Thursday, September 15, 2011

Advice, Part II.

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

This guy was impossible to work with.

He'd fuck up everything he touched. Talked to us like we were little kids. Didn't communicate his ideas with the rest of the group. And worst of all, he was one of those "I know everything" types that didn't know anything at all.

What made things even worse was that he was assigned to our group for a class project. And if you haven't gone to film school, let me tell you that there's not much you can do when you don't get along with one of your "crew members." You can't "fire" the guy because it's a class and everyone needs a grade. Instructor's usually can't give someone an "incomplete" on a project because generally speaking, it's pretty much impossible for an individual to make up an assignment that involves multiple partners (you'd need a DP, Director, Producer, UPM, G/E, etc...).

Anyway, so we're doing this one-day project and this guy's acting like an insufferable ass. I forget what it is he does exactly that set this conversation off, but whatever it was, it was the last straw.

"Get out."
"What?" asked the stunned, bullheaded classmate.
"I said, get out. Leave the room. You're fired." These words were coming from one of our more outspoken group members.
"You can't fire me. This is a group assignment."
"I don't care. We're done trying to work with you. Please leave."
"You think you can do this without me? Fine. I'm out of here." He grabs his stuff and marches out of the classroom we were using, slamming the door behind him.
"Good riddance," we all mutter, under our breath.

The remaining teammates and I all share a relieved look before we get back to work. Things were going more smoothly now without the giant ass in the room. We were gaining momentum, working as a team, and making up for the time we lost dealing with the jerk.

Then suddenly, the door opens and in walks our instructor with a concerned look on his face. Uh oh...

"Hey guys," he starts off. "I just saw [jackass] out in the hallway... What happened?"

The tone in his voice and the look on his face told me that he wasn't okay with a student not participating in an assignment. This is, after all, a film class and what is a film without collaboration?

"Well, he was being impossible to work with," started the Outspoken Girl, before she cited an example or two of the guy's bullheadedness. "... So we fired him."

There was silence in the room for a few beats as we all turned to our instructor to see how he'd react to our executive decision of excluding a "teammate." I was pretty sure he'd "discuss" the issue with us, saying how we don't always get to choose who we work with in this business; or how part of being in the real world is having to deal with people we don't like; etc etc. And then he'd try to mediate the situation before bringing our former collaborator back into the room and making us all play nice. I can already imagine the "I told you so" smirk on the arrogant ass' face as he stepped back in.

But what really happened surprised me and the rest of the team as well.

Our instructor stood there silently as he thought about the situation, then shrugged his shoulders and said, "Okay. You gotta do what you gotta do." And with that, he shut the door, leaving us to carry on with the assignment.

I thought it was rather cool that he let us go on with the project minus a member (I remember us getting a good grade on it in the end, although I'm don't know what kind of marks our former partner ended up with). But interestingly enough, the most valuable lesson I got out of that day wasn't how to deal with difficult colleagues or how to deal with exposure (I think that was our assignment?). It was our Instructor's last words that echoed into the room:

"You gotta do what you gotta do."

To this day, I remember these simple words because he's right. It may sound a bit trite, but there are some things that just must be done if you want to move up in this business.

I may feel bad about bailing on a friend's project because I got a last minute call to work on a bigger thing, but at the same time, the latter project will open a whole world of opportunities for me.

I may be tired and want a day off, but when a call comes in for work, I'll take it anyway because who knows what great things this job may lead to.

I may have to cancel on plans with a friend instead of giving up a work call, but this extra work will pay the bills for another day and thus keeping me from moving back into my parent's house, hundreds of miles away from this business.

I may have to wear dirty clothes to work because I haven't had the time to do laundry, but keeping up this hectic schedule will ensure that one day, I'll be able to take time off when I want to and not because I have to.

I may have to reschedule a dentist appointment I've had for the last two months and risk not having my teeth checked out for another two months because the job I'm on now is too much of an opportunity for me to give up even a day on.

In the end, I gotta do what I gotta do.

I need to do whatever it is I need to do to survive and make it in this business.* Some of it may suck, but they need to be done if I'm going to climb that virtual ladder and I'm not going to apologize for it.

And in order to finish our project and get a decent grade, we had to get rid of what was holding us back.

It was what we had to do.


*Ethically and morally anyway. There are some things I won't do for a job, if you catch my drift.

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