Back when I was still in school at SCAD, I spent every single day paying close attention to my peers. Obviously I was paying attention to my professors and the curriculum as well! :) I watched each and every one of them closely, and I did my best to figure them out. The things that I paid attention to the most were whether or not they had talent and whether or not they had ambition.
I also made a point of sizing everyone up and watching their characters develop before my eyes. Some people appear to be kind, but when they think you're not looking, they reveal who they really are. I also made a point to treat everyone with respect, and to stand up for myself when I was being mistreated. I always say, "you teach people how to treat you."
Why did I spend any time or effort doing this? One, I knew that when I graduated my peers would be the very beginnings of my professional network. Who they were mattered to me because I could quickly see they all had talent and ambition, but I wanted to know which ones had character and integrity.
Most of my peers at SCAD graduated and are pursuing jobs in television and film. I can't tell you one person that I went to school with that I don't have respect for and wish them the best. However, I can only think of one person who proved to me over and over again that they would be someone that I would definitely need to hold on to personally and professionally.
Benjamin Tincher owns and operates his video production company, C-mont Productions. He also works for The Weather Channel as a production technician. Although I would go so far as to say he does much more than that title implies! Ben has incredible technical skill behind the camera and in the editing suite. The man is highly skilled in audio production and lighting as well, although he would say he's not. :) Ben is creative, talented and ambitious!
Most importantly, Ben is honest, loyal, hard-working, punctual, and he has character and integrity. His work is a reflection of who he is as a person and how he lives his life. Ben stays busy between his business and his job at the The Weather Channel. When he has time in his busy schedule, he's someone that I love to collaborate with. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, therefore we complement and support each other nicely.
While we were in school, Ben started his production company. I was desperately trying to find a job before graduation, as I just wanted to secure a paycheck. Working for Ben's company, I quickly realized that there was such freedom in working for yourself. I also realized that there was fear involved in addition to that freedom. Fear of getting clients, fear of getting paid enough, fear of having a good team, and fear of being your own boss.
After graduation, I briefly worked for a few other production companies, and then I decided to start my own company. And one of the big things that gave me a sense of confidence was that I realized I was good at picking a team. I was capable of finding people that were talented, ambitious, and had character and integrity. And I knew that if I had a good team, I could figure all the rest of it out as I go. And that's been working for me for almost 4 years. :)
The Takeaway. Build a production team from scratch. Work with other people and see how they behave. When hiring new contractors, pay them fairly and see what they can and will do. Don't direct or push them one way or another. Watch them and observe because then you will know what they will be doing when you aren't there.
If you find a good team, treat them right! Pay them properly! And remind them of how much you appreciate their work! And hold on to them! If you have a good team and you treat them right, they will continue to do good work for you. And in turn your clients will be pleased, and in turn more business will come to you! Finding and taking care of a great production team runs your business for you!