Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Just Ask Them To Move, For Fucks Sake.

"Can you believe the hair and make up people on this show?" my day-playing colleague vents to me at wrap. "They've been getting on my nerves all day."

I spent the better part of the last twelve hours rigging another set and therefore had no idea what he was talking about.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, they've been in the way all day. They set up their chairs right by our staging and every time we had to bring in a light, we had to maneuver around them. So I started making exasperated noises and sighing heavily every time they were in my way. I also started giving them dirty looks, and then they had the nerve to look at me like I'm the asshole when they're the ones in the way! Can you believe that??"

I let a good second pass before I asked my colleague, "Did you... ask them to move?"

Another long second passed as he looked at me dumbfounded.

"No. I did not ask them to move."

"...Why not?"

"I was making enough exaggerated noises and giving them enough dirty looks that they should've known to move!"

Now it was my turn to sigh and give him a look. I mean, really??

You don't have to be in this industry for more than a day to realize that some people are just oblivious to their surroundings. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't need to be calling out "points" and lift gate warnings all damn day. Nor would producers congregate in front of the coffee maker at crafty when everyone else is trying to get a cup of joe, and the DGA wouldn't be fondly known as the Door Guardians of America.

Granted, I've had worked with various wonderful people who knew exactly when they were in the way, but I've worked with even more who had no clue that their chair in the middle of a doorway was creating an obstacle for the rest of the crew. However, as oblivious as people may be, I've worked with exactly none who'd refuse to move when asked. In fact, not only do they usually immediately move when asked, but they do it apologetically and they'll even ask if their new location works for all involved.

I tried to explain this newfangled concept of asking people for what you want to my colleague, but he just kept saying how he was rolling his eyes enough that they should have taken the hint and figured it out.

I can't help but think of how ironic it'd be if he went home and his wife was pissed at him, but won't tell him why because "he should know." Maybe