Compatibility Test For Production Teams – Before It’s Too late

Compatibility Test For Production Teams – Before It’s Too late

Ask your new team members before it’s too late, before miscommunication prevents a smooth transition. Don’t judge though, we all have things with which we are comfortable – which doesn’t mean we cannot adopt new rhythms in an environment where we feel belonging.

One of the first things I add into my deal memos (and my resume) is the work flow software and team communication compatibility. I used to have a male producer with whom I had tons of communication issues until another team member let me know that his preferences didn’t match up with mine. I was frustrated for no reason. What would have helped is if his preferences had been stated in his deal memo or other hiring documents.

When you join a typical corporate job, all of this gets worked out in training. When you join a film team AND it’s a damn pandemic, then these things don’t get worked out as quickly as they should. BE PROACTIVE!

I like to put things in a certain order: Dropbox, Google Drive, … or: Movie Magic, Studio Binder, … or even stipulating the most important thing: Text vs email. I have a casting director and producer colleague who has let me know that text isn’t a great way to contact her, she WILL NOT ANSWER. I totally get it, I prefer text, but I don’t prefer to be on chains with people who text constantly on the weekends. There is so much to work out.

So, include in your resume or deal memos that _________ is the primary workflow software for you and _________ is the secondary workflow option. The type of work you’re doing needs to be discussed because workflow software is rarely free AND varied enough to cover all your production needs. Training takes time, so use those text or email or even phone call preferences to trouble shoot.

You’ll also need to establish a contact person about communication. I handle much of our client communication at my distribution house (Little Sister Entertainment), but my partner handles questions regarding media and we have two separate preferences of communication.

Pretend you’re dating and just ask from this sample of prompts:

  • Text or email?
  • Phone calls or none?
  • Morning or night?
  • Weekends or weekdays?
  • Asana or Milanote?
  • Mac or PC?
  • Android or iPhone?
  • Zoom or FaceTime?

There are SO many more to go over, but if you get into it just a little bit, so much of the hiring process will open up and your compatibility will grow. Not because you share the exact same preferences, not at all, but because you’ll mediate the possible communication issues that prevent work collaborations from FLOWING.

If I hadn’t found out that my male producer colleague wouldn’t check his emails without a text notification, then I would have stopped working with him altogether because of all the issues we had getting on the same page about every little thing, but now that I understand why and how his job/life balance works, I can accommodate in this one area and have a beautiful working relationship. It’s on me to make the effort to figure out where we all stand and then decide if that’s a positive option for both parties. I can decide if I’m able to accommodate. Then we can make beautiful movies together!

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