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Old August 4th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #1
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questioning job title of post p assistant

I'm applying to be a post production assistant.
I've read a lot about the job qualifications. I think I can handle most of them. The things that I'm a little foggy about I've been trying to read up on.
Do any of you hire post production assistants right out of college? What are your exceptions of their abilities?
I've had internships and went to film school but I was wondering if employers will still hire new employees who have never before had paid professional experience.

Will employers in the industry have patience for technicians who are still learning or do they expect absolute perfection in editing and technical expertise? Cause I'm still a new boot, na mean?
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Old August 4th, 2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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What are your exceptions of their abilities?
I've had internships and went to film school ...na mean?
[Brutal a**hole mode ON]
I've hired many, many kids straight out of college for a variety of positions, from interns to paid staffers, and the most important thing I look for is not the actual skillset of the job -- I can teach them that. What I always look for is professionalism and attention to detail, as expressed through their written communication, which includes spelling, punctuation, proofreading and grammar. Based on your post your resume would go straight into the trash. Sloppy writing = sloppy thinking = sloppy work.

Sorry to be so blunt, but in today's economy there are far more applicants than open positions, and tossing people who can't be bothered to run a grammar check or proofread carefully still leaves me a huge pile of resumes to go through. (From the above I assume that you ran a spell check and it changed whatever you wrote to "exceptions" rather than "expectations," but you didn't catch it. In the next sentence you are essentially saying "I've went..." You should either change "went" to "gone" or just insert "I" before "went." And "na" isn't a word... it may be okay when you're texting your friends and trying to be cute, but has no place in business communication, when you are most likely dealing with someone older than you are.) Obviously not everyone is as fussy or cranky as I am, but why take that risk?

By the way, as DVInfo is heavily populated by working professionals in this business, you should assume everyone who might see your posts is a potential employer. Get my drift?

Really, as someone with little practical experience all you have is your first impression as shown in your resume and cover letter, so they must be perfect.

But to answer your question, they probably don't expect technical perfection from all their applicants, depending upon where the job is and the pool of potential candidates, so you have a chance. That being said, they could well have a pile of resumes from people with much more experience than you have. All depends on the priorities of the person doing the hiring. You may provide much youthful energy and enthusiasm -- not to mention being willing to work much more cheaply -- than those with more experience.
[/Brutal a**hole mode OFF]

Last edited by Adam Gold; August 4th, 2009 at 03:18 PM.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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I'm glad Adam went out on a limb because I was thinking exactly the same things...

As an assistant, your job will ALWAYS depend on EXACTLY what the person you're assisting wants: I don't want to hear how much better they taught you to do it in school. Learn our process and repeat it. The NICE part of that is you will get a chance to show off not your CREATIVE chops, but your attention to detail and work ethic. When you get to sit in the Editor's chair during daylight hours instead of logging and capturing endless reams of field tapes after everyone else has gone home, you get to make decisions. Until then, pay your dues.

The moral to this story is: if you're most of the way there with the requirements of the job AND have a great attitude and work ethic, you're more likely to get the job than the smug little "correcting all the time" bozo that has better credentials than you.

Thus endeth the sermon. Pass the collection plate.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #4
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Katie:

I make my living from writing, so I can get pretty pedantic about grammar. But my shorts aren't so starched that I can't make allowances in a forum where the tone is more colloquial than in business correspondence.

Furthermore, using grammar to gauge someone's qualifications as, say, a cameraman or make-up artist not only demonstrates lousy people skills and a lack of judgment (the world is full of conscientious workers who never graduated from high school), but it's usually the mark of an insufferable boss. So in essence, you might be better off not getting that particular job.

So, to answer your question: be on time, don't make the people who hired you have to look for you, do your best and if you don't know, ask. They know you're still learning (at least the decent ones do).

And if you end up with someone who's been dumped on and is only looking to dump on someone else in return under the self-serving pretense of having you "pay your dues", then clench your teeth, finish the gig and move on to the next one. It'll get better.


