3 Qualities of Ideal Tribe Members

3 Qualities of Ideal Tribe Members

Ok, so now that you've honed in on your vision and values, it's time to figure out who's a good fit for your tribe, and who isn't.

Why are we doing this, you might ask?

Put simply, understanding the specific types of people who are a perfect fit for your tribe will narrow your focus, and help you know when you've found the right people.

Plus it'll help you focus your networking efforts on the places most likely to contain your ideal tribe members.

And perhaps most importantly, by having a set of criteria for who's an ideal tribe member, you won't have to rely 100% on your gut instinct when deciding who's in and who's out. You’ll be able to make a decision that’s based partly on your gut (because that’s an important factor in building relationships), but also on a logical foundation of knowing what’s best for your tribe in the long term.

So, with all of that said, I have three criteria for you to consider when determining who's a good fit for your tribe.

Alignment in vision + values

At its core, this course is about building relationships with a handful of the right people, so that you can collectively make awesome films and live great lives.

And when it comes to relationships, shared values and vision are the glue that hold everything together.

Whenever there's a seemingly unresolvable conflict, it can generally be traced back to a mismatch in values or vision. Every damn time.

What I'm saying here is that the people you invite into your tribe should be aligned with you on vision and values.

They don't have to be identical to you, of course, but on these core guiding principles, you want as much overlap as possible.

Now, later on in this course, I'm going to give you some practical ways to find people's vision and values when you're talking to them.

But for now, just keep this in mind.

If you're not aligned on your vision and values, it'll be hard to reap the benefits of the tribe. Those benefits come from cohesion and trust and working towards a collective goal. And when values and vision are out of alignment, that whole structure will fall apart.

The power of diversity

Now, it'd be easy to say that your tribe members must share your vision and values, and leave it at that.

Those two factors are important, but it's more complicated than just going out and finding people who are as similar to you as possible.

In fact, that strategy is likely to hold you back in the long run.

Here's why.

True creativity comes from contrasting different ideas. And meaningful growth comes from being challenged. So if you want your tribe to be a catalyst for creativity and growth, there must be diversity within the tribe.

Not just diversity of skin color and gender, mind you. But diversity of culture, style, creative taste, ideology, and more.

By seeking out diversity, you're injecting life and vibrancy into your tribe. You're giving it the raw ingredients not only to produce innovative work, but help every member grow and change and become the best person they can be. That's what diversity does when it's done correctly.

At the same time, you can't forget about vision and values. Alignment on those core things is what leads to trust and cohesion between tribe members, even when they're diverse in other areas.

So it's a tough needle you're trying to thread here.

You want to find people who are closely aligned with you on values and vision, but outside of that, you should cherish diversity and actively seek it out. Because it will make your work better, and it will make you better.

Practical considerations

In an ideal world, your tribe wouldn't need any outside help to produce work. It'd be a self-sustaining organism that could go out an independently make film after film.

For a tribe to be able to do this, it needs the right balance of essential filmmaking skills. It needs a well-balanced team that can carry out all of the core filmmaking functions competently.

This probably seems obvious, but it's not easy to put together a group like that.

In my experience, a lot of the people you meet will want to be directors. It's just something that happens in this community. There's so much praise and prestige that comes with the director role, so you can't blame anybody for striving for it.

For that reason, it's all too easy to fill your tribe with a core group of people who want to be directors. And if that happens, it can undermine the tribe's ability to produce work without a lot of outside help.

So that's why the next criteria for an ideal tribe member is their skillset. Does it complement the tribe as a whole, or are their skills a redundancy within the tribe?

This isn't meant to be a judgement, and redundancy certainly isn't a bad thing, especially as your tribe grows.

But for the initial members of the tribe to see the most value out of it, the tribe will need a diverse range of skills that can pull off the entire filmmaking process from start to finish.

So ideally, the first few members of your tribe will be able to cover all of these bases competently and effectively. That means you should have the capabilities of a...

  • Writer

  • Producer

  • Director

  • Cinematographer

  • Sound Recordist (production mixer, boom operator)

  • Post Wizard (editor, colorist, audio post)

Once you have all of those bases covered, then it's time to start going after redundancy and diversity in each role. But until then, it should be a priority to build a core group that can carry out the entire filmmaking process.

Keep in mind, it's more than alright to go after "jacks of all trades." In the indie film world, most of us end up wearing more than one hat on our projects. So you could conceivably cover all of these bases with just 2-4 people.

To wrap up, I have one other piece of advice for you.

Ideally, everybody in your tribe should be able to produce to some extent. Even the most creative filmmakers should understand the basics of producing.

Without producers, there is no filmmaking. There are only creatives getting together and talking about the creative things they want to do but never actually getting anything done.

So if it were me, I'd place a lot of emphasis on recruiting people who can produce. Get a few of those folks in your tribe and you'll be unstoppable.

Ok, now that you know what you're looking for in your tribe members, it's time to build out the specifics of your tribe itself. See you in the next lesson.

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