(1441 words – 5 min read) There are many types of people in the world. So in order to ascertain the sort of crew you want to be surrounded by, it may be good to ask yourself a very pertinent question: what sort of person are you?

Are you open-minded, mysterious, demanding, petty? Are you a follower or a leader, impatient, cautious, a perfectionist?

All these traits play a major role in your relationships with fellow crew, and can be pivotal in your advancement through the ranks to a position of authority and responsibility, to potentially ending up running the show.

Learning about all types of people

During recent years, and as part of my desire to continue learning the art of communication in general life, I have taken on facilitating roles at Teamworks Development Australia, a company run by my dear friends, Mal & Ian Lowther.

Teamworks has assisted many individuals, schools and corporate organizations to find their full potential. Working efficiently and productively together as a team is a major thrust of their learning process.

On a typical full-on day, by engaging in some wickedly hilarious and challenging team games, we as facilitators conduct a series of debriefing sessions, designed to realise the group’s strengths, while minimizing their weaknesses.

And generally, at the outset of these days, we have this exercise called PART, designed to find out each participant’s learning style. In other words, what sort of person you are.

Via a series of action questions, each individual has a choice of four reaction options that they would have taken, and then moves to one corner of the room. Each corner is marked with a letter P, A, R or T. No one at this stage has any idea what the letters represent. At the same time, they each mark their preferences to each question on their individual spreadsheet, under each letter.

With me so far?

Find out what sort of person are you

Well, here’s an example of one of the questions;

When assembling a pushbike or a garden fitting, you would prefer to:

P — Have someone with experience show you the most important stages of assembly and give you simple, effective instructions.

A — Turn the box upside down in the lounge room and assemble it immediately so you can use it as soon as possible.

R — Take as much time as necessary to read the instruction manual, get the necessary tools and talk with friends about the task. OR

T — Carefully read all the instructions and arrange parts in sequential order, ensuring all parts are there and undamaged before attempting the assembly.

After the scores have been added up for the responses to the 10 or so questions, everyone moves finally to the corner with the letter they scored the most points against.

And here’s what they find out about their learning style.

‘P’ stands for Pragmatists

  • Are keen to try out ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work in practice
  • Search out new ideas and take the first opportunity to use them
  • Like to get on with things
  • Tend to be impatient
  • Are practical, down-to-earth type of people who like making practical decisions and solving problems
  • Respond to problems and opportunities as a challenge
  • Believe that ‘There is always a better way’ and ‘If it works it’s good’

 

‘A’ stands for Activists

  • Involve themselves fully and without bias in new experiences
  • Are the open-minded type of people
  • Are enthusiastic about anything new
  • Tend to act first and consider consequences after
  • Fill their days with activities
  • Like to be in the middle of things
  • Believe that you should try anything once

 

‘R’ stands for Reflectors

  • Like to stand back and ponder experiences
  • Like to collect data and analyze before coming to conclusions
  • Tend to postpone reaching a definitive conclusion because of data collection
  • Like to consider all possible angles and implications before making a move
  • Prefer to watch others in action, taking a back seat
  • Act with a view to the wider context
  • Believe in being cautious

 

And ‘T’ stands for Theorists

  • Adapt and integrate observations into complex but logically sound theories
  • Think problems through in a step-by-step, logical way
  • Tend to be perfectionist types of people
  • Are keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and system thinking
  • Tend to be detached, analytical and dedicated to rational objectivity
  • Prefer to maximize certainty, and are uncomfortable with subjective judgment and lateral thinking
  • Believe in rationality and logic: “If it’s logical, it’s good”

Even from answering just this one question, you can “walk into a letter corner” based on your preferred learning style, or how you would respond to other similar challenges in daily life.

And me? My learning style is that of an activist.

  • Just do it!
  • Worry about the finer details later.
  • Take the opportunity as it presents itself.

You know, that sort of bloke.

Benefits of discovering your learning style

 

What this exercise will do is tell you a little more about yourself, and give you some direction as to which department your personality would likely best suit; be it technical, organizational, preparational, production assistant, post-production, artistic and so on.

By knowing what sort of person you are, you can also know more about others. Therefore, you learn to relate well with each type of personality and manage their expectations.

Here’s what DoP Allan Myles, says are the main snippets of advice to the next generation of filmmakers trying to make their way in the film industry.

The number one thing is communication. Communication between you and your relationships, because you can’t make a movie on your own.

You can’t be everything. So it’s that relationship, if you are a director, you have a relationship with the DOP, the DOP is going to have a relationship with the gaffer and the grips. If you can communicate what your vision is and you find people that are sympathetic to that vision, you will go on and create that vision the way you want.

You can’t be everything. I just find that arrogant. Every human being has its positives and negatives. Good at some things and not good at others. It’s understanding within yourself: “I’m not so good at that, so I will get someone that is good at that, and I will appreciate what he does.”

Because the minute you say to a DOP “the reason I have selected you, John, is because I really appreciate what you bring to it” with that lovely piece of communication, you’ve got someone on your side And it’s getting people on your side.

I see arrogant directors; you just don’t want to give them the best because you basically just don’t like them. And I just don’t like arrogance, I don’t care if they’re talented or not. I just think that going out with “my way or no way,” I just find it a breakdown in communication. So for me, it is basically communication, to find the people that will enhance your movie.

It’s ok if you’re an art student and you are painting, but movie-making, or ads, or even stills, you have to rely on people who are really strong in their fields. And if you can get them on side, it just makes it so much more pleasurable and your results will be just so much better.

Even from a stills point of view, I just pick the same stylist, I just know she will deliver time and time again, she’s on the same wavelength. We like the same things, so you know you are not going to be disappointed on set.

You tend to use the same makeup artist, because once you’ve found these people, they’re actually invaluable and you actually feel that you not as valuable as you thought you were. Sometimes I walk away from doing a tv commercial and I think “why was I even there?” I didn’t physically light it, I didn’t even physically move the camera sometimes. Why was I there? Basically because you pick the people for your set and you communicated your ideas simply and let people do their jobs.

It all comes down to communication to me and once you get that, you’re personable, it’s not that you are going to be everybody’s mate, it’s just that you can communicate your ideas simply and let people do their jobs. You are going to rely on other people, but it’s finding those people that will help you.

Wrap

It takes all types of people to make a world. Select yours carefully and know how to communicate according to their particular learning style.

Be that sort of person who is easy to be around.