I’m hiring a second full-time employee, a position I’m calling Director of Digital Things.
In addition to my actual job of screenwriting and directing, I currently do all the tech stuff: the websites, the wiring, the coding, the iPhone app that’s thisclose to beta testing. And I enjoy it. The luxury of a writer’s life is the freedom to explore and obsess.
But the list of things I’d like to do is so much longer than what I could conceivably do that it makes sense to bring in somebody with similar ambitions and a specific mandate. Rather than, “Wouldn’t it be neat if…” I’d like to be saying, “Hey, figure out a way to do this.”
So I’m hiring somebody who can.
My assistant, Matt, will continue to handle my schedule, travel, research and proofreading. The new person will handle stuff related to this website and many new projects.
I see this as a full-time job. Salary would be commensurate with experience, and there’s health insurance.
I’d prefer the person live in Los Angeles for occasional face-to-face discussions, but she or he would be working outside the office most of the time. The new guy would be free to — encouraged to — pursue outside projects, as long as the real work came first.
After a string of terrific and very different assistants, I’ve learned that hiring someone is never a matter of checklists. Each employee brings experiences and abilities that change the nature of the job.
But I can safely predict this person will need to be very digital, with a good balance of design sense and general geekery. A good candidate for this position would be able to talk about most of the following with ease:
Great opening title sequences of the last year.
Pros and cons of breaking out CSS into multiple files.
The feeds aren’t updating right. Is the problem on WordPress, Feedburner or somewhere else?
Whatever happened to the Stone typefaces?
Books you’ve bought just for the cover.
Is that short URL scheme a good idea?
Why isn’t Google hitting this page? What SEO should we bother with, and what should we ignore?
Is it worth outsourcing comments to something like Disqus? Could we get Scrippets to work with it?
If you were marketing a web series about giant killer plants, what outlets would you target and how?
Since jQuery’s already loading, what else could/should we have it do?
Getting an offsite backup server going.
How quickly can we get The Variant onto the new Apple device?
If we needed to swap hosts in 24 hours, what are the first six things to do?
Five desert island typefaces, and whether TypeKit is worth it.
Setting up A/B test pages to track two possible layouts.
A great candidate might also have expertise in several of the following:
Coding everything from PHP to Flash to Ruby to Objective-C
Motion graphics and VFX
Shooting and editing
Gadgetry and game development
You’ll notice that “writing” is nowhere in these criteria. To date, all of my assistants have been screenwriters, and all of them are now working in the industry. But I don’t see this new position as being a particularly good stepping stone for an aspiring screenwriter.
But it is likely a stepping stone for something else, and a paid opportunity to explore some areas of interest for a year or two. In addition to maintaining existing properties, there’s a range of new projects I’d like to tackle.
Here’s the hiring process:
Candidates email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a bio with work experience and background, interests, and (most importantly) links to work you’ve done. I’m particularly interested in seeing websites you’ve designed, along with an explanation of their goals and techniques. But I’m also curious about other projects, like iPhone apps or short films or something else you think I’d be interested in. I’ll be hiring a person, not a portfolio, so let me get a sense of what you’re like.
By the second week of February, I’ll narrow down my choices to a few great candidates. I’ll give each candidate a small budget and a reasonable deadline to come up with a site for a specific project, such as The Remnants. We’ll have coffee and talk about what you did and why.
I’ll pick the person who seems the best fit.
Do not apply in the comments. Let’s save the comments section for feedback about the nature of the job and general discussion.