KWM – On/Off Shoot Etiquette

After one of my first meetings with Trish, I learned how important it is to develop and apply a sort of etiquette when it comes to pre-shooting, during shooting, and after shooting. During this internship, I’ve had to adjust to using emails as my primary form of communications before Zoom and even before OpenReel. Learning how to carry yourself and applying a routine to each conversation you have is just as important as the job itself.

It might seem a bit out of place to talk about this but I found it to be something that I learned, applied, and will continue to apply to all of my future endeavors. Etiquette doesn’t mean redefining the wheel or having to learn an entirely new system but it instead means to refine what you already do and know. In most emails, I used to just say a simple “Hello” followed with any specific information needed and then my name at the end “- Jonathan Baez”. This works fine if all you do is quickly reply. In my case, I did this for a long time and knew that at some point, because all of the work and talk that I do is digital, I’d need to change this into something better.

What exactly is better? Better is attaching a bit of life within the response. In a few emails with Trish, I noticed that she starts off with a greeting, then asks if things are good along with the tasks at hand. This is then ended with a time frame of a response and a “Warm Regards” before her signature. I’ve never really seen an email structured this way before. I’d always see a structure built within an email when professors send emails out but nothing very personalized beyond this. I took what I noticed and what I did before and tried to apply it to my workflow.

It was important to conduct this sort of change through the internship because this is the place where I’d have to talk to the most strangers within the same place. Nobody but Trish really knew me and I’d have to conduct shoots with several people that I have yet to meet. The first thing I decided to do was based around a small question Trish had asked me: “Would you be able to email the subjects the link to the OpenReel shoot?” and I said of course! I took this opportunity as a way to improve my first impressions and requests. I essentially made a template email that included a friendly introduction of myself, my position in the company, and a message that went along the lines of “I’m looking forward to working with you! Feel free to email be if you have any questions or concerns!”. Step 1: complete.

Step 2 would be to introduce requirements. I didn’t want to just tell people what to do without them understanding exactly how to do it. I changed what I used to do before (writing them out with expectations) to something that was more friendlier and easier to get through. I would include a “Here’s a few tips to follow before tomorrow’s shoot:” with instructions that were needed to make sure devices were set on Do Not Disturb as well as making sure they’re charged all the way to avoid any strange interference during shoots. I also hyperlinked the text to redirect to official OpenReel videos and tutorials just in case they needed more information to follow. After providing the tips, I then included information on the shoot which included a case sensitive password (I made sure to tell them it was) as well as an ending message that let them know I’m excited to work with them and I’ll see them soon.

It might not be much but this proved to be successful. In the following shoots, subjects would already know my name and what I’d be there to do. They would also have all of their equipment ready which is integral to having a flawless shoot. Following the email etiquette, it’s important to carry the same message through the shoots. This means making sure the subjects are comfortable and understand what’s going to happen + what’s needed from them. I’d also use this same time to adjust for background issues and making sure that everything on my end was ready to record as long as the subject was comfortable with their script.

After doing the recordings, I’d say thank you and let them know what the next steps would be in terms of downloading and offloading the footage. This time would always be great to tell subjects how well they did during shoots. Even if certain subjects do bad, positive reinforcement always proves to be key as it lets them understand that they’re heading in a good direction but it needs a bit of tweaking. Afterwards, I’d say my thanks and goodbye and move to working with footage.