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Lack of Communication skills,


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#1 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 11:55 AM

Lately,during my high school years I've lacked communication skills.Maybe not as bad as others,but I tend to struggle when it comes to speaking what's on my mind and maintaining eye contact.I'm quite of a reserved person..

My main interest in the future is to becoming a photographer and along with that work in the film industry,and since I have a strong passion for both photography and film,cinematography combines both and that fascinates me.Although,I still don't have the complete understanding of what it requires to be a cinematographer,I'm working on studying all of this.

I'm usually known to observe my surroundings more than I speak,and even though I can talk a lot depending on who it is well how bad it is going to be for me if I don't have good communication skills?

I'm still young (17 years old) and it's never too late for anyone.. but I better start improving now.

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#2 Tim Terner

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 12:07 PM

Hi Annie. Firstly, welcome to the forums. Secondly, I don't think you are alone on the 'lacking communication skills'. Just let your images do the talking
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:16 PM

Images speak louder than words. That being said, communication is important to running an effective film and to collaborating on the film. Film is collaborative. For my part, it's normally the director and myself bouncing ideas off of each other in pre pro, and then myself and the crew solving the inherit problems you run into during production.
I think that if you can synthesize with the director an amazing and suitable vision for the film, as well as work through the problems arising on set without loosing your temper, busing egos, or causing massive problems, then the lack of eye contact won't matter too much.
A lot of us on here are pretty young, and some are much older. I'm only 24 and still surprised on how quickly I got where I am (not that it's anywhere of particular note). My communication skills still devlop every day.

and also, welcome to the boards.
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#4 Jim Keller

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:25 PM

First of all, it's great that you're thinking about these things, and taking steps to improve what you think might be shortcomings. There's always room for self-improvement, no matter how far you go. I myself am extremely shy by nature, and have similarly had to struggle to get out of my shell.

As far as the answer to your specific question, it really comes down to, "it depends." On some sets, you'll be working with similarly soft-spoken individuals who will value and elicit your opinion. On others, you'll be working with type-A personalities who will roll right over someone who doesn't get in their face. A big part of what any producer looks for when hiring people is who will work well together, and if you can be up-front an honest about your personality type, you're already way ahead of most people in this town in terms of getting in with crews that you will "click" with.

That said, where I suspect you'll have the hardest time is not on set, it will be finding work. Jobs in this town largely come through networking, socializing, and otherwise "getting yourself out there." You're going to need to work extra hard at that because of your shyness. When you reach a certain level, it won't matter, because people will know you and know your work. But getting there is going to take hard work, and probably the help of people around you who have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.

Good luck!
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#5 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:33 PM

Hi Annie. Firstly, welcome to the forums. Secondly, I don't think you are alone on the 'lacking communication skills'. Just let your images do the talking


Thank you very much Tim for the greetings.
"Images do the talking" :) Yes,I like the way that sounds.
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#6 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:41 PM

Images speak louder than words. That being said, communication is important to running an effective film and to collaborating on the film. Film is collaborative. For my part, it's normally the director and myself bouncing ideas off of each other in pre pro, and then myself and the crew solving the inherit problems you run into during production.
I think that if you can synthesize with the director an amazing and suitable vision for the film, as well as work through the problems arising on set without loosing your temper, busing egos, or causing massive problems, then the lack of eye contact won't matter too much.
A lot of us on here are pretty young, and some are much older. I'm only 24 and still surprised on how quickly I got where I am (not that it's anywhere of particular note). My communication skills still devlop every day.

and also, welcome to the boards.


Adrian,
Thank you for replying.I appreciate what you mentioned on synthesizing with the director.I guess as long as good collaboration is being made then eye contact wouldn't matter as well,which is good in a way.Congratulations on getting where you are at now,it's very nice to know especially being 24 even though there's no 'too young or too old'.
Thanks for the greetings to the boards =)~!
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:46 PM

A lot depends on the director you're working with.
An example of problems communicating. . I'm pre producing a short right now, which is awesome. Problem is the director speaks broken English, and I speak no Korean. It's not too bad, though once in a while I find myself struggling to explain/understand how such and such shot ought be.

But, when faced with such problems you find a work around. A translator, as well as lots and lots of image references lol.

Edited by Adrian Sierkowski, 24 July 2008 - 01:47 PM.

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#8 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:50 PM

First of all, it's great that you're thinking about these things, and taking steps to improve what you think might be shortcomings. There's always room for self-improvement, no matter how far you go. I myself am extremely shy by nature, and have similarly had to struggle to get out of my shell.

As far as the answer to your specific question, it really comes down to, "it depends." On some sets, you'll be working with similarly soft-spoken individuals who will value and elicit your opinion. On others, you'll be working with type-A personalities who will roll right over someone who doesn't get in their face. A big part of what any producer looks for when hiring people is who will work well together, and if you can be up-front an honest about your personality type, you're already way ahead of most people in this town in terms of getting in with crews that you will "click" with.

