Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I understand that sometimes, things get lost. Or stolen. Or broken.
I understand that sometimes, in those circumstances, you need to borrow a tool or two from a co-worker.
What I don't understand is when you have the tools but don't bring them to work.*

(And I'm not talking obscure pieces of gear either, like an Altman lighting wrench. On more than one occasion, I've been the only one in my entire department to carry something as simple as a screwdriver.)

And what I really don't understand is when you have the tools but don't bring them to work, and then ask a co-worker to borrow hers and even though she's reluctant to do so (and you know she's reluctant to do so because of your past record of not putting things back where they belong) YOU STILL DON'T RETURN THEM.

And then you take another job so you don't even see her the next day, or the day after... Or the day after that... And you don't even bother to make the effort of returning them to her. Ever.


*And yeah, we all see you carrying a "work bag" in everyday. But I'm also bewildered at the fact that there's no tools in the bag. Instead, it's used to carry magazines, DVDs and your laptop. In other words, nothing in it is used for work and everything in it is actually a distraction to keep you from doing any work.


Anonymous said...

i have a friend who is an electric, but works on bigger stuff than i do, and we argue about whether all you need is a wrench and a blade, or basically everything you own. maybe its the lower-budget crowd i run with, but i can't imagine not having all that crap stuffed in my bag. i always end up needing it.

Nathan said...

You don't need all that much of a tool kit to be a Locations PA. A pair of work gloves are totally optional -- you're hauling garbage whether you've got 'em or not.

OTOH, if you show up to work without a pad of paper (even a tiny one in your back pocket) and a writing implement, you're not going to get rehired by anyone.

And, NO! I will not "just text the instructions" to you.

I feel your pain.

Nathan said...

Oh, and give A.J. her shit back, you crapweasel.

A.J. said...

Anonymous - Hm. Interesting. It's usually the bigger stuff I work on where the guys tell me to "belt up" whereas on the smaller stuff, I'll carry a blade and maybe a Leatherman (and gloves, of course). Either way, I'll show up with a tool bag of crap I may possibly use but not necessarily need on my person at all times. If I'm running with a crew I'm not familiar with or on a new show, I kind of take my cue from the other guys and mirror what they carry. What I don't understand though, is people who still don't carry the shit they need on day three of a show.

Nathan - Ew. I might text a phone number, an e-mail address, or the address for the location (and maybe a cross-street if you're lucky) but that's it. Instructions or directions?? You either need to be carrying a pen or have a really good memory. And on that note, if you borrow a pen, return it!

Also, I think I need to work the word "crapweasel" into my vocabulary more.

Anonymous said...

On more than one occasion, I've had a co-worker ask if I have a knife. I always respond with "Of course I have a knife, I'm a stagehand!" It's really simple. If I know them AND trust them, I'll loan them a tool. If not, they're sol.
Just my 2 cents.


Doug said...

I have an Altman wrench...Got one for me when I got my (aspiring theatre tech) brother one as a gift. Twilight jokes aside (it is cross-shaped...), I have no real reason to own it as a sound person.

I hardly ever lend out tools, because I rarely get them back. Conversely, I try to borrow as few tools as possible, because I don't know how good I would be about returning them. It just means lugging around a lot.

Gotta agree with Nathan: A pad and paper are a must for anyone...no matter how far up or down the food chain.

A.J. said...

Juicer - Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly snarky, I'll answer something along the lines of, "Of course I have a knife. I'm a grip/juicer. Don't you have one?" And once in a while, I have to lend someone a tool whether I trust them or not, because if you're the only one with a screwdriver and refuse to lend it out, you'll either end up with that task and/or be seen as a dick.

Doug - I've only seen the Altman wrench once on a set. I was a grip and the Best Boy claimed it was useful for cranking down on c-stand knuckles. Problem was, it didn't fit any of the c-stands we were carrying, but one. So when he finally got to bust it out, he made sure to crank down hard on all the knuckles on that stand... that was holding an 18x24 single net. It was ridiculous.

And when it comes down to it, you can forget the paper as long as you have a pen or a sharpie. You can always take notes on your arm if needed.

D said...

There's no reason to crank down that hard on cstand knuckles. It doesn't matter if it's holding a 2x6 blade. Where do you find these people?

A.J. said...

D - I wish I knew how people like this came to be, but all I know is that I work with a lot of them.

JD said...

Grips thats show up for work without their gloves. Just don't understand it. I also seen G&E crew show up with equipment bags..., filled with a change of clothes.

A.J. said...

JD - I'm one of those people who carries a change of clothes... And sometimes shoes (especially on a wet/rainy day). I'll also carry spare gloves, because yes, I've had to lend those out too...

JD said...

A.J., come on now..... A change of clothes (especially socks) when you're working in 90 degree heat is just common sense. But when all your bag contains is clothing and BS, nothing related to your craft, that's different all together.

A.J. said...

JD - Ah. Sorry. I misread your comment as grips carrying around a change of clothes as well as their usual gear.

But I agree. It doesn't matter what's in the damn thing. If your "work bag" has nothing "work related" in it, then you should stop carrying it to work.

Nathan said...

Back to the question of cranking down on a c-stand knuckle. If you're talking about the knuckle on a riser, doesn't the weight of whatever is you've mounted on top "torque" the riser and keep it from slipping? And if you're talking about the knuckle on an arm, aren't you supposed to orient the meat-axe so that it's weight is tightening the knuckle?

Both of these seem to make anything more than "hand-tight", too much...unless I remember even less than I thought I did.

A.J. said...

Nathan - Depending on the weight and orientation of whatever's on the c-stand, yes, it may "bow" the risers to the point where it probably won't come crashing down. And yes, things on the arm are supposed to be oriented in a certain way where the weight will naturally tighten the knuckle. Either way, hand tightening knuckles on c-stands is generally good enough, making Altman wrenches on a film set kinda useless... Unless it's a "theater" set, I guess.

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