Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bus Is Coming.

My fellow colleague was given notes on the cable run we're supposed to put in and my job was to fall in line and give him a hand. Five minutes in, and he asks me whether or not we should phase tape the cables (the right answer is technically "yes," but this crew likes to run things a little... differently.). I say sure, and as we're wrapping the connectors in the appropriate colors, the Best Boy walks by us and asks us why we're wasting our time and his tape on phase taping when we could just do the knots. My colleague's reply? "A.J. told me to."

Uh... What?? You got the notes for the rig, which makes you in charge of it. Plus, you asked me whether or not we should phase them with tape!

Later on, I find the Juicer on set, clutching the tub of household globes, looking lost. I ask him what's up and it turns out he had just finished globing up some lamps on set and tried to take the extra bulbs back to our staging when he was trapped in by the sudden the wave of talent, stand ins, camera people, make up people, and art department that came flooding into the room. "Here, can you hold these for a second?" he asked, handing me the box. And soon after I grabbed it, I noticed an opening in the crowd and started to make my way towards the door, only to be caught by the Gaffer seconds later. "What are you doing? Don't take those away! Keep them in the room!" Like a puppy with its tail between its legs, I put them back.

The Juicer whose idea it was to clear them out in the first place? He just stood there, saying nothing.

We're setting up lights for the next scene and I get a list of what goes where. Juicer's supposed to assist and I give him a run down of the notes. Part way through the task, I absentmindedly set a Tweenie down where a Baby should go, and the next thing I hear is Juicer shouting across the room, "Hey, Gaffer! Isn't a Baby supposed to go here instead?" The boss takes a look over here (and at me, standing with the wrong light), and confirms.

Yes, I had made a mistake. But you know what, Juicer? Next time, bring it to my attention first and if I'm being a stubborn bitch about it, then bring it up to the powers that be.

Don't shout it across the room to the Boss and make me look like an idiot.

Don't ask me for my opinion on something, and then blame me for it when it's not to the Boss' liking.

Don't make me take the blame for something that was your bad idea.

Don't throw a fellow colleague under the bus.

Yes, some of these things may sound a bit petty, but little mistakes in the boss' eyes tend to add up. Plus, we're supposed to be working as a team, and singling me out is just poor form. I know you're trying to cover your own ass and make yourself look good, but there are other ways to go about that other than  making everyone else look bad. And if you are constantly looking for scapegoats for your own fuck ups, then maybe you should stop fucking up so much to begin with, or GTFO.

And call me old fashioned, but if I screw up, I'll man up and take responsibility for it rather than have someone else take the fall. But I also would've happily accepted the "we" defense from the Juicer. "Sorry Gaffer, but we thought it'd be a good idea to clear the room of our gear." "Yeah, it takes more time, but we figured it'd be a good idea to phase tape as well as knot the cables."

Leaving me out to dry like that though? Not cool.


Niall said...

Don't feel too bad about this crap. Yes it does add up but you have to remember that you also have a line of credit that's been built over the time you have done your job well and effectively.

We all fuck up, I know guys that have been doing this for 20 years and they still fuck up, it happens big deal. The less you worry about outwardly and internally the more pro you appear to be. Tough lesson but a good one.

The best thing you can do then next time he asks for your opinion or tries to hand off something like the practical crate with out direct orders from the op for you to do it instead. Don't. Let him swing in the air like he should.

Granted it's passive aggressive but he has to learn not to throw people under the bus, and own up to his mistakes.

A.J. said...

Niall - Yes, it's true that I have a line of "credit" per se, but I'd rather save it for when I actually do screw up and not have it go wasted on being a scapegoat.

JD said...

Love it. Make yourself seem more important by playing the blame game. That's real teamwork. Another person to add to the list of crew you never want to work with again.

A.J. said...

JD - There are plenty of people on that list. Unfortunately, I don't get to decide who I actually work with. :(

Anonymous said...

On a show in new orleans, we had a call for something that didn't make the slop truck, something the bestboy knew we needed, but never provided and not sharing the notes meant we didn't know, so couldnt make sure it was there. It was for 100' dolly push. Well we looked and looked and couldnt check the 40' cause it was a pass vanride away. The best boy kept saying "it's there, it's there! Dont make me come find it!"
About ten minutes later i saw him jump out of a van with a crate under his arm, walk up the side stairs and get on the radio saying "here it is boss, i found it." while walking the crate off the tail onto set as the hero. To wit the key said "everyone check the back of tomorrow's callsheet because one of you isnt coming back and i don't want you to waste a trip." sad thing is it happens all the time. And the beautiful 100' push? It got sliced and diced into a 10' push. Just makes me ask "did anyone get the liscense plate of that bus?". Mj

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License .