people how to act.  You must also have a leatherman and grip gloves.

We did a recruiting ad for the Marines.  On set, which was at Quantico, we had issues rigging lights and scrims in the woods.  A lance corporal asked if he could help.  We said sure thing, have a go.  He got two other marines and they rigged everything up in tall pine trees in about a minute.  They humped these lights up the trees, no ropes, it was extraordinary.  They hid the scrims in branches.  They ran electrics for us off pigtails on HUMVEES.  My assistant, who I love dearly and call Maynard because he looks a bit like Maynard Krebs from the Dobey Gillis Show, told me that he and the other assistants felt emasculated.  So yeah, I'd like a Marine as an assistant, but a mellow one that likes Rothko, and can edit the language when clients are around.
Logged
fredjeang
Guest
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2011, 01:14:29 PM »
ReplyReply

I always look for people who have a sense of humor, know boundries, are inoffensive to clients, have the emotional intelligence to read people's moods and understand social conventions and situational awareness, have technical skill, don't bitch, and be able to solve problems.  I can teach someone to light a set and use a meter, load 8x10 film, pull focus, etc.  I can't teach people how to act.  You must also have a leatherman and grip gloves.

We did a recruiting ad for the Marines.  On set, which was at Quantico, we had issues rigging lights and scrims in the woods.  A lance corporal asked if he could help.  We said sure thing, have a go.  He got two other marines and they rigged everything up in tall pine trees in about a minute.  They humped these lights up the trees, no ropes, it was extraordinary.  They hid the scrims in branches.  They ran electrics for us off pigtails on HUMVEES.  My assistant, who I love dearly and call Maynard because he looks a bit like Maynard Krebs from the Dobey Gillis Show, told me that he and the other assistants felt emasculated.  So yeah, I'd like a Marine as an assistant, but a mellow one that likes Rothko, and can edit the language when clients are around.
Oh man! Are you sure a Marine who likes Rothko would be emotionally "stable"? with all the "dangers" it could involve for you and your clients !...

« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 01:17:39 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Ellis Vener
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1816



WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 10:50:50 PM »
ReplyReply

I always look for people who have a sense of humor, know boundries, are inoffensive to clients, have the emotional intelligence to read people's moods and understand social conventions and situational awareness, have technical skill, don't bitch, and be able to solve problems.  I can teach someone to light a set and use a meter, load 8x10 film, pull focus, etc.  I can't teach people how to act.  You must also have a leatherman and grip gloves.

Bingo!
Logged

Ellis Vener
http://www.ellisvener.com
Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
EgillBjarki
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 152



WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 06:06:39 AM »
ReplyReply

Very dedicated, down to earth and open minded. Thats it!
Logged

gubaguba
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 92


« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 08:25:40 AM »
ReplyReply

My first inclination would be to say my younger clone who can carry more stuff.  In truth I like another perspective. 

Trustworthy, courteous, humble, timely, intelligent, follows directions, not afraid to ask questions (see humble), patient (they are working with me  Wink ), good knowledge base, hard worker.

That should do it. 
Logged

MrSmith
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 908



WWW
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2012, 05:44:04 PM »
ReplyReply

"- no cell phone calls or texting while working unless for the shoot"

i trust people to know when:

not to take a call as the light is going/models on overtime etc
take a call about other jobs they are booked/penciled for but don't chat about the weather or that great film you saw last night.
call their mum when there is downtime.

assistants are working people with other clients apart from you, how would you like it if they were not contactable until the evening or when the shoot finishes and you need to know if it's o.k that the location job you have them booked/penciled for has shifted a day?

 
Logged
nhvma
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 06:29:26 AM »
ReplyReply

I am a photographer and a teacher in photography as well so I have plenty of assistants available all time.
For me the most important thing is honest and willing to learn. Any one come to me needs to learn to assist me regardless his/her knowledge/experience. He/she also needs to learn in order to grow and become better photographer. With that kind of eagerly learning person you do not need to worry about what to tell him/her to do. They will try to do their best in order to learn and support you. Without that two characters then everything else is meaningless.

Just my humble opinion,
Logged

Thanks and regards,
Anh Nguyen
www.proonestudio.com
bill t.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2693


WWW
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 01:06:01 PM »
ReplyReply

There's only one problem with finding somebody with all these wonderful features we have described.  He will be so effective at all things photographic and will be so well liked by your clients that by this time next year he will be your most formidable competitor!
Logged
nhvma
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


WWW
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 07:06:00 PM »
ReplyReply

There's only one problem with finding somebody with all these wonderful features we have described.  He will be so effective at all things photographic and will be so well liked by your clients that by this time next year he will be your most formidable competitor!

Not really, some assistant do not want to be a photographer at all even he's much better than many "famous-in-town" photographers. He does not want to be stressful and a lot of pressure Grin
Logged

Thanks and regards,
Anh Nguyen
www.proonestudio.com
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad