Wednesday, April 22, 2020


I had been in this business for a little while, mostly day playing, when I landed on this new show with new-to-me people. It's the first day for everyone, so shortly after call, everyone's huddled around the back of the truck as the Gaffer starts handing out start paperwork. After a few of us scrounge around for a pen, we kinda disperse with everyone looking for a flat surface to write on.

"Here," the Gaffer offers me a quarter apple. "You can use this if you want."

"No thanks," I reply. "I got something I can use." I open up my backpack and pull out a clip board.

The Gaffer just stares at me in shock.

"What?" I ask.

He says nothing for a second, then, he starts to smile. "Wow. That's some best boy shit right there," he finally says. Then walks away.

I complete my paperwork, start the day, and finish the job. Years later though, this short interaction still leaves me a little puzzled.

Before I landed on that gig, I've done several dozen different start packets and almost all of them were done by filling it out on the shelf of a cart, the floor of the truck, the rough diamond plating on the lift gate, a random set piece, or, of course, on a pancake, quarter, or half apple perched on my lap. And don't even get me started on all the times everyone in my department had to take turns because only one of those options were available.

So it only made logical sense to me to throw a clipboard in my backpack. I had a couple of them left over from my college days, so it's not like I specifically bought one just to do start work on, not that they're terribly expensive or hard to find to begin with. Plus, it wasn't heavy, nor did it take up a lot of room in my bag. It actually helped give it some structure and kept my tools from poking me in the back.

So why was it so odd that I carried around a clipboard to do paperwork on? I was a day player, who, like many of my other colleagues, started a new job every few days so I did new start work several times a month. If I had learned to bring my own pen instead of asking to borrow one, why was it so odd I did the same with a common writing surface?

Every now and then, this little memory will pop into my head. Honestly, I guess I could see where he was coming from since I don't think I've seen anyone else carry around a clip board, Best Boys excluded, but I've always wondered, why not? Why do my colleagues keep insisting on scrambling to find a semi-suitable writing surface that, more often than not, renders part of their start work illegible instead of investing in a $2, low profile, light weight solution?

While I don't lose any sleep over it, this is one of the questions in life that continues to baffle me.

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