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The good things about wearing many hats on a project are:
- You get good experience learning how other positions must function in a timely manner
- You hopefully gain sympathy for those working in other positions
- You gain a fine ‘BS Detector’ for when people in other positions are slacking
- Most important particularly when you function primarily as Producer or Director, a perspective on how ‘the machine’ is supposed to function. I hate working with P’s or D’s that haven’t worked on the production or post side of things in a ‘hands on’ position. They are almost always a pain.
The bad thing about it is the tendency for becoming a ‘micro-manager’ or my favorite, “A Tin-Plated Dictator.” It’s good you’re “forcing yourself to work in other positions.” Even now that I’ve worked from Executive Producer to Audio Grip, if someone hires me for a gig as Field Audio Tech I don’t mind slappin’ on the headphones and doing the job. I do have to admit, when I see P’s and D’s doing questionable stuff it’s hard not to say anything, but long as they aren’t preventing me from doing my job properly I just let it ride.
The toughest thing I’ve found about this work is not getting an inflated ego. This business is based primarily on your reel and rep. The saying ‘you’re only good as your last job’ has a lot of meaning is this biz. If you’re having success be it moderate or huge, it’s not hard to wake up one morning with a swelled head you can’t even lift! What keeps my perspective is this isn’t Brain Surgery, we for the most part are not saving lives and humanity would continue on quite well without our work (though life would be a lot more boring!)
I’m mostly like you as I wasn’t so fond of working for others. You have to adopt a sort of ‘Mercenary Mindset’ in that long as they pay you for your work in full and in a timely manner, it doesn’t make sense to ‘sweat’ set politics. Before you know it, you’ll be done and onto the next job. One benefit that will come from that, is people will spread the word that you can be worked with. So when your P or D is trippin’ (because you know they will), just stay calm. More often than not, they don’t know what the hell they want. Your job is to help them figure it out and make them think they thought of it.