J.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #5
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Furthermore, using grammar to gauge someone's qualifications ...not only demonstrates lousy people skills and a lack of judgment... but it's usually the mark of an insufferable boss. So in essence, you might be better off not getting that particular job.
Yeesh, that's pretty harsh, but I suppose I had that coming and have no right to talk.

But more distressingly, it is the most highly irresponsible advice anyone could ever give to someone starting out in the business. If Katie follows your advice she is guaranteed to fail.

Grammar isn't in and of itself relevant to any particular job other than proofreader. But lack of attention to it displays an intellectual laziness and virtually assures that the culprit will be a lazy employee. Holding high standards means only that you will always have satisfied customers because you are always insistent on going the extra mile for them.

Once you land the job, you can be any way you want. But this topic is about getting the job.

Your logic is what I consistently hear from unemployed losers who rarely land a job, and on those rare occasions they do, get fired quickly.

But glad it works for you. And for what it's worth (he said defensively) most of the people who've worked for me tell me I'm the best boss they've ever had, insufferable starched shorts, lousy people skills, lack of judgment and all.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #6
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But more distressingly, it is the most highly irresponsible advice anyone could ever give to someone starting out in the business. If Katie follows your advice she is guaranteed to fail.
Not with any of the producers I've worked for in the past 12 years, and not with me. As long as she can do the job she gets hired for, and avoiding split infinitives wouldn't be it.

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Your logic is what I consistently hear from unemployed losers who rarely land a job, and on those rare occasions they do, get fired quickly.
It's common sense: I don't care how my mechanic spells "tounge/tongue" (which makes my skin crawl, BTW). I just care that he knows a fuel injector from a spark plug.

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But glad it works for you. And for what it's worth (he said defensively) most of the people who've worked for me tell me I'm the best boss they've ever had, insufferable starched shorts, lousy people skills, lack of judgment and all.
That's 'cuz you screen them and tend to hire like-minded people. Try working with a misspeller. ;-)


J.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 05:40 PM   #7
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Well, to each his own. And as this is straying a bit far afield from the original question, we can just agree to disagree.

But I think your mechanic analogy isn't valid: if he's that sloppy about one thing, I don't have a lot of confidence he's going to remember to screw in the nut that holds the oil in my car.

Most entry level positions require such attention to detail. Applying for, and interviewing for, a job is about making the best impression you can. Why would anyone advise someone not to do so? Would you also suggest they not be clean, wear dirty clothes (even better: a T-shirt with an obscenity on it), not look the interviewer in the eye, spit on the floor, and tell the interviewer to F himself in response to every question? I just don't get it.

I'm not saying this is more important than having the skills, but Katie's point was that she doesn't have the experience, so this becomes even more important than it would if she had a great resume and years of experience. She has to compensate for her admitted lack of experience in other areas and wow them instantly.

Quote:
That's 'cuz you screen them and tend to hire like-minded people.
Nice assumption, and logical, but incorrect. I frequently have been called in to run existing departments/staffs.

Quote:
Try working with a misspeller.
I have, and they, usually, suck.

It would be so cool if we could test this scientifically: Get a randomly selected group of people, split the group into two (also randomly) and have one set follow your advice and one set follow mine. Let's see which group gets a higher hiring percentage. Sadly all we have is our own experiences and anecdotal evidence to fall back on.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #8
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But I think your mechanic analogy isn't valid: if he's that sloppy about one thing, I don't have a lot of confidence he's going to remember to screw in the nut that holds the oil in my car.
My father grew up on a farm and never finished high school. But I have complete and utter confidence in his ability to completely build a house from the ground up and according to all codes.

I'd only penalize myself by limiting my network of capable technicians according to their level of literacy. Not everyone is gifted with the written medium, not everyone grew up in a fostering environment.


J.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #9
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I understand what you are saying, and to a certain extent I agree. But it isn't really the same situation... your dad isn't applying for a job fresh out of school with no experience and trying to impress someone who doesn't know him at all. You know your father and know what he can do. But -- and meaning no disrespect -- I'd be an idiot if I hired a guy who said he wanted to "bild" me a "hose."

