How to be a Great Employee!

Hopefully, very little that you find here, will be a surprise to you.

Why be a great Employee?

So Employers will hire you, keep you, and re-employ you for other projects, and recommend you to others for similar work

This, by the way gives you more work, and more options to choose the work you do.
In short, it’s certainly to our advantage to be perceived well by those we work for and with.

Who are poor employees? What’s your definition?

Commonly, it could be a person who is unnecessarily late or absent, shirks their duties, does poor quality work or is often in conflict with others, harassing, bullying or otherwise annoying other people.

Generally, most of us consider ourselves to be good employees.

Here is a short list of expectations Employers have (most of which you already know)

  • Be dependable, to show up, on time and do the job well. (This is a recurring issue)
  • Learn the job well. If you are unsure, ask questions.
  • Seek feedback on your work to do even better. (Employers are stressing this.)
  • Try to make improvements (study it first, there may be a reason it’s done certain way)
  • Issues aways arise-solve the problems you can, and can suggest solutions on others
  • Keep your Crew Leader informed on what’s working, or any issues that may arise Discuss with them when and how to communicate (e.g. don’t run to them with every little issue, but learn what type of disasters they want to hear about immediately)

Work well with other people!!!. Make “How can I help?” your standard approach.

Too commonly, we hear complaints about other Crews, or, Departments.

Support others, exercise patience, and be “a pleasure to work with”. This does not, however, mean putting up with bad service or abuse from others. Try to solve problems, but if it’s serious, let your Crew Leader know,

1-about the issue, and,

2 -what you have tried to do to solve it.

Cooperation is a Challenge in all industries, not just film!

-In an ongoing survey of communication and cooperation between Departments at work, the average on a 1-10 scale was “5!” That’s awful!



The Bigger Picture-Smooth operations and service to others is even more important on a time sensitive film project (usually with multiple locations and filming conditions). It is critical that you can be depended on to not only do your job well, but help others do theirs.


Assessing the Situation

Employers want results. That’s what they pay for. It’s nice if they like you and you like them, but the job has to get done.

As stated previously, most people want to do a good job. All Employers want you to do a good job as well.

Also as stated earlier, Employers are expecting you to,

  • Be dependable,
  • Make a genuine effort to perform well,
  • Work well with others
  • Keep your Crew Leader informed


Common Challenges

Some common challenges exist, however, that you may need to overcome.

  • Job duties may not be clear, or specific expectations may not be spelled out
  • Unlike you, your Crew Leader may, or may not be, perfect. You may need to adapt to their style (discuss what they need from you, and when it’s OK to interrupt or not)
  • Film projects have tight deadlines and multiple demands, so the pressure to “get it right the first time” is high
  • There are common protocols on a film set, so you need to learn what they are
  • You may work with new people on each project, so need to adapt to new crews
  • Multiple locations require careful set up so verification of details is important
  • You may have a lot of experience, very little, or, none-judge yourself accordingly to coach or mentor others, or learn as much as you can
  • Absences can be harmful to film projects-keep yourself healthy


From Newcomer to Pro

New Crew Members

  • Want to learn the job, for personal satisfaction, but also to keep it and be rehired
  • May not have completed the FTM orientation session but should certainly do so
  • Don’t yet know set protocols, key terms, who does what & who’s who, so need to learn
  • May be shy about asking questions, but need to.
  • Don’t yet know when to approach your Crew Leader, versus, when they may be too busy to speak with you (Ask them, “When do you not have time to talk?”) Perhaps target the end of the day or week.

Also, often new Employees in any organization are,

-high on enthusiasm, yet low on expertise (nothing personal, but you’re new & want to learn)

-inclined to say “Yes” when asked, “Do you understand?”, when in fact, you are not quite clear on the details. Don’t be afraid to say, “Can you run that by me again?”, or, “Is this what  you mean?” Better to get it right.

Experienced Crew Members

  • You have worked on film projects before, and may have varying levels of experience
  • You want to build on that experience and add to it
  • Discuss with your Supervisor the depth of your knowledge certain areas (be honest if there are some you have less knowledge in). If they don’t have much time to teach you,

-they may know where a more experienced person should oversee, and/or,

-may be able to have a more experienced person coach you.

  • Treat Newcomers with respect, as well as more experienced Crew. It helps.
  • You want to deliver great service to your Crew and others on the project. From time to time, check on “Are you getting what you need from me?”
  • Watch for safety, bullying or other issues and alert the Crew Leader, as needed. You may be called as a witness.


Experienced Professionals

  • The Crew Leader is looking to you for not only great work, but also sage advice or input to help the project run smoothly, and possibly to mentor newcomers.
  • Some may ask for your input on things to watch for, how to prevent common issues
  • You also may be called upon to aid team operations, exercise patience with others, prevent problems and otherwise contribute to the success of the project
  • You want to deliver great service to your Crew and others on the project. From time to time, check on “Are you getting what you need from me?”
  • Watch for safety, bullying or other issues and alert the Crew Leader, as needed. (Also with your experience, you can likely tell when people cross the line.) If a complaint rise, you may be called as a witness.

Key Contributions and Behaviours for Everyone


  • Be positive-an optimistic outlook helps overcome issues, and gives others confidence
  • Communicate effectively-the more you all know the fewer surprises you will have
  • Welcome feedback and coaching-Employers are increasingly seeking people open to feedback
  • Be adaptable-film projects demand flexibility and adaptability
  • Be conscientious to ensure it’s done right, thoroughly and that errors or problems are addressed so others have confidence you are on top of things
  • Pay attention to detail, but don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Keep everyone safe
  • Hustle, but plan, don’t rush into mistakes, manage your time well
  • Be professional. This one is a given. Show up to work on time, dress appropriately, and have a positive attitude. Period.

You want to hear,

“Great work, I want you on my next Crew!”


“We filmed in Manitoba and the Crew was great! We’re coming back!”