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Looking for the right way to say it...

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jon agnew
Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:23:20 pm

So...this is tangential to video production, but you guys give good advice...

I had written a lengthy explanation of the situation, only to realize I could sum it up much more succinctly...What would be a polite but clear way to tell my supervisor that I appreciate her willingness (aka insistence) to help me complete a task, but fear that she does not have the requisite knowledge to actually assist? In the end, her inexperience will, at best, slow me WAY down, and, at worst, mess me up.

Any ideas?





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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:44:50 pm

Touchy subject indeed. I guess it depends on your supervisor.

If she's a micromanager/know-it-all, you would probably be better off gritting your teeth and putting up with her "help". Look at it this way. If she "helps" you and you're slowed down by that "help", she only has herself to blame for any delays in completing that task. If you're getting paid by the hour, that could be a plus for you. If you're salary, and her "help" is causing you to have to work extra hours, then that's pretty crappy.

If she's an understaning person, you might get away with telling her that she might slow you down. But no matter how nice she is (not matter what she says in response), she'll probably be hurt/annoyed by your speaking up.

I've only had one job in my life. With my experience with my bosses, I'm better off shutting up and putting up with their "help".

I don't envy your situation. Good luck.

Best,

Aaron


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grinner hester
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:59:20 pm

I always said stuff like "scram, daddy's workin'."
somehow, they always seemed to get the hint.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 6:39:18 pm

Aaron is actually quite right here.

Put up with it as far as you can, while trying to educate the client in little ways as you go along. I once worked on a video for some deaf clients, and it was a a great experience, but the one spot where things got bogged down was the edit.

I was editing A/B/C roll linear tape to tape, a process where multiple streams of video run backwards and forwards multiple times before they synch up and play together, and you often do this over and over for the same shot, while you preview or simulate the way it will all come together before you commit the controller to doing the actual editing. And you may preview and nudge a clip around a bunch of times, shuttling it and step-framing it to get a precise in or out point. A lot of the work requires you to listen to multiple audio tracks as well.

The deaf clients were nice people, great clients, but they had some micro-managers in the group that were emotionally invested in the project and felt they needed to be in there to watch me edit. I had warned them the process might not make much sense to a hearing-impaired person until I was close to a final version, but they insisted...

And went quickly nuts trying to lip read different tracks rolling on multiple screens, apparently in the wrong order, as well as seeing the master shot cuing, back-timing and pre-rolling over and over as I cut things together. There was no way they could discern any continuity of what was going on. Even when I told them to only look at one final output program monitor, they couldn't get over the continual shuttling backwards and forwards. I had to explain every step, every time. AND play the whole thing thru from the beginning after each edit, so they had proof the segments were being assembled in the right order. They they would freak out because I would at times leave black gaps of precise lengths for the insertion of other elements later.

I was really patient, even though it was killing productivity. The client is always right, even when they are wrong. You advise where and as you can, but in the end you do what they tell you.

But slowly they came around to figuring out on their own I knew what I was doing, and that there was nothing at this stage they could contribute, until a screening session to come later. One of the things that helped make up their minds was that I stayed and worked thru lunch while they went out and came back. (felt I had to just to try and make up for some lost time, so I just did the candy bar and Jolt thing while working away). They came back and miraculously we were three times farther along. They asked how that got done so fast and I just smiled and made a joke about the magic powers of Jolt cola. I had gotten so much farther along in that hour, I think they put it together in their heads that it was because they'd left me alone to do what I know how to do.

A few minutes later, after some private consulting amongst themselves, they suggested to me that they thought I had a good idea as to where things were going and that it might speed things up if they left me to it and just waited a day or so to screen the final version and make their changes, based on that screening. I said I thought that was a wise idea that would make things more efficient, while assuring them repeatedly that they would still retain control and the right to order changes, once we were past the "raw" stage.

This was never really a technical issue, it was psychological; they needed reassurance and to build a level of trust.

Make it look like their idea and they buy into it faster. That's diplomacy.


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jon agnew
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:41:27 pm

Most likely, I'm going to just grin and bear it. But considering that this is my supervisor (who neither signs my checks, nor has hiring/firing power) and not a client, I was looking for a way to tell her that she will be decreasing the productivity for which our boss pays us so handsomely.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 9:43:47 pm

Mark is right on the money, as usual. And Aaron is saying the same thing. Suck it up, work through it for a while until she gets the idea that her "supervision" will have a better impact elsewhere.


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jon agnew
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 10:20:34 pm

I knew I should have posted this in the Diplomacy and Relations forum! haha.

Thanks to everyone for the input. This forum is great for helping those who know the right answer, but don't want to acknowledge it.


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Bruce Bennett
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 27, 2009 at 10:44:46 pm

“Now here’s something else, Bob. I have eight different bosses right now.” - Peter Gibbons, Computer Programmer, Initech


Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC


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Steve Wargo
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:10:13 am

[jon agnew] "I was looking for a way to tell her that she will be decreasing the productivity for which our boss pays us so handsomely."

Sorry I chimed in so late but my suggestion would be to ask her what to do on Everything. And stop working completely when you do. Quit working, turn to her, lean back in your chair and get completely relaxed. Then discuss the theory behind each cut. Ask her questions that are over her head. Start conversations about unrelated things. Apologize for being distracted. Tell her it's nice to have someone to talk to throughout the day as it cuts the boredom. Start smoking and take a smoke break every 15 minutes. When she has a suggestion, call someone else to get a second opinion. Develop a urinary tract infection. Go the bathroom a lot and talk to her about it.

At least that's what my editors do when I invade their space.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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jon agnew
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:25:09 pm

Steve Wargo for the win! Best idea ever. HA!


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Eric Christians
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:23:45 pm

I would begin a steady diet of:
Baked Beans
Broccoli
Corn
and anything on the Taco Bell menu

Then place a empty bottle of Bean-O on your desktop and make reference to the Bean-O daily of how that stuff doesn't work and how expense it was.

She will either get the hint or begin to wonder why you keep politely excusing yourself every 10 minutes.


Sorry, i couldn't resist! ha ha ha ha





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grinner hester
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:34:57 pm

The bare knuckles truth is managers simply cannot afford to do this today. It is not cost effective for them to hire an editor and then spend their time sitting over his shoulder as he edits all day. I am not talking about producers here, but the situation you described. The staffer sitting over you needs to learn what the buttons do or go do work as you do yours. They can come check it out at lunch and again at the end of the day with suggestions but any company paying two people to do one job... that is now getting slowed down, is waisting revenue.
As an artist, I this bugged me a little bit. As a business owner, this now bothers me a lot. These are the places that cannot afford to stay in business next year. Looking at it that way, it can take food off of my table. part of our job today is to not help companies waist money. Helping them do that is part of why the industry (and economy) is in the shape it is today. People just go along with the shuffle even though they know it is not a good idea in the long run.
Common sense is going to have to come back in style at some point.



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Matthew Radcliff
Re: Looking for the right way to say it...
on Apr 30, 2009 at 2:13:47 pm

Steve's got the best idea here. This is the same technique that a classic Hollywood director used with the studio producers. (I can't remember his name, though he's well-known and respected). Whenever the producer would show up on set the director would shut down production and talk with the producer, so he could "devote himself to the producer's questions and comfort" exclusively. The chat would be pleasant and the director was 100% engaged and attentive. It wouldn't take long before the producer would realize that nothing was happening, and that nothing would happen until he left.

The key, obviously, is to do this in a calm and positive manner, and not in a petulant passive-aggressive manner. Because then the producer (or supervisor) will think you're the problem, not himself.

Best of luck,
Matt


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