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Old February 14th, 2013, 08:59 PM   #1
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Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

Firstly, big thanks to Chris Hurd for putting up the single man crew thread.

Now, having just moved to Texas and set up shop I had to do a project solo.

I talked about the doc I did in this thread: The Way of the Foot and Fist

So for those who work solo and just need assistants just for certain projects can you share how you would go about it?
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Old February 14th, 2013, 10:19 PM   #2
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

For me it doesn't happen often but I know a bunch of folks in my area and I have a call list.
I have my A's, my B's and my C's.
All of them are broken down by what they do best. Camera ops, lighting, audio, grunts. I keep calling until I get a crew lined up.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

I probably on average only have to hire help 3 or 4 times a year. The biggest tip I can give is
pay them! Right away after the gig is over. Even if you haven't been paid a single cent by the client.
I've been the hired shooter enough times, who has waited for 60 days to get paid because the
production company that hired me is 'waiting for the check from the client'. So I know, don't
do that, especially when they do a good job. When I call for help and my 'A' list guys are
busy, guess who they choose to work for? The guy who pays them right away every time,
before they even go home from the job.

As for finding them in the first place, I hit up local film groups, universities, even high schools
if desperate, looking for students in video classes. I also check with local TV stations.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #4
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

Yeah absolutely. Pay them right away. I always want an invoice from them and they generally get paid within 7 days of receiving the invoice. Around here, a 30 day turn-around is pretty common. I try never to make them wait.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 12:15 PM   #5
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

colleges work well; i usually leave a note or talk to someone in administration and within a day ill have 5-10 people. i too pay at the end of the job.

in the last 2 years i havent had to look for people; two of the temps i worked with are now in my crew.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

I agree with the above. But I would add that if you have the time, meet in person the potential assistants you are going to hire before the shoot, just so you can get a gut feeling if you two are going to hit it off.

I look for a sense of humor, good hygiene (you'd be surprised how many I've met that smell worse than a stranded Carnival Cruise ship hallway), and maybe most important, someone who is not afraid to ask a question when in doubt.

Once you find someone that you really like and have hired more than once, keep them a secret from the rest of us. They are hard to find. (Kidding of coarse)

Hope this helps.

Jonathan
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Old February 15th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #7
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
I agree with the above. But I would add that if you have the time, meet in person the potential assistants you are going to hire before the shoot, just so you can get a gut feeling if you two are going to hit it off.

I look for a sense of humor, good hygiene (you'd be surprised how many I've met that smell worse than a stranded Carnival Cruise ship hallway), and maybe most important, someone who is not afraid to ask a question when in doubt.

Once you find someone that you really like and have hired more than once, keep them a secret from the rest of us. They are hard to find. (Kidding of coarse)

Hope this helps.

Jonathan
Nope no joke. If I have a good guy (or gal) I keep their name to myself. I know that others have their name but I'll be kicked in the head before I give it up. Let others find their own names! ;-)
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Old February 15th, 2013, 06:27 PM   #8
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

I pay my girls when I need them in cash and on the day. That should be an incentive I would have thought? Maybe they expect more than $120 for 4 hours (often less actually as I really only use them for one of the bridal preps and then they assist at the ceremony)

I think my biggest complaint is their lack of enthusiasm ... they never seem to get involved or excited about a shoot ...sorta more like "I want to get this over so I can go home!"

Luckily I only use a 2nd shooter a few times a year when I have both guys and girls prep to do and they are at different locations but at the same time. I'm actually much happier shooting on my own anyway so I try to book weddings that I can shoot solo ...which are most.

If you do it yourself then it gets done right!!

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Old February 15th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #9
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

Years ago, I made the mistake of hiring a Craigslist "Will work for cheap" type of character. What I found was that because he worked for cheap ($200 for 12 hours) he felt that he'd only give 50 percent in. He had the audacity to say, "well if you paid me more, I'd do a better job" Yup!! So off you go! Good luck you filthy Craigslister you!! So I hired a couple of younger kids (17 and 18) both seniors that are part of the video club at school. I started them off at $100 a piece for 8 hours on event days. They both did pretty good, but not as good as I wanted. So I made them deals that if they improved their shooting abilities, and upload some quality work, they would get raises. So both of them took the incentive to learn new tactics, moves, etc. and their quality went through the roof! So I think, if you give them some sort of BONUS in pay, they will be willing to improve their skills for you. Yeah, you'll take a very minor paycut, but the end product will end up paying for itself.
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Old February 15th, 2013, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

Thanks everyone for the very constructive and helpful advice and tips.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 05:01 AM   #11
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

In addition to what the others have said, if I need extra help but can't afford much, I tend to ask the clients.

It backfires sometimes, but most of the time it's an employee who is thrilled to be off-duty for that day. He/she has to please their employer, so they still work hard. You can't call them for other gigs, but you don't have to feel guilty they're not being paid, because they are - sometimes more than you.
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Old February 18th, 2013, 04:12 PM   #12
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

Pay them the same day
Pay them fair
Supply eats in the AM / Noon and PM if needed
THANK THEM .....

As some have stated, I have my A - B list, I learned very quickly take care of your crew and your crew will
take care of you ... Most of the time I do secure my A list, I have been told many times "I like working for you" .....

A hand shake, a Thank You looking them in the eye and paid at days end goes a very long way ....
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 02:48 PM   #13
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Re: Tips on how to get reliable assistants?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Ramasola View Post
Firstly, big thanks to Chris Hurd for putting up the single man crew thread.

Now, having just moved to Texas and set up shop I had to do a project solo.

I talked about the doc I did in this thread: The Way of the Foot and Fist

So for those who work solo and just need assistants just for certain projects can you share how you would go about it?
You may also want to get involved with the Dallas Producers Association since you'll rub elbows with everyone from the big production companies to freelancers and one-man-bands. Also, if you need help or just want to talk shop I'm right over in Lewisville! Great job on The Way, too.
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