Saturday, May 31, 2014

Beggars Can't Be Choosers.

Every once in a while, the town explodes with work and suddenly the Best Boy has gone through his entire contact list without finding anyone available. That's when he'll turn to the rest of his crew and say something like, "I'm having a hard time finding people for tomorrow. Do you guys know anyone who's available? Any one will do at this point, as long as they're available."

And this is where my colleagues all bust out their phones* and start making texts and calls, eager to A) please the Best Boy by solving his dilemma and B) throw work their buddy's way who will in turn, owe them a favor; hopefully in form of a call for work in the future. A win-win situation for the guy who comes up with an available body first.

Meanwhile, short of throwing out a name or two that I know the Best Boy knows but may have overlooked, I'll sit there and not even bother despite my track record of always being able to find someone available when others have failed. Being a perpetual day-player for the better part of the last decade means I've built up quite a database of contacts to pull from.

Why don't I jump at the chance of helping out the Best Boy, throwing a friend work, all while ensuring that our department won't be short-handed the next day? Because 1) I'm usually a day player and I don't exactly want to be that guy: the new guy who suddenly invites his own people to the party. I'm technically a guest on these guys' set, so I feel like they should be the ones to have first pick on who to invite into their home. 2) I'm also taking a risk when I recommend someone. If they're not liked or fuck up, it reflects poorly on me and any suggestions I make in the future might be ignored, despite me saving the day by finding someone available in the first place.

And 3), more often than not, the conversation between me and the Best Boy on the subject usually goes something like this:

Best Boy Electric: I need someone for tomorrow. Anyone. I don't care who they are. I just need an able body. Do you know anyone?

Me: Yup. I know a guy who's available tomorrow. Do you want me to bring him in?

BBE: Eh... I don't know. Are they any good?

Me: (Rolls my eyes and/or stares at him blankly.)

ARE YOU FOR REALS?? You're practically begging to find someone who's available, specifically saying that skill level doesn't matter, and when that person's found, you suddenly change your tune?

Okay, I get that they don't want someone on crew who's just going to be more of a hinder than a help, but here's what I find frustrating:
A) If it's so busy out there that everyone you know is already booked, chances are that you're not going to find someone who's the best in the biz. Those people usually get snapped up first because, duh, they're the best. What you're likely to end up with at this point is someone decent. At the very least, you'll get someone who can stack cable and push carts around for a day and you'll never have to hire them again after that.
B) Do they really think I want to bring in someone who's just going to be a burden? There are some people who I'll never hire myself and chances are VERY good that I won't want to work with them either and bring them on a show I'm on.
C) YOU. ARE. DESPERATE. TO. FIND. SOMEONE.  ANYONE. And guess what? I did. But apparently you're not that desperate because you're having second thoughts and don't want me to call him in. But oh wait, you are that desperate. But you still don't want me to book him. But you're still asking if I know anyone. And still don't want me to book him. Meanwhile, time's ticking away and all your other resources are tapped and you really need to find someone. Anyone. "Hey, A.J., do you know anyone who can come in?" "Yup." "I don't know... Are they any good?" And round and round we go.

See? Frustrating.

* Who am I kidding? They're out already.

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