Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keep It Neat.

I just stubbed my toe for the umpteenth time on a box that's been sitting in my living room. It's been there for over a month now. What's inside the box? Christmas presents.

Yes, that's right. I still haven't unpacked everything that I schlepped down with me from when I visited the folks for the holidays.

I think it kind of blends in with the other piles of crap I have in my apartment. I have towers of old magazines, stacks of unread junk mail, DVDs collecting dust on the floor by my TV, and other miscellaneous items that I've been too lazy to put away or find a home for. I usually let dirty dishes pile up in the sink until I run out of clean plates in the cupboard and I've been known to not put away clean laundry more than once. (I just grab what I need from the basket. It'll end up empty eventually.)

The funny thing is, as messy as I am in my personal life, there's no way in hell I'd be like this on set.

It drives me absolutely crazy to see unorganized crates of gels, scrims without a bag, and cables strewn about on the floor like a plate of spaghetti in the hands of a two year-old. If there's an unused double net that's mingling with the singles, I have to reunite it with its own kind. And don't even get me started on random dolly parts separated from the herd, a pile of sand bags instead of a stack and improperly soldiered c-stands with heads pointed in every direction. I can't even look at those.

I like it when things are nice and neat at work. Not only does that mean I know where everything is, but so does everyone else in your department. When the Gaffer calls for a cut of CTO for a tweenie, it can be found in the same place every time. And even better, there's no question where it's supposed to go when it's time to put it back. Nothing makes a day player feel as lost as when something's called for, and she has no idea where it might be because the carts and drawers aren't labeled (or labeled incorrectly). Same goes for the end of the night and she's asked to pack up said carts. More often than not, those things come with so much stuff cramed in them that things only fit one way and a if it's not clearly labeled what went where, it's enough to drive anyone mad.

Neatness makes things easier on the body too. No one likes to fight through a forest of mombo combos just to get to a baby stand, or dig through a pile of 4/0 to get to some 100 ampers. What really sucks is when, for some reason or another, gear gets separated across the stage/location, creating multiple, random, impromptu "staging" areas. Is that banded you need in cart #1 by the truck, in cart #2 by crafty, in cart #3 at the opposite end of the stage...? (There's only one way to find out, and it involves a lot of walking.)

And more importantly, when things are neat, it's a hell of a lot safer.

Cables criss-crossing every which way like streets on a road map is definitely a trip hazard. The same goes for lights with coils not under their stand (or even worse yet, corkscrewed across the floor) and sandbags haphazardly strewn about. Improperly stored stands have also been known to fall and injure someone. While I can live with the occasional stubbed toe from my own carelessness at home, it's an entirely different thing to get hurt due to someone else's laziness. Or even worse, if someone gets hurt because of mine.

So while I haven't seen the floor of my bedroom since I moved in and I have a receipt or two from 2007 decorating my coffee table, at least I'm neat and tidy where it counts. It's actually kind of amazing/scary to see how OCD I can be at work, yet come home to an apartment that still looks like I just moved in.

And FYI guys, nothing is hotter than a Best Boy who runs an impeccably organized truck/staging area. I once worked with a Gaffer who rolled up with his own gear and everything was so organized and clearly labeled that even his crates had (labeled!) mini-crates inside them. It was enough to make me and the other chick working in g/e that day swoon. Damn. Too bad he's married.


Nathan said...


Going back to your post about when you should decide this whole "film biz" thing isn't working out -- If you haven't begun to achieve some financial security by the time you start feeling an uncontrollable urge to wash the dishes (in spite of there still being a clean plate in the cupboard), that might be a sign.

This all makes me think you may be safe slaving away in the trenches for just a bit longer. [You didn't ask,'re welcome. :D]

A.J. said...

Nathan - Haha. Um... Thanks, I think?

storm said...

What's also strange that after working for years I started to get crazy organized at home. After a long feature is over I spend a couple weeks rearranging the house. Everything from my office, the kitchen cabinets, pictures frames, candle sticks etc..... It drives my wife crazy. I'll go on a rant about putting thing back where they go and she says, "ya know it's been that way for four months and it's been fine. Now that your home you want screw up my system. She's right. Clearly I have issues. OCD!!!!

BTW.. I really enjoy your blog (found it on Dollygripery). Keep it up....... and clean up your apartment. :-)

A.J. said...

Storm - What's crazy for me is that my apartment's cleanest when I'm working. Sure, I guess there's the "I'm not really home to make a mess" factor, but I think what really does it is that I know if I don't clean now, I won't get another chance for a couple weeks.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. (And rest assured, I'm trying to get things organized around here!)

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