Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Don't Know Everything.

The show I'm on doesn't have a permanent home during shooting, so we mostly shoot on location with a few days here and there on borrowed stages. On this particular week, we're borrowing a few sets from another show that isn't using it for a few days. However, to keep us from totally destroying it and/or running around with our heads cut off not knowing where anything is, we have a guy from the other show "babysitting" us for the duration of our stay.

While under normal circumstances, he's probably a pretty friendly guy, he didn't seem too keen on having us around. For one thing, the average age of our crew was much younger than he is, and I have a feeling he stepped into this gig with a little prejudice; thinking that we didn't know what we were doing and would cause him headaches down the road. That said, it probably didn't help that our crew consisted of a few sloppy electricians who left uncoiled stingers everywhere and didn't bring lights back to staging when they were done.

Anyway, the Older Guy seemed to grow more and more disgruntled as the week wore on. I tried to tidy up and organize the gear the best that I could, but seeing as how I was the dimmer board op on this show, I couldn't stray too far away from my station. Plus, everyone else seemed to be okay with the lack of an organizational system, so I let it go. After all, they were working the floor; not me.

On the last day we were there, the Older Guy seemed to just about had it. He was tossing around scrims and muttering about how we were mixing them up and not keeping them with the proper lights, and was just basically bitching about how unprofessional we were. Which, granted, was true at this point. I was embarrassed to be associated with a crew who seemed to have no problems working in a pig sty.

But what left me flabbergasted about his rant was that he was making it while he was re-globing a light... With his bare hands. And he didn't even wipe it down afterwards! Instead, he put it back into the assortment of working lights at our staging.

One of the very first things I learned when I started in this business was that if you touch a globe with your bare hands, you need to clean it (usually with an alcohol wipe) before turning the sucker on. Reason being that the oils on your hands will leave a residue on the bulb, and when that light heats up, the oil will cause the bulb to bubble and break like so:

On the top two globes, you can clearly see how they were grabbed.

So it amused and horrified me very much that this man, who holds himself in much higher regard than the rest of us, and has probably been in this business longer than all the working years of my colleagues and I combined, bitched about us being so "unprofessional" while he was committing a cardinal sin of lamp opping himself.

And since he has so many more years under his belt than the rest of us, I wondered how many times he's globed up a light without cleaning it afterwards in the decades he's been a juicer.

I thought about bringing this up to him, but decided against it. We were a guest on his stage and leaving a bad taste in his mouth as it is. It probably wouldn't do much good to have a young whippersnapper like me best him on something so basic as putting a globe in a light.

As the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Especially one as bitter as this guy.



Michael Taylor said...

I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed this same thing: a veteran juicer who damned well knows better, but for some reason has come to assume that he is now exempt from the principles of thermodynamics -- and every time I see that, it blows my mind. At a certain point, some people just seem to stop caring about doing the job right.

I recognize this, but will never understand it.

A.J. said...

Michael - What concerns me is that I'm not sure if he just stopped caring, or just never learned to do it the proper way.

It's scary to learn what kind of gaps in knowledge some people have. Makes me wonder what mine is!

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