- Phil Cooke
Working with our team at Cooke Pictures, I’ve produced hundreds of film and video projects over the years, and in the process hired thousands of people. I’ve worked on every continent, and about 50 countries. After all that experience hiring and sometimes firing, these are the five types of people—on a film set or in the office—I will never hire again: 1. The Whiner This is the guy who you just can’t please. He doesn’t like the hours, the food, or the other people on the crew. Trying to help him just invites a new list of things he isn’t happy about. A whiner is ultimately unhappy with himself, so there’s really nothing you can do to make him change. So make yourself happy and hire someone else. 2. The Debater I had a actress once who debated (or argued) about everything—and not just stuff related to the project. She loved to discuss theology and issues surrounding the Bible. So all day long she would bring up issues like “Does God exist?” or “Can we believe the Bible?” All interesting subjects, but not on a film shoot under pressure! I’m trying to direct the crew, and she’s debating the virgin birth with the sound engineer. Honestly, she wore me (and everyone else) out. Hire people who are sensitive to what’s happening around them, and know how to be in the right moment at the appropriate time. 3. Mr. Negative This guy was so negative that when he walked into a room, it actually felt like someone had walked out. Constantly finding fault, always trying to point out why my ideas wouldn’t work. I appreciate realistic feedback, not constantly negative feedback. While a Whiner reminds everyone how unhappy HE is, a Negative person points out what’s wrong with YOU and your ideas. I honestly think he was trying to help, but you can’t have that much negativity around you and survive. I’m happy to let him be a downer for someone else. 4. Chatty Cathy Remember the “Chatty Cathy” doll? You pulled a string and she’d start talking. But sometimes she got stuck and wouldn’t stop. This was a woman who couldn’t keep her mouth shut—ever. In client meetings, she had an opinion about everything—even things she knew nothing about. I pulled her aside time after time, but she just wouldn’t learn. She didn’t respect authority, or the rules of civility. A serial interrupter, she alienated clients who could never get a word in. I had to let her go just so I could hear myself think. 5. His Way or No Way I like my team to be creative and think for themselves, but this guy had to do everything his own way. With a team, you can hash things out, but you eventually need to come to a consensus and move forward together. Not this guy. He had to do it his way or no way. Nothing destroys unity like someone who will not play his or her part. I decided to let him be independent on his own, and I hired someone else. This article originally appeared on Phil Cooke's blog. Used with permission.