August 8, 2018

Filmmakers are human beings

Okay, Shooting People and Stage 32 now allow us to limit our search to paid and unpaid projects, allowing amateurs to work on unpaid projects and professionals to try and make a living, in theory. Some of the unpaid work, when times in a calculator, ends up being less than minimum wage (unless you write four times faster than your average Hollywood screenwriters.) But, let’s put pay and timing aside for a minute.

1. humans need sleep

Airline pilots need eight hours rest a day, but law. If you shoot a sixteen hour day, some people can handle it, but after a week or less, they might break the equipment due to tiredness. (Many people are a wreck after 48 hours or less of deprived sleep, which is why the characters in war films take turns keeping watch.  Sleep deprivation is also one of the most ancient forms of torture, and with too little sleep, most people will confess to being a witch, even if they aren’t.)

There are films, like “pickpocket”, where the director tires out an actor on purpose for an effect. But, if you have pyrotechnics, expensive props or equipment, complex and dangerous stunts, and so on, then you probably don’t want to go for that effect on your crew. (I once got injured the day after stunts, I was just so exhausted I fell over. Nothing serious, but if I were driving it would have been.)

2. humans like to be treated as individuals.

I may have run a production company, but my name is not mr/mrs production company. At least address us by a company name.

Here’s a hint, if I know (or even strongly suspect) you sent the exact same pitch to someone else, I feel under no obligation to reply. Why should I? You probably wouldn’t even know who I was if I did.

If you’re addressing people and don’t even know who you’re addressing, try advertising or social media.  Despite what sales seminars say, many of us are more likely to respond to an advert than we are to an email.

You don’t have to super-personalise, just let people know that they aren’t on a list.

And, don’t email people you don’t want to work with. if they reply, they’ll just fill up your inbox with irrelevant rubbish.

3. You are human

Know your own limits. And, let people know a little about yourself, so that they can’t just cut and paste your pitch with their own name on the top.

(Seriously, I got spammed a pitch from an animator, and now another animator has copied the exact pitch with different websites for the same portfolio and even the same creepy nickname! Make it difficult for plagiarists by proving you are an individual.)

As a human, you have advantages over a machine.  But, there are also disadvantages to hiring humans.

4. Humans change

I still get emails saying that I’m listed in a directory as a production company. Well, my company was, months ago. But, now this email address is for a company that focuses on script editing and secretarial services. (We sold most of our equipment, moved out of our office, etc.) If you email me with out of date information, I thank you, because you’re letting me know that you purchased or spidered a list, and I don’t feel obliged to reply.

Other changes can be more drastic, even disturbing if you don’t know what has happened.

Try to keep information about people up to date.

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