I worked with an experienced producer not too long ago who told me he asks this question whenever he talks to a crew member he is thinking of hiring, but hasn’t worked with before.
He told me it was one of the easiest ways to gauge a person and their capabilities.
I never asked him to elaborate and explain, for instance, what saying “absolutely!” meant to him. But the implication is that some level of confidence with a dash of humility is what he was looking for.
In an industry that clings to attitudes, your answer is more revealing than you may think.
Long after we said our goodbyes in the hotel, I spent time thinking about what my response would be had I been asked (I never spoke to him until after I had been hired).
I came up with this: “Yes, I am good at what I do, but there’s always ways to get better.”
Maybe that’s the obvious answer, but, to me, it’s also the right one.
It’s important to be confident in your abilities so that you don’t back down when you’re right — especially when working in a film industry full of predatory egomaniacs — but it’s equally important to recognize that you don’t (and probably ever won’t) know everything about filmmaking.
Remember your first day on set where you knew nothing at all?
Experience breeds improvement and, at some point, you are good at what you do — maybe even the best — but nobody ever stops learning new skills, new cameras, or new approaches.
So, are you good at what you do?
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
“Am I good at what I do?”
It’s simple, but alarming, to be honest with yourself about it.
Frame the question around different parts of your job and wherever you find yourself lacking that crucial confidence, that’s where you get to work learning, honing, improving.
You are probably good at what you do, but it never hurts to be great at what you do either.