How to Win Friends and Influence Movie People:
Dale Carnegie’s ideas applied to the business of
Film, Video and Photography
In Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, we are introduced to the power on unconditional positive regard, the golden rule or basic human civility on our public relationships. In retrospect it is odd somehow, that we must be educated into thinking that treating our peers with respect and decency is the way to go.
To our modern eyes that book might at first seem childlike and simplistic. It is divided into four parts. Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People describes key social behaviors we can employ in getting others to help us while seeming to be helping themselves. In fact the key here is to develop a strategy by which both efforts are synonymous.
Part Two, Six Ways to Make People Like You, describes techniques that will improve how people respond to you and how to improve the impression you make. In part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Seeing Things, we learn techniques we can employ to get others to do what we need them to do while helping them to complete meet their personal agenda.
Part Four, Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment describes ways in which empathy and compassion can be used to guide and support others in meeting a mutual end. This is so important in business as we hope to influence clients, employees and associates to match their behavior to the needs of a mutual enterprise.
My company, Aesthetica, Film, Photography and Video, deals with three or four offerings which together require a sophisticated approach to a potentially diverse client base. I’ll go through these areas one by one in order to describe the ways in which Dale Carnegie’s ideas may best be put to use in this context.
My company approaches Film in two distinct ways. One is as a company offering individuals to fill crew positions we need to emphasis client/contractor relations in contract negotiations, honoring of contracts and in supporting the overall health of productions within the roles we are contracted to perform. This means that we must achieve a relationship of mutual respect and support. Techniques for doing this include providing a supportive and attentive regard to details, while maintaining proper professional conduct and business professionalism.
Our other involvement in Film is in the development of feature narrative and documentary projects. This is where Mr Carnegie ideas become most important. Knowing how to create a positive mutual environment is crucial in every stage of the project, from planning meetings, to investor relations to cast and crew camaraderie production efficiency post production planning and follow through, to marketing and distribution. All these steps require a positive, trusting environment be nourish and maintained.
Photography can be very personal for people. We are all concerned about our image is perceived and how we ourselves perceive it. In retail photography we are often dealing as much with how we make people feel about how they look as with how they look. On the commercial side making clients feel that their wishes are being met, even while we express our vision. Along the same lines as in film is maintaining a professional relationship which allows for proper professional etiquette, payment and respect.
Video production can be complex. From preproduction planning, to production and then final delivery the clients needs intermingle with the professional and personal needs of the production company. Creativity and the creation of a commercial product lead to a complex relationship wherein artistic and commercial elements are intermingled inexorably.
From the creation of proposals, to script and storyboard approval, to the negotiation of contracts, to the recruitment of crew and the casting of talent the video producer must act as both the representative of the clients needs and the commercial and artistic needs of the professional staff. The bottom line remains customer satisfaction and professional relations. The production company must always guard against individuals and entities which will seek to defraud it of it’s real intellectual property. Dale Carnegie would argue that it is the astute business person that works in turning the potential enemy and adversary into an Allie and partner in business and creativity.
Michael Kleven June 2011