A shooter or editor will have a reel to show, even if it's just from school, and that will demonstrate their skills. But when applying for an assistant position -- which is usually clerical in nature -- the first exposure to the potential employer is through the written word, and most assistants need to be fanatically devoted to detail and having everything be perfect. What if the Post Prod asst screws up in logging 150 tapes? That's going to be an issue.

As employers, we have to judge based on the tools we're given.

Again, the original question was: "Do I even have a shot at getting a job if I have no relevant experience?" and my answer, put perhaps too bluntly was, "Sure, if you make a great first impression and show great underlying qualities that would give someone faith in you."
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Old August 4th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #10
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Really, as someone with little practical experience all you have is your first impression as shown in your resume and cover letter, so they must be perfect.
Shouldn't there be a comma between experience and all? ;)

We all make mistakes. Perhaps that fact is what gave rise to the saying "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

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Old August 4th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #11
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It's not about education, it's about people skills and producing.

One of my best employees(day job, non-video related) never finished highschool, and knocks down six figures per year. Why? Not because of his grammar, spelling, or education, but because he is a producer and has great people skills. He gets his job done, and doesn't pretend to be more than he is.

Work on your people skills and work ethic and you'll see employers and colleagues look past your inabilities and often stretch to help you in those weaker areas. Work on finding the fault in everyone around you and you'll find colleagues who are trying to see that you find employment elsewhere.

In short, remain humble, teachable and confident in your abilities to advance and continually learn.

Na mean? 8-)

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Old August 4th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #12
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A shooter or editor will have a reel to show, even if it's just from school, and that will demonstrate their skills. But when applying for an assistant position -- which is usually clerical in nature -- the first exposure to the potential employer is through the written word, and most assistants need to be fanatically devoted to detail and having everything be perfect.
Well yes, of course, that goes without saying.

On another note, I've recently replaced an actress who needed constant prodding to reply to my e-mails inquiring about her availability, her fee, etc. If the girl can't be bothered to reply in a timely manner when I'm trying to throw money at her, what's it gonna be like when I need her to be on set at a specific time?

She had impeccable grammar, BTW. ;-)


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Old August 4th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #13
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Shouldn't there be a comma between experience and all? ;)
Great shot, Jeff! It's actually optional in that case but it does read better your way.
I stand corrected. This always happens when you bust someone on spelling.
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"let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
I've always thought that was the stupidest and most vacuous phrase ever written. If that held any water at all, no one would ever go to jail for anything.
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If the girl can't be bothered to reply in a timely manner when I'm trying to throw money at her, what's it gonna be like when I need her to be on set at a specific time?
See, this is what I mean. Emailing is not, technically, a skill demonstrated on the set by an actor. But it goes to show her level of responsibility, and that's the point I'm making. You consider all the things you are presented with when making these decisions.
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It's not about education, it's about people skills and producing...One of my best employees(day job, non-video related) never finished highschool, and knocks down six figures per year. Why? Not because of his grammar, spelling, or education, but because he is a producer and has great people skills. He gets his job done, and doesn't pretend to be more than he is.
Mike, you're completely missing the point. Of course, when doing the job, your skills at, um, doing the job are all that matter. But getting a job, well, now, that's something else entirely.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold Of course, when doing the job, your skills at, um, [i
doing[/i] the job are all that matter. But getting a job, well, now, that's something else entirely.
His people skills got him a chance at the job. His resume showed his experience being in a totally non-related field. His on the job skills have caused him to excel.

I've seen lot's of great interviewers with great resumes that sucked once hired, and soon had to be fired.


others couldn't be turned loose in public, but were the best at what they do.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #15
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See, this is what I mean. Emailing is not, technically, a skill demonstrated on the set by an actor. But it goes to show her level of responsibility, and that's the point I'm making.
You left out the part where I said she was a great speller. ;-)

If it stands to reason that spelling didn't make her a good candidate, then it follows that it couldn't make her a bad one either.


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