The world of film making is a challenging one. You need to have special skill sets in place to set yourself apart from your competitors and help you stand out. So here are the 5 Key personal values I used to succeed in the film industry, but really, these are personal improvement strategies you can apply to any business or career pathway.

Basically, my life and work ethic revolves around 5 P’s:


  1. Passion
  2. Persistence
  3. Patience
  4. Preparedness
  5. Pride

Read on or watch my video on this topic for the breakdown on those values:



You have to love what you are doing. If not, go find something else!

Passion it’s getting up in the dark to capture a time-lapse of the sunrise, for weeks on end until you capture the perfect shot, making that special recipe, completing that spreadsheet, weeding that garden. All so you can step back and say, ‘Now THAT I’m happy with!’



An example of passion

This is a photo of the milky way. My friend Richard took this amazing picture of a deserted graveyard in a country town outside of Perth. You will agree, it’s truly stunning. Well, this was not a matter of going to a graveyard, setting up the camera and pressing the button. Oh no! He had the passion for his craft, here…a burning desire to capture the very best photo he could.

This was a time-lapse image made up of a series of images merged into one, that took him 4 visits (2 hours there, two hours back x 4) and multiple mechanical mishaps. He built his own set of lights with their own relay switches to turn on independently, he had a motorised tripod and an array of gadgets I’d never seen before. Also, he lit the church with flood lights, the tombstones with torches. And finally, he was there twiddling and adjusting and shooting for hours (I know he did – I went with him as his assistant once, just to witness it all unfold).

Here he is setting the tombstones alight.

Well, his hero photo ended up as a featured photo in an American Astronomy magazine. Simply an amazing result. Well done, Richard!

Here’s another he took out in the middle of the Atacama desert in Chile. He gets around. 🙂

You can also read more on Passion on my other post “Finding your Passion in Filmmaking”.



It took me three years of applying for jobs before I got into the film industry. I was so near to giving up countless times. But I got there.

And I had a simple undying belief; that once I had decided that the film industry was where I wanted to be, I was going to keep trying until I got there.

Moral of the story: persistence is one of the main key personal values you need to break into your dream career. So adopt your own personal commitment strategy. Here’s one:

Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.

What does that mean? What it means is: don’t wait for that employer to call you to say ‘Hey, I’ve got the dream job you were waiting at home for! Get off your butt, get on the phone and start ringing.



This comes right on the back of persistence in the list of key personal values if you want to succeed in the film industry.

I was given a motivational calendar as a birthday gift a while back. It had a positive comment on every day of the year. Well, this calendar has been stuck on February 24 for the past 20 plus years, and it’s guided me through some pretty challenging times. So what does it say on that day?


When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter, hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow the rock will split in two and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

How many times have you been chipping away at a task, getting totally frustrated, with little or no result? It could be your study where you don’t understand a key element, or undertaking a massive physical or mental task. When suddenly, a glimmer of light appears, you understand the brief, you solve the problem, you get over that final hill. And you see the job becoming that little bit easier. Then before you know it, you’re on your way to the finish line. Well, you just got rewarded for effort. You just performed the Stonecutter movement.


I was a boy scout. Their motto? You guessed it! I can’t stress enough the need for you to be prepared for all tasks you undertake. Things can go pear shape in a heart beat, so it’s really important to protect the down side.

As an example, I had a supplier arrive on set a while back (not my usual supplier, I might add). His job as camera assistant was to ensure the client, director and ad agency had a monitor to view proceedings on.

Well, he arrived with a monitor – that was all fine but the cables he had hanging off it were tatty, worn and bound up with tape. As a result, the monitor dropped out. Now you see it, now you don’t.

Picture, no picture. So not acceptable on any production.. ’Ok’,, he said, ‘I’ll just hold the cable in this position and it’ll be fine’. I asked him whether he had any replacement cables? Nah, these have been a bit of a problem for a while. Yeah, I must get onto that. Really? The question you may ask is, has this guy ever worked for me since? No.

So I suggest you make of these words a mantra on your list of key personal values:

  • Always have a back up…
  • Always have a Plan B…
  • In short: Always be prepared.



Another important element on your key personal values is pride. And it applies into many areas:

      • First impressions are everything. Take care of your image and organize your environment.
      • Always take pride in things around you.
      • Keep your room tidy!!

I don’t give a damn what other people say (not even my sons) – having a tidy room shows you have self esteem and self respect, that you are a proud person. You will always be part of an office team, a family, your flatmates, or work for a boss who expects the very best from you as a person.

Wash your car and keep it tidy (I know, not a normal bit of advice but hey, you never know who may be a passenger, one day). Remember, first impressions.

And most important, present yourself in a clean and tidy manner, body odour and all. Your next job could depend on it (trust me, the world likes a tidy, presentable, nice-smelling person).


Your key personal values: passion, persistence, patience, preparedness and pride.



 Copy and paste these common sense values into your everyday life and watch it take off!! You will surely succeed in the film industry and in anything else you want to do.

If you got something from this post, that’s great. I’d love to hear your comments.

Or if you have your own 5 words that you hold high and live by, please do share them.

Take care, work hard and be nice to people.

Kind regards,

Ross Tinney

Here is my video on this topic: