Professionalism, Part 1

A couple weeks ago, I posted, publicly on Twitter, that our first season had been challenging (which is quite true) and that we should strive for a level of professionalism that equalled shows like The Guild, The Mercury Men, Captain Blasto, and Gold: The Series, to name a few.  Of course, I did this over the course of several tweets.  Silly 140 character limit.

It’s very difficult to explain complex ideas over Twitter.  So I’ve decided to bring the discussion here.  Some of this serious is based on what happened in Season 1, and some is based on common sense that I’ve learned through other experience and good mentors. What I mean by professionalism is that everyone involved in the show should take it seriously and perform their job or jobs more professionally than the professionals.  On my show, the downfall of our first season was a lack of a solid plan, or a lack of communication about a solid plan, and an impression that some people where there just for fun, or just didn’t know what to do.  Those two things frustrated many cast and crew members.

Although I’ve done most of my work to this point in post-production, I spent my time on Issues as – well, we’re not sure what, since we were all jacks-of-all-trades.  I worked with my boyfriend to manage props for the show, to try to maintain visual continuity and set dressing when we could, helped with blocking, helped with lines, and even took over as co-director with the AD when the director couldn’t be there.  So I’ve lived all of production and post-production for Issues.  Yes, including the great window incident.

I’ll be posting a serious of short to medium posts on professionalism as I organize my thoughts around them.  It’s meant to be a bit of a guide to professionalism for someone who’s never been in a professional production/post atmosphere and wants to create one.  For now, I’ll just focus on what it is.

When I say that a web series or other production needs to be professional, it means that you need to act like this is serious business, because to some people you work with, it is.  That means that you should know your position within the production, and know what responsibilities that position entails.  You should see them through completely.  And you should help others see them through completely.  If everyone takes it seriously, the show is more fun.  Why?  Because you’re not worrying about things that have been left undone because everyone had done their job well, and when the camera finally rolls, or you’re finally in the editing room, you can enjoy yourself.

In the coming days, I’ll be thinking of what I saw on set and experienced after taping wrapped, and using it to frame my discussions on professionalism.  That doesn’t mean that I’ll be sharing the shortcomings of our cast and crew.  Instead, I’ll be using it to figure out what to talk about.  The prompt that solicits the response.  If you have points to add that you think I’ve left off, please comment.  Every independent production has widly different experiences, and you may have learned something I and my friends haven’t yet.

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