Daniel Harris – My First Three Month’s at Slate and Mortar
Starting a new job is an exciting but also nerve-wracking experience of wanting to make a good first impression but also learning the ins and outs of how your new employers work.
Luckily for me, my first three months as Producer/Director have exceeded all of my expectations and have been nothing short of amazing! This is mainly due to the support I have received from the team at Slate and Mortar, which has allowed me to settle into my new role and showcase everything I know that I am capable of.
The Slate and Mortar team have shown a lot of faith in me from the beginning which has seen me take ownership of my first complete project from start to finish. This was a great learning curve for me and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It involved:
- Liaising with clients through preliminary video calls and email correspondence.
- Producing creative concepts, scripts and shooting schedules for pre-production.
- Directing the shoot on-location, ensuring everything runs smoothly.
- Having full control over the edit in post-production to bring it all together with music, effects, colour grading and graphics.
- Ensuring key themes and objectives have been hit from the client’s brief.
The Slate and Mortar team’s support has boosted my confidence and helped me to keep going when tough challenges are faced. It has made me realise that I am capable of succeeding in this new role and I feel really proud of the quality of the finished products and the positive feedback I received from clients.
Five challenges I overcame in my first three months
1 – Managing client expectations – This has been a bit of a balancing act to keep the clients happy but also to be realistic in terms of what we have to work with. It’s important to have the confidence to be able to communicate clearly to the client and work together to find a solution.
2 – Sharing a twin room with the boss – On my first overnight shoot, the hotel had overbooked our rooms so me and my new boss had to, quite awkwardly, share a twin room. Although not an ideal first start to shooting away it definitely broke the ice and we can look back and laugh about it now!
3 – Managing clients’ feedback – Although a time-consuming process it is important to persevere with this until the client is delighted with the finished product, and with the service we have provided.
4 – Working with international students on location – This has been a challenge when trying to get succinct soundbite answers to interview questions. The way we overcame this was to break down the questions, keep the atmosphere relaxed and guide them using example answers to help them deliver the most engaging responses possible.
5 – Time management on shoots – Prioritising shots and not getting everything you had planned for due to unforeseen circumstances is a normal thing in the video production industry. We overcame this by being highly organised, thinking creatively and maintaining a positive ‘can do’ attitude.
Five personal highlights
1 – Learning new skills and improving my knowledge – especially within the pre-production elements of film-making, such as understanding budgets, developing scripts, shooting schedules, creative concepts and researching for prospective new projects.
2 – Improving my own film-making skills – such as learning new lighting techniques, improving my Adobe Premiere Pro knowledge, using After Effects, working with different freelancers and developing my storytelling skills.
3 – Expanding my network – meeting colleagues, freelancers, clients and seeing things from different perspectives and coming together as a team.
4 – Completing my first project as Director/Producer from start to finish – taking full ownership and believing in myself.
5 – Creative freedom – I’m really enjoying working for a company that allows the freedom to be creative, try new ideas and gives the opportunity to get involved and lead projects, all whilst having the support of an experienced team behind me to help navigate my way through it.
I hope I can continue to learn and grow further with the support of Slate and Mortar and continue building on this fantastic first three months as Producer/Director. I am eager to show that I can be one of the best in the business in this field and want to help drive Slate and Mortar forward as a market leader for video production services.
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