The portrait of a place assignment offered a lot of useful information, some of it should have been known before hand, others not so much.
Firstly it became apparent that you should always check your equipment before venturing too far from the equipment room. Make sure that everything you need, and should be there is actually there. Also make sure that what you've been given works. It is not fun to get the shot you want then the camera cease to function.
White Balance can be tricky. It is probably the least fun aspect of film making.
Getting actors can be incredibly difficult sometimes.
Communication is important, I feel the communication between myself and the people I worked with was at an acceptable level.
I also learned that I should probably never use a Mini DV camera anymore, too many problems arose from those evil little tapes. The equipment for capturing said tapes is faulty at best and the damned camera didn't even want to record after one minute of filmming.
Final lesson: It is easy for what you wanted to convey to not work, learn from this mistake and make sure you don't let the same thing happen next time.