That said, where I suspect you'll have the hardest time is not on set, it will be finding work. Jobs in this town largely come through networking, socializing, and otherwise "getting yourself out there." You're going to need to work extra hard at that because of your shyness. When you reach a certain level, it won't matter, because people will know you and know your work. But getting there is going to take hard work, and probably the help of people around you who have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.

Good luck!


Jim Jim Jim,you've mentioned a lot of things that have come to my mind and I appreciate that a lot.I mainly lack of communication skills when it comes to collaborating in groups,but like you said it all comes down to, "it depends" and that's something I've always told myself and others,cause you'll never know how good or how bad you'll do and that always depends.

Finding work is actually the main thing I was a bit worried about.My goal isn't too much to be extremely known,although well known would be nice.But,I just want to do something I enjoy and have a good lifestyle out of it as well.And you're right I'll have socialize and network a lot and that's what had me worry,online I'm able to do whatever and speak what's on my mind,it's in person where I lack.I'm hoping to stop being so reserved and try my best at what I do.I honestly love working with people,I just get too quiet at times,but it happens.

Thank you.
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:53 PM

Just use the "I Heart Huckabees" approach and tell everyone "I'm just trying to be a fu**ing collaborator," frequently. :unsure:

Seriously though, what's to say communication skills can't be learned? Sure, some people have a gift in that they have them naturally/instinctively/subconsciously, but even the most timid person can learn to speak their minds, talk on the phone, make public speeches.

You are going to have to overcome your insecurities or fears of speaking openly and confidently with other people to succeed in this field, as it is indeed a collaborative art and poor communication will yield poor results.

It really is a fine line though between saying too much and too little or speaking too bluntly or too reservedly.
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#10 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:54 PM

Hahaha,Adrian I never thought about that.I'm here worrying about not being able to socialize well and forgot all about directors and crew members that don't speak English.I speak Spanish and English and my English is good but I wouldn't say good enough then again nor is my Spanish..lol,thank God for translators! :D

Edited by Annie Castle, 24 July 2008 - 01:54 PM.

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#11 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:57 PM

Just use the "I Heart Huckabees" approach and tell everyone "I'm just trying to be a fu**ing collaborator," frequently. :unsure:

Seriously though, what's to say communication skills can't be learned? Sure, some people have a gift in that they have them naturally/instinctively/subconsciously, but even the most timid person can learn to speak their minds, talk on the phone, make public speeches.

You are going to have to overcome your insecurities or fears of speaking openly and confidently with other people to succeed in this field, as it is indeed a collaborative art and poor communication will yield poor results.

It really is a fine line though between saying too much and too little or speaking too bluntly or too reservedly.


Very well said Karl!
I'm able to talk on the phone and speak my mind to certain people,public speeches is something I'll admit I fear,but I'll improve overtime especially if I want to succeed in this field.
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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:59 PM

Also, ya know, It's probably a lot easier to speak with others in your field, then those outside of it. At least that's my experience. It's about mutual respect. Other filmmakers who you'll be working with will, generally, respect you, as you should generally (as long as they're not horrible wankers) respect them. In an environment such as that, it's quite easy to just be yourself. It's something you grow into, though.

When I was in Highschool I was incredibly shy. Having a British accent in a Catholic all boys School in an Italian Irish neighborhood of Philadelphia. . .yeah. .. I stood out. I got rocks thrown at me once; that was fun, and stuffed into lockers.

Then Came the Army, and bam, instant acceptance and "brotherhood." Ok, come out of shell a bit. . .
Then College, and bam! Being around other filmmakers who shared my interest and were incredibly more mature than a lot of people from my past. And now, I wouldn't want to make a speech in front of a large crowd, but I've talked to a college freshman class or two. You age, and you grow, as Karl mentioned.
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#13 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 02:07 PM

Also, ya know, It's probably a lot easier to speak with others in your field, then those outside of it. At least that's my experience. It's about mutual respect. Other filmmakers who you'll be working with will, generally, respect you, as you should generally (as long as they're not horrible wankers) respect them. In an environment such as that, it's quite easy to just be yourself. It's something you grow into, though.

When I was in Highschool I was incredibly shy. Having a British accent in a Catholic all boys School in an Italian Irish neighborhood of Philadelphia. . .yeah. .. I stood out. I got rocks thrown at me once; that was fun, and stuffed into lockers.

Then Came the Army, and bam, instant acceptance and "brotherhood." Ok, come out of shell a bit. . .
Then College, and bam! Being around other filmmakers who shared my interest and were incredibly more mature than a lot of people from my past. And now, I wouldn't want to make a speech in front of a large crowd, but I've talked to a college freshman class or two. You age, and you grow, as Karl mentioned.


