No matter how professional the crew, every once in a while, a cell phone will go off during a take. It's just inevitable. (Ironically, it's usually the Director's phone or the Sound Guy's, but that's another story.)
ADs commonly try to squash the problem by saying something along the lines of "If your cell phone goes off during a take, you owe us $10." Where the money goes to exactly, I'm not sure. Sometimes they'll specify that it's beer money for the crew or something, but $10 doesn't exactly buy enough to go around. And if the pot actually does grow enough for everyone to share, then isn't that kind of like rewarding the problem? (Again, that's another story.)
Which brings us to a set I was on not too long ago. It was only a one day shoot but the AD seemed to be taking his job very seriously. Before we started rolling, he made a loud announcement to the entire crew, "Turn your cell phones off! If it goes off during a take, you owe us $20!"
I rolled my eyes. I hate hearing "announcements" that threaten to punish you for something that's obviously an accident to begin with. I mean, out of all the assholes that I've run into over the years on this job, no one purposefully leaves their cell phone on a loud ringtone and hopes for a call during a take. Usually, when one does go off during a take, the embarrassment of everyone looking at you is punishment enough. They all know you did something bad, you know you did something bad, everyone learns a lesson, double checks their phone and moves on.
"Yeah, that's right. $20! And I'm serious too!" continued the all important AD.
My Best Boy and I shared a look. "Sure," I muttered under my breath, "He can take it out of my pay."
My boss choked back a laugh.
Because you see, we were working on their shoot for free as a favor for a friend on a student film.
So not only did the AD threaten to fine people if their cell phone accidentally went off, he made the threat to a bunch of people who were donating their time and skill to a project, of most of which were students who don't have a lot of cash to begin with anyway.
Saddly, this isn't the first time I've heard this threat on a freebie show. I know that sometimes, it's the AD's job to be an asshole. But I also think that sometimes, they need to take a look at the situation and realize that not all of their usual tactics will apply here. And when you have people who gave up their day off to work on this project pro bono, I think it's also important to not be a dick to them.