Your assistant shooter is a very important member of your production team. Your primary shooter cannot be everywhere at once, capturing every angle.
With an assistant shooter you can do fewer takes and capture the shots you need for an amazing video. A freelance assistant shooter works independently and answers directly to the client.
When hiring a freelance assistant shooter, you want to make sure you know what you want and can identify the right person for the job.
Know what you need
Consider your needs
Are you looking for a certain style to complement the first shooter’s techniques? What styles and techniques do you want your second shooter to be familiar with?
Get it in writing
Clearly and concisely explain your project and what you are looking for in a shooting assistant. Write, rewrite if needed until you have a clear project explanation that you can use when you post the job.
Know your budget
You need to know how much you have to spend. You typically get what you pay for, so you want to make the right choice for your project.
Now that you have a good idea of what you need, you can begin attracting and screening candidates.
What to look for
You want proficiency
Your potential shooter should be competent in many styles, particularly the ones you are looking for. A professional understands how to take direction, adjust to client needs and get the job done.
You want experience
Your second shooter should have a comprehensive reel to demonstrate his/her work. Does this shooter seem to have the skills you need for your production?
You want passion
Passion drives creativity. ‘nough said.
Questions to ask a potential candidate
What are your favorite techniques to capture A,B,C?
With A,B,C being directly related to the type of video you intend to shoot. You want to judge compatibility of the 2nd shooter with your primary shooter.
What is your communication style?
You want to hear from your candidate about how they communicate and collaborate with others.
Being an assistant shooter means working with another to capture a broader array of images. Doing this requires communication.
What do you consider your strongest skills?
You are looking for someone who will complement your primary. So finding someone who is strong where the primary is weak means a more dynamic capturing of the footage.
Make sure their portfolio backs up their stated strengths.
What is your most prized work?
Allow the candidate to describe and show some of their most prized pieces. Evaluate the passion in their voice along with the technical know-how needed for the job.
How do you think you have grown as a shooter?
You want to hear that your potential shooter can objectively discuss past mistakes and what he/she has learned to become better.
This demonstrates that the candidate is always learning and developing new skills that they can put to use when you hire them.