The Assistant Editor Curriculum

My biggest gripe with most production companies is often their lack of interest in the development of the support staff, i.e., the Assistant Editors, Associate Producers, and Coordinators, who do much of the grunt work. I believe this is not a wise course of action because crew turnover plays havoc on team efficiency. People who know your show have an “institutional knowledge” that makes them faster, more accurate, and more productive. Therefore reducing the likelihood of turnover should be a high priority at any company.

Unfortunately, money, the primary tool I’ve seen utilized, rarely buys true loyalty. From my experience, the best way to retain your crew is to demonstrate a path of growth. Giving people the opportunity to grow keeps their attention on your project instead of imagining greener pastures somewhere else. And it creates value for the show as well.

A few years ago, in order to help facilitate my commitment to my crew, I created an A.E. curriculum. It was something I would share with my Loader to show them how they could become a Night A.E.. And my Night A.E. could reference it on their path to the Lead position. Consider the linked A.E. Curriculum a work in progress and something you can modify for your own team.

Someone once told me that being an Assistant Editor is a lot like being a Major League Baseball Outfielder. You can catch the ball 99 times, but the only time you get attention is when you drop the ball. It’s a thankless job. The least a Post Supervisor can do is demonstrate how their hard work will get them to where they want to go.

For more on this thought I highly recommend the Rands in Repose piece Bored People Quit. As today’s Timehop reminded me, his piece has been highly influential to me.

5 replies on “The Assistant Editor Curriculum”