“The benefits of a cup of tea in a production office is huge, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to the team and meet new people,” laughed Sam Tatlow.
Former production coordinator Sam Tatlow, whose credits include The Inbetweeners, Misfits and Mad Dogs, revealed the secrets of working in a production office during an RTS Futures webinar.
The freelance nature of the industry means making a good first impression is key, Tatlow stressed, that often means going above and beyond, checking that the kitchen is tidy, or that the stationery cupboard is in order, because these are the things people will notice.
“Remember all good conversations start in the kitchen, it’s a good place to ask people questions and you never know where it may lead to,” she explained.
Tatlow encouraged people to connect using social media but to be aware of what you’re saying and the strength of your opinions.
“Often when we’re looking at people’s application schemes, we will google them, so be aware of what can be found online,” said Tatlow.
Being careful of what you say should extend to the office too, Tatlow added, “beware of office gossip, I’d recommend not taking part in it and being neutral.”
Tatlow recognised that the talent is often the most expensive and key part of the production, so it is crucial to be helpful and polite, but not encroach on anyone’s space.
Of course, mistakes do happen but the bigger the mistake, the longer it takes to fix and the more money it costs to fix, she warned.
“If you do make a mistake, apologise, be part of the solution and move on,” recommended Tatlow.
One of the quickest ways to make a mistake can be the phones, Tatlow revealed, calling it a “minefield” so make sure you know the company’s phone procedure.
The workplace can be a stressful and not always the best place to bond, “socialising with work is a good way to get to know each other outside of the office environment,” suggested Tatlow.
Adding an interactive component to the session, Tatlow conducted a poll of various workplace scenarios, asking attendees to give a thumbs up if they’d hire the person and a thumbs down if they’d fire them.
As some of her final words of wisdom, Tatlow encouraged everyone to say yes to all opportunities because you never know what it can be a stepping stone to.
The RTS Futures webinar, ‘Working in a television production office workshop’, was held on the 13th May and produced by Sam Tatlow.