Friday, January 10, 2014

The Douche-Faced Gaffer.

It's the end of a couple of long, thankless days and all I want to do is go home.

During a time when I had no work on the horizon, I had agreed to work for free on the "passion project" short. Little did I know that as soon as I signed on, the calls would start coming in, and thus, I started my two day commitment on this thing already pretty beat up. Thank goodness I had tomorrow off.

...Or would I?

"Hey, A.J." I turned to face the show's Gaffer as I finished closing up the truck for what was hopefully the last time. "What are you doing tomorrow? You want to come in?"

Honestly, I was a little surprised by his question. For the whole two days I was on the show, this guy had been a condescending asshole to me. He kept "teaching" me things I already knew; telling me how to do my job; berating me for not answering him on the radio when his own volume was turned down, etc. It seemed to me that we had a mutual dislike for each other, so it was odd that he was asking me back when the two days I had told the DP I'd do were up.

I pretended to think about it a bit in an attempt to at least seem cooperative and civil. "Hm... No, thanks. I think I'll pass. I have too much stuff I need to get done tomorrow."

"What's the matter? You don't feel like getting paid?" he sneered.

Okay. Now he had my attention.

"What do you mean? I didn't think anyone was getting paid on this."

"Yeah, but tomorrow's an extra day. We were supposed to wrap today, but we have some stuff that still needs to be shot. So to keep everyone on board, they're offering to pay us."

"How much?"

"They're giving each of us [amount that's below minimum wage. AKA: It might cover my gas money for the week.]," he said proudly. Judging by the look on his face, you'd think he was throwing a starving dog a bone.

"Oh... Hm..." I had lost interest again and was back to pretending to think about it.

"Oh, come on," the Gaffer sighed, rolling his eyes at me. "How often do you get paid for work?"

I raised an eyebrow at him, wondering where he was going with this. Just who did he think I was (or wasn't)?

"I mean," he continued, "when was the last time you got offered [amount that's more than five times the rate he just quoted me a second ago]? These are the kind of jobs you do to get yourself up to that rate. You have to work your way up, A.J. You need the experience. One day, you'll be at my level. But for now, you should take whatever you can get, you know what I mean?"

He looked so smug and full of himself that I didn't know how to tell him I got paid that rate on a job last week. And again just a few days ago. And that working for free on a job wasn't something I did very often anymore.

And rubbing money in someone's face, not matter how big of a douche he is, just isn't my style. So I kept my mouth shut.

But just who the fuck did this guy think he is?? He's gaffing a student film for free. It's not like he's years ahead of me in his career. And did he really think I sucked so badly at my job that he just assumed I was still working for free all the time just to learn the ropes? WTF? There was just so much wrong with what he just said, namely, WHO THE FUCK DID THIS GUY THINK HE IS??

And the worst part? He spent the whole day gaffing while wearing Crocs. CROCS!!! I was getting talked down to and getting career "advice" from a guy WHO WEARS CROCS ON SET.


In the end, I'm somewhat ashamed to say, I took that extra day.*

* And no, I never got paid for it.**

** Because when I went to collect at the end of the night, Production said they never agreed to pay me. And the Gaffer, and his Crocs, were long gone at that point.


-A said...

This story gave me a tiny aneurysm.

Jesse M. said...

You're a better person than I am for not promptly flipping your lid and throwing your resume in his face the moment he implied your inexperience...though I probably would have opted for a passive-agressive approach of wearing crew swag from more legit productions.

Michael Taylor said...

Wow... to be insulted in such a rudely assumptive manner, then take the day anyway and NOT GET PAID is too fucking much. God's gift to gaffing should have stuck around to back you up or at least talked to production to make sure you got paid for the day. What an asshole.

I hope you're not tempted to work for that company again. They don't deserve it.

My other hope is that this happened in 2013 -- I'd hate to think it's how you started off the New Year.

And Happy New Year...

JB Bruno said...

It's not bad enough doing a favor, but then being disrespected for it as if it were all you can do, when I'm sure you've done more than he has, is disgusting. Sorry you had to go through that.

AD'd one day as a favor for free recently for a friend, but could not have been treated nicer or been thanked more. That's the way favors are meant to be repaid.

Assume the gaffer you ran into has issues with his own self-esteem, that this is probably the best he can do, and his way of relieving it was to make it about you. In the end, you know who you are, and when you're back where you belong, he will still be there.

Niall said...

I would go as far to call that man a C*&T. But that's just me. Not cool. You got years of experience under your belt. Last time I had a hack roll on me like that I left him swinging in the wind watching him 220 a 120 hmi that was his. It was real bright for a about 30 sec. You're much classier than I.

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