Screen Hustler

5 Interpersonal Skills Every Film Crew Member Needs

At its core, filmmaking is a highly collaborative process. To build a successful career as a filmmaker, you need more than technical skills. That’s where interpersonal skills come in. These skills are earned from all aspects of life, from close relationships to work experience.

Now more than ever, employers are seeing less value in a person’s degree, people with interpersonal skills are favoured over those with credentials. That’s why it’s wise to leverage the right interpersonal skills for your career path.

Let’s walk through all you need to know about interpersonal skills and which ones you should look to develop dispensing on your role.

What are interpersonal skills?

Interpersonal skills are the behaviours that dictate how we get along with others, how we manage our emotions and attitudes, and how we communicate (both verbally and non-verbally).

The screen industry requires consistent interaction with people, so it’s crucial to know how to interact with everyone. Even if you’re a video editor who spends most of your time on the computer, you still need to interact with other production crew members.

There are various types of interpersonal skills, look at the list below of common interpersonal skills with examples of what they look like in action.

1. Empathy

Empathy is a critical interpersonal skill for film crew members because it enables them to connect with their colleagues on a deeper level and build trust and understanding. As a film crew member, you may encounter various personalities and emotions on set, and your ability to empathise with your colleagues can help you navigate these situations with grace and professionalism.

For instance, let’s say you’re working on a film set where the weather is unexpectedly hot and humid. Your colleague, a camera operator, is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with the challenging conditions. In this situation, empathy can help you understand their perspective and offer support. You might actively listen to them as they express their frustration, validate their feelings, and offer practical solutions to help them feel more comfortable.

2. Conflict management

Conflict management is a critical interpersonal skill for film crew members, especially for those in leadership roles like directors and producers. It involves communicating views professionally and respectfully while considering the opinions of others, even in challenging situations.

On a film set, conflicts may arise regarding creative differences, scheduling, or logistics. Effective conflict management means navigating these situations without compromising the project’s integrity. For instance, as a director, you might use conflict management skills to provide constructive feedback to an actor struggling with their role. As a producer, you might use these skills to resolve conflicts between teams while staying on schedule and within budget.

Developing conflict management skills can help build a culture of collaboration and respect among team members, ultimately leading to better outcomes for film projects.

3. Collaboration

Collaboration is essential for film crew members to achieve a common goal by cooperating, synergizing, and respecting each other. Effective collaboration involves communication, adaptation, and leveraging each other’s strengths and expertise. For instance, the artistic collaboration between the cinematographer, production designer, and director can help build the film’s visual language. 

Collaboration can also involve effective problem-solving, where crew members work together to overcome challenges that may arise during a film shoot. For instance, if there’s a technical issue with the camera equipment, the camera operator may collaborate with the electrician and the grip to find a solution quickly and efficiently. By working together to address problems, crew members can ensure that the project stays on schedule and on budget, while still maintaining the quality of the final product.

4. Receptiveness to Feedback

Being open to opinions and ideas that may differ from your own can help you grow as a professional and contribute to the success of the project.

On a film set, receptiveness to feedback may involve actors receiving feedback from the director or other members of the cast and crew. For example, actors may receive feedback to improve their performances, and they should listen carefully to what is being said and act on it. Similarly, a cinematographer may receive feedback on the lighting or framing of a shot and make adjustments accordingly.

Receptiveness to feedback also involves refraining from getting defensive and being willing to take ownership of mistakes or areas for improvement. By accepting feedback gracefully and using it to grow and develop, film crew members can enhance their skills and contribute to the project’s success.

5. Communication

On a film set, communication can take many forms, including verbal communication, body language, and written communication. Crew members must be able to interact effectively with others, such as giving and receiving feedback, providing direction, and conveying technical details. For instance, video editors may need to explain technical details to other crew members who may not have the same level of expertise. Effective communication can also involve reading and interpreting scripts, understanding the director’s vision, and conveying that vision to other members of the crew.

In addition to conveying information clearly, effective communication involves active listening, being receptive to feedback, and seeking clarification when needed. By actively listening and responding to others, crew members can foster a culture of collaboration, build trust and respect, and ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal.

Simple action steps you can start applying to build and develop interpersonal skills

  • Practice active listening by fully engaging with the speaker, asking questions, and summarising what you have heard to ensure understanding.
  • Take time to understand different perspectives and viewpoints, even if they differ from your own. This can help build empathy and understanding.
  • Be aware of your own communication style and how it may be perceived by others. Strive to communicate clearly and effectively to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Be open to feedback and use it constructively to improve your skills and performance.
  • Foster a collaborative mindset by encouraging teamwork, valuing diverse perspectives, and actively seeking out opportunities to work with others.


To stay on top of your game, you have to keep leveraging your interpersonal skills, there is no finish line for developing those skills, and you’ll likely need to change them depending on your role.