Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm Not Your Personal Charging Station.

It's been a while since I've ranted about cell phones at work, and I really need to get this last part off my chest before I explode:


I'm sick and tired of finding a goddamn phone charger plugged in to every outlet I need to use. I'm tired of finding random phones plugged into MY equipment with no owner in sight and/or name on those very expensive and fragile pieces of electronics. It's times like those then I want to just rip them out of the outlet and hurl them across the set. It seriously fills me with rage.

Because if your MOBILE phone can't go a few measly hours without being plugged in, you're stupid and you're doing it wrong.

If you can't make it to lunch without needing to charge your phone, maybe you should stop checking Facebook every two minutes.

If you know your phone can barely last a day on a full charge, charge it up before you come to work.
And if your phone can't hold a decent charge, get one that can.

Another option? Get a spare battery.*

And if you fail to do any of that? Well guess what? You're shit out of luck. It's not my problem you suck, so don't make it our problem to find you a solution. As the old adage goes, piss poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. I've got more important things to worry about than your need to play Angry Birds.

If you're in another department, chances are we're running power to you anyway. The Camera Department needs to charge its batteries; Sound needs to run its mixer; Art Department needs to use a vacuum; Grips needs to plug in some power tools; Hair needs to heat up a curling iron; etc, etc. In that case, the power we run for your department is pretty much yours to do whatever you want with. If Costumes would rather use the stinger we give them to charge their phone than use it to plug in the steamer they need to do their job, that's fine by me. As long as what they're doing is safe, I don't give a rat's ass what they do with it. If they ask nicely, I'll even give them a cube tap so they can do both at the same time.

Now, with all that said, most of us in the electrical department aren't assholes. If for some reason or another, you're still in need of a place to plug in your phone, all you have to do is ASK AN ELECTRICIAN. Not a P.A., not a Grip, not an A.D., but a person who's actually responsible for the power used on set. We're usually pretty accommodating and will either direct you to the nearest possible option or get back to you in a few minutes after we're done running around lighting the next scene. And on that note, if we're unavailable to assist you in your dying phone emergency right that second, don't act like an entitled ass and plug it in anywhere you please anyway. Having a dead cell phone rarely constitutes as an emergency, so just wait five minutes. Consider it a practice in patience, which no one seems to have these days.

If, for some special, twisted, godforsaken reason, none of the above can be applied to you and you MUST plug in your phone RIGHT THIS SECOND, for the love of cupcakes, whatever you do, don't plug it into a lunchbox

Because do you know what they're often referred to as? Drag-outs. As in, we drag them out to wherever we need them. Which is why you often see lunchboxes sitting on nice piles of cable, all hooked up to the d-box, powered up and ready to go. It's so we don't waste any time. If we suddenly need power on the other side of that door when we're setting up for the turn around, all we have to do is drag the pre-connected lunchbox over there and BAM!, we're ready to go. The only problem is, we can't do that if there's six cell phones plugged into it.

And I'm guessing if one of those is yours, you'd rather I not rip it out and hurl it across the room.

* I understand that not all phones have a battery that's easily changeable. In that case, get a battery booster/emergency charger/solar charger/external battery pack/thing-a-ma-bob. Or better yet, get a different phone.


Michael Taylor said...

Thankyou, Sister-Juicer, for speaking the truth --and telling it like it is -- with such passion and eloquence. Word for word, I second the motion.

Nathan said...


Niall said...

I'm having this problem on set right now my self. I've labeled some of the boxes with kindly reminder to ask before plugging in. Most of the crew is really great about asking but a few, that fucking few plug away. It's made a few tense moments where i have to rip all this gack out of the box and plug back in whats really needed.

If this continues a 220v luck box will find it's way to the middle of set fully marked 220v and labeled for people to ask before tapping power. After that tough fucking luck. The best boy is fine with action and even the gaffer finds this idea to be worth the trouble that it will cause due to the nuisance of people going all willy nilly with the plugging in of phones into our box's.

You can be nice for only so long. I don't want to break someones cell phone but when I have to waste a minute I don't have to plug in a light we needed yesterday fast; phone loses out.

A.J. said...

Michael - You have no idea how long I've been holding this rant in...

Nathan - Does this mean I've done the impossible and rendered you speechless??

Niall - The only thing stopping me from hurling a rogue phone across the room is because I know with my luck, it'll probably be the Director or Producer's phone that's plugged in. I once was literally seconds away from dragging out a lunch box, with a lap top plugged in, the full 100 ft it needed to go before a Producer popped up around the corner to claim his property.

As for the 220v option, I doubt it'd do much good. I'm pretty sure most electronic chargers are rated to handle 220v power since that's what a lot of other countries use. However, the same cannot be said for 480v power. Go big or go home. :)

Michael Taylor said...

Wow, a 480 volt lunchbox... a notion that never broke the surface of my consciousness until this very moment.

Just be sure it's genny power and not a drop from a DWP transformer. If you've never seen what THAT can do, google "arc flash" and prepare to be amazed/horrified...

Nathan said...

Nathan - Does this mean I've done the impossible and rendered you speechless??

I had lots to say, but since I'd never plug my phone into your lunchbox, the smiley was all I had battery power left for. (I get cookies now, right?)

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