Questions about hiring Production Manager, Line Producer, Assistant Director... at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 10th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 69
Questions about hiring Production Manager, Line Producer, Assistant Director...

Hi, I'm in pre-production on a project and need some feedback about hiring key crew. I am used to doing everything myself but this project is too big for that. I know that several of the positions are very important to making sure everything runs smoothly, but I'm not sure what to expect. When I interview people for Production Manager, Line Producer, and Assistant Director, what should I look for, ask them, and expect them to do for me on a low-budget, 4- or 5-day shoot with eight actors and a bunch of extras?

I'll add that I'm not interested in replies that just give links to the definitions of these positions online; I've taken classes, read texts, looked them up, and have a basic understanding. What I'm hoping to see in your replies are the experiences you've had on your productions -- how you've approached hiring these positions, how you assess candidates whom you don't know, and what you expect during production.

Thanks, all!
Diane diGino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2009, 06:02 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Word of mouth. That's the benefit of networking and getting involved on other productions.

I found an excellent cameraman/DOP with a RED by working on a two-day shoot.


J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Word of mouth. That's the benefit of networking and getting involved on other productions.

I found an excellent cameraman/DOP with a RED by working on a two-day shoot.
Well, yes, that's true, but my question was really about what to look for and ask in the interviews, not about how to find people. There are necessarily some people I need to hire soon, without benefit of networking beforehand. So, here it is again:

When I interview people for Production Manager, Line Producer, and Assistant Director, what should I look for, ask them, and expect them to do for me on a low-budget, 4- or 5-day shoot with eight actors and a bunch of extras?

.
Diane diGino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2009, 07:32 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diane diGino View Post
So, here it is again:

When I interview people for Production Manager, Line Producer, and Assistant Director, what should I look for, ask them, and expect them to do for me on a low-budget, 4- or 5-day shoot with eight actors and a bunch of extras?
.
Well you said you don't want definitions of the tasks, and you're not looking for word-of-mouth recommendations, so I don't know what it is exactly you're looking for.

Since this is your project, you'd know better than any of us what your needs are specifically, because we don't have any info right now. Maybe that's why there is no other reply?


J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2009, 08:30 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Well you said you don't want definitions of the tasks, and you're not looking for word-of-mouth recommendations, so I don't know what it is exactly you're looking for.

Since this is your project, you'd know better than any of us what your needs are specifically, because we don't have any info right now. Maybe that's why there is no other reply?
Thanks. I thought I was clear, but I guess my original question seems somewhat vague.

I know every project is different, and so I'm looking for broad answers. Basically, I just need advice from people who have hired crew before on how they assess whether or not someone would be right for the jobs of Production Manager, Line Producer, and Assistant Director. What skills do you look for, and what's the most important thing you expect them to do? Especially when you are hiring people you don't know, do you have a specific talent or handle on something you want for each of those roles? I've always done everything myself and have never hired anyone before, so I need some tips. :)

Oh, and I'll welcome feedback on the positions of Production Coordinator and Scripty, too.

Thanks again!
Diane diGino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2009, 12:53 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diane di Gino View Post
...my question was really about what to look for and ask in the interviews, not about how to find people.
Word of mouth is even more valuable for finding out how good people are than for finding them in the first place.

In my experience the interview process is often not that revealing because people know what you want to hear and are trained like seals to spout the best answer.

Read their resume to see what they've done, look at their reel to see how it came out, and talk to their references and others you know to find out how well they did it and how they were to work with.

The actual questions you ask in the interview are largely irrelevant. You can ask almost anything and then see what kind of people they are by how they respond. But if you know the duties of each job then the questions will flow naturally from those. "Tell me about the time you..." is a good place to start. Ask what the hardest or most frustrating part of it was and how they overcame it. The usual stuff. If they start trashing their prior bosses then thank them and move on to the next candidate.
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Well you said you don't want definitions of the tasks . . .
Not exactly; I didn't want people to just respond with links to a glossary or online definition of the position. For filmmakers, I would love to know how you define these positions and what you expect. So, sharing definitions in general are great, as long as they're from a more experiential viewpoint from having hired people for these positions personally.
Diane diGino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Read their resume to see what they've done, look at their reel to see how it came out, and talk to their references and others you know to find out how well they did it and how they were to work with.

The actual questions you ask in the interview are largely irrelevant. You can ask almost anything and then see what kind of people they are by how they respond. But if you know the duties of each job then the questions will flow naturally from those. "Tell me about the time you..." is a good place to start. Ask what the hardest or most frustrating part of it was and how they overcame it. The usual stuff. If they start trashing their prior bosses then thank them and move on to the next candidate.
Great advice. thanks.

Could you give me an example of one or two questions you would ask of references for Production Manager, Line Producer, Assistant Director, Production Coordinator, or Script Super? Also, what are some of the most important skills or experience you would look for in someone applying to these positions?
Diane diGino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diane diGino View Post
Could you give me an example of one or two questions you would ask...?
What were they like to work with?
Would you work with them again?
What were some of the toughest challenges they had to overcome, and how did they do it?
Do they think outside the box/creatively or more by-the-book?
How did they react to stress? Did they show up on time? Did they leave on time or stay late?
What are their strongest points? Weakest?
Did other people like working with them, as far as you know?

Obviously a lot of these could be adapted for the actual interview with the candidate as well. And these are probably better suited to informal discussions with people you know over a drink, as generally if you ask these questions of corporate types, they're probably forbidden to answer in any detail. The last couple of corporate places I worked, you could confirm dates of employment, whether they were eligible for re-hire, and salary, but that was it. Things are obviously looser in a pure production environment, but you never know.

Seems to me that because every production is different, the single most important thing I'd look for is adaptability and the ability to roll with the punches. All these people are problem-solvers and spend their days making life easier for the key creatives in the production so you can get the pictures to stick to the tape.
Adam Gold is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:36 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network