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  • Writer's picturePeterKerkvliet

Under Your Skin: How to be a great team player

I feel that I have covered a lot about tools techniques, so in this blog, I am going to discuss what makes a great team member. I have been honored to work with awesome people this quarter and I have seen what makes certain people great to work with. I want to write this post because I have learned a lot about what others need from you later on in the pipeline and some just great qualities that make people great to work with.

1. Be on time and if you are not going to make it to work or class, let people know!

  • This can be incredibly annoying when someone can't make it and doesn't let you know. Someone else may be needed to review your work, or ask for you to test/fix something.

  • If you can't make it and you have animation or models for review tell people where they can find the materials you prepared so that they may review them.

  • If you are able to take messages while out of office let people know, because sometimes someone needed to talk to you at work or class about something, but you were not there and they really need help. Let people know if they can reach out to you for help.


  • When I say no excuses I mean if you didn't do something or you forgot then own it. If someone asks where is an animation shot, and you didn't make progress then say I haven't got to it yet, but I will get on it! This saves us from the long-drawn-out story on how you didn't get to it or how your dog ate your computer! Plus the person will be bummed that you didn't make progress, but it shows great professionalism if you own it!

  • Obviously, when you say you'll get on it, do it. Finish it and have a quick turnaround time with great quality!

3. Have a positive attitude!

  • Making movies/entertainment is incredibly fun, but it is hard and stressful! Even if you had a no good, terrible, rotten day and want to move to Australia don't bring others down too. Keep a positive mentality and you will get through that no good, terrible, rotten day and hopefully, it will end on a high note!

4. Keep up with the naming convention and file system!

  • I have unfortunately fallen guilty of this one and you are told once and you better not do it again! Just think if you are later in the pipeline you don't want to spend 5 or 10 minutes looking for someone's file. You want to get it and do what you need to do, so place your files in the correct folder with the correct naming convention.

  • This is crucial you get this habit right away! Updated versions of assets and rigs are common, so don't get lost in what version is which. Stay with the system; it is there for a reason.

5. Answer your phone or email!

  • Imagine you just got in a terrible car accident and you call for an ambulance and you get a voicemail saying were are on vacation call back next week! That would really stink!

  • If someone reaches out to you get back to them in a reasonable manner! Try to put yourself in their shoes if you needed something but no one got back to you in 2 days its a bit frustrating.

  • Think about the golden rule! Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

6. Be able to have a good laugh!

  • One thing I love about working with people is everyone has a different sense of humor and in my opinion, everyone is funny in their own way!

  • Be able to take a step back from your work and have a good laugh here and there. If someone has a really ugly animation pose, or funny-looking asset be able to politely poke fun! It lightens the mood but also knows when to make jokes and what kind of jokes.

  • Obviously, this is a work/ professional environment so make sure you are productive, but also be able to have a good laugh!

7. Be open to new ideas!

  • When someone is critiquing you it can feel like a personal attack, but it is not! They want this to be the best it can be too.

  • Don't explain yourself, unless you are confused about why what you did wasn't right. (Don't know if that makes sense. In other words, don't make up excuses or feel the need to defend your work)

  • If the director says they don't like something change it. Throw a fit in your head scream into your pillow at home, but address the notes in a fashionable manner and always be positive!

  • Funny enough even, if you don't like the new ideas at first they usually make your pieces way better!

Here are the 7 traits that I have noticed make amazing people work with. Professors preach "don't be a dick" because the industry is small. To me this makes sense; we have the amazing opportunity to make entertainment, which is fun, why would we want someone on our team to make life miserable.

That's all folks!

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