Wednesday, January 26, 2011
And All It Took Was A Phone Call...
This has been the best day of work I’ve had so far this year. I’ve never worked with these guys before, but they’re fantastic. Super friendly and professional, they’re a joy to work with. And the gig itself is a pretty easy one. Production has everything under control and the DP’s shooting and lighting style is simple, but awesome. Everyone involved seems to be efficient in the way they work. In other words this was exactly how a shoot should be, and to top it all off, we were in and out of the location in under twelve hours with no muss and no fuss.
And since we were guaranteed to be paid for twelve hours of work anyway, we essentially “beat the clock” and got to enjoy the rest of our Saturday on the company’s dime. It rarely gets any better than this…
And to think that I almost missed out on it all because I was too chicken to make a simple phone call.
I don’t know what it is with me and phones, but I hate dealing with anything over a call. Especially since the only line I have is a cellular one, I’m often held captive to bad reception and sound quality leading to a lot of, “Wait, what did you say?” and “I’m sorry, but can you repeat that for me again?” And when the person on the other line is a source for future potential work, I can’t help but cringe and feel like I’m being annoying and difficult to deal with when I ask them to repeat something for the third time in a row. I can usually feel the exasperation in their voice.
And when they don’t pick up, I have the dreaded voice message to deal with. I don’t know about you, but I usually end up sounding like an awkward dork in voice mail, often leaving messages in non-sensical sentences with oddly placed info. Beeeep. “Hey, uh, Carl. This is A.J…. We, uh, met on that web shoot thing job and um… yeah. So anyway, I saw that I missed your call and so I’m just calling you back and yeah… I guess… um… Just give me a call back when you can. It’s about, uh, one…. thirty-ish on Tuesday. So… yeah. I guess I’ll talk to you later. Bye. [awkward rustling as I try to hang up].”
Ugh. I can be a mess on the phone.
Which I think can be why I just “happen” to pass up a number of jobs that require me to return a phone call. Sounding like an inarticulate dolt is not the first impression I like to make to a potential employer. And while not returning a call is probably a bad offense in itself, I’ve convinced myself that it's "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Logical? Maybe not. But my nerves seem to trump logic most of the time.
Which brings me back to this gig.
Long story short, through colleagues and friends, I’ve heard of this particular Gaffer for a while now. And he’s heard of me. It’s always been one of those “oh you two should totally work with each other” and “I can’t believe you haven’t met him/her already” type of situations.* But in one way or another, we just never had, whether it be that he’d already be crewed up or I’m already working.
Then one day, I got a message on my phone from him. He was looking for a crew. And low and behold, I wasn’t working at the time.
I stared at my phone in disbelief and conflicted about what I should do next. Despite many of my friends working right now, I haven‘t been on a set for quite a while and the job itself seemed pretty straight forward with no strings attached and the pay was actually rather decent. But on the other hand, I’d have to call the guy back in order to get the job and risk sounding all frazzled and incompetent. Damn. Hasn’t this guy ever heard of e-mail or text messages?
In the end, I realized that I’d be crazy to not take this gig, sucked it up, called him back, and after a few minutes of semi-awkward me on the phone, I had booked a job.
A couple days later, I’m on this set with an amazing crew and having a kick-ass (short) day and I can’t help but think how close I was to not being there all because I freak out about having to make a phone call. And on the flip side of that, I was also amazed that my next decent paycheck is a result of a simply just picking up the phone.
I know this may seem like a silly blog post (“A.J. puts in a phone call and books a job” isn’t exactly a thrilling tagline) but I guess it also goes to show that the simplest actions can have great rewards. And when that action is somewhat of a personal phobia, getting over that hurdle can make the benefits even that much sweeter.
*In a purely professional sense. No Mom wanting grandkids matchmaking here.