I agree,Thanks for sharing your experiences that's something I'll definitely keep in mind.
Ah..why is it small things like accents and green colored hair tend to stand out the most in High school.
:P

Edited by Annie Castle, 24 July 2008 - 02:08 PM.

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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 02:11 PM

Lol rampant testosterone? That's my thinking!

In any case. Any questions you have, We're all here for you
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#15 Annie Castle

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 02:13 PM

Lol rampant testosterone? That's my thinking!

In any case. Any questions you have, We're all here for you


Haha! Good thinking.
Thank you,I appreciate it a lot! :)
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#16 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 02:40 PM

A lot depends on the director you're working with.
An example of problems communicating. . I'm pre producing a short right now, which is awesome. Problem is the director speaks broken English, and I speak no Korean. It's not too bad, though once in a while I find myself struggling to explain/understand how such and such shot ought be.

But, when faced with such problems you find a work around. A translator, as well as lots and lots of image references lol.


Trying to learn a new language in a foreign country is one of the most frustrating things a person can deal with, and being patient and respectful is the only way to make sure the person in question doesn't shut in.

One thing I have found out through my love of and quest of good Vietnamese food is, when confronted with broken English, the best things to do is to speak a little broken English as well without being patronizing or (worse) insulting. This may sound offensive, stupid or counter productive, but most of the ESL/ recent immigrant Asian people fare a lot better in dealing with someone who talks the same lingo as opposed to using all these (for them) fancy words, tenses and other linguistic pirouettes. Then as their English level progresses one can start introducing more complex linguistic concepts.

I found out this out after ordering wonderfully tasty food, trying to befriend people who had only been in the country a few years at the most. After a few awkward stares, I realized if I would speak a little slowly and use simple concepts followed by a friendly smile, the people I was trying to talk to were a lot likelier to respond positively, even if they still didn't understand.

In the latter case, sometimes after repeating the same question or statement a few times, and still not being understood, then I would draw my concept in the hope it would be easier to understand.

Just my opinion.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 24 July 2008 - 02:41 PM.

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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 02:44 PM

I'll definitively keep that in mind Saul, thank you.
I'm lucky enough to have known the director before hand, so We have nearly our own communication set. It's just difficult sometimes.
I'm used to speaking to non-English speakers (south phila has a good deal of Italian's who only speak Italian) so, so far, I don't think I've insulted any of them .. . ergh. . .i hope.
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#18 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:44 PM

When it comes to interacting with strangers on a regular basis which is what our business is all about, it helps to have great personal skills. Some tips to help you out if your shy: When looking at people you can look at the space between their eyes and the other individual cant tell. This can help you get started. When you overcome your shyness, it helps when getting to know strangers to assume a respect and admiration for individuals right away. Have a smile right on your face and feel as if you're reuniting with an old best friend. Believe it or not it works. But you have to really feel like you want to know them cause if you're bullshitting, it will be obvious. What I'm saying basically is you have to be a good person and really like people to have good people skills. Unless you're a great actor.

Don't force new people you meet to prove themselves worthy of your attention or time cause that will distance you right away. Focus on the ways in which others are similar to you and try not to let the ways in which they are different affect your judgement of their character or worth. Just know that this is always in the background of your work and whenever your stressed on set, it's never okay to lose your cool or hurt another persons feelings to get the work done.
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#19 Jim Keller

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:54 PM

Finding work is actually the main thing I was a bit worried about.My goal isn't too much to be extremely known,although well known would be nice.But,I just want to do something I enjoy and have a good lifestyle out of it as well.And you're right I'll have socialize and network a lot and that's what had me worry,online I'm able to do whatever and speak what's on my mind,it's in person where I lack.I'm hoping to stop being so reserved and try my best at what I do.I honestly love working with people,I just get too quiet at times,but it happens.


As technology moves apace, don't underestimate the importance of online as your network of choice. I've both gotten work from and given work to people I only know online. As Google (and its competitors) makes it easier and easier for solo practitioners to compete with the big boys, there will be more and more opportunities to self-produce and to team up with those solo practitioners on projects. By being able to work the social side of the internet, you may be in a better position ten years from now than those who rely on hitting the bars every Friday and Saturday night.
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#20 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:56 PM

Just let your images do the talking


Unfortunately, that approach just doesn't cut the mustard. There are plenty of good DPs who struggle for work because they lack the interpersonal skills necessary to make good contacts. Equally, there are many mediocre DPs who are busy, purely because they know exactly who and how to schmooze.

You have to be Friendly, Personable, Approachable, Calm, amd most importantly, Confident, even when you aren't feeling it.

Or you could take the other approach of being Arrogant, Obnoxious, & Rude, and everyone will think you are a genius.... (!?)
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