Friday, December 18, 2009
It's impossible to know everything there is to know about the job of a set lighting technician. Or grip. Or any other job in this business for that matter. So if you don't know something, I don't care who you are (or who you think you are), I suggest you ask.
Some things you can figure out on the fly. For example, if you don't know where a specific cable run will go, you'll probably be able to work it out when you get to the location. Never used an HMI before? Lucky you, there's really only one way you can hook it up.
But there are just some things you can't fake. Need to tie a bowline but don't know how? The only way you're going to learn in time is to ask the colleague next to you. Don't know what settings the generator needs to be on? Ask someone who does.
I'm a strong believer in asking questions when you don't know something, especially if it concerns the safety and well being of others. That knot you just faked could send something crashing down on to someone's head, and a genny running too high can be a ticking bomb.
On the flip side of that, don't be a dick if someone asks a question you think they should already know the answer to. Some of us out there only know about what we've worked with, so unfortunately, what may be second nature to you may not be so clear to the rest of us. I have a friend who's been in this business way longer than I have, and yet he doesn't know how to properly use a GFCI, simply because he's never had to use them. Just like I don't know how to set up a piece of scaffolding because I've never been a grip when we had to use it.
The other day, I watched as a guy from the art department admitted to not knowing how to tie a bowline and his boss gave him shit for it as the rest of the department watched. "What do you mean you don't know how to tie a bowline? Anyone worth his salt knows how to tie one! Whatever. Go sweep up the other set." The guy, completely embarrassed, sulks off.
A little bit later, I return from the crafty table just in time to watch the rest of his co-workers start to raise the chandeliers they just rigged when one of them slipped and crashed to the ground. The culprit? A wrongly tied knot by one of the other guys who was prepping the chandeliers to be taken up. After watching his buddy get yelled at by his boss, there was no way he was going to admit to not knowing how to tie a bowline. Lucky for them, there was minimal damage and no one got hurt.
So for Pete's sake, if you don't know how to do something, ask. And if someone asks you a question, don't be an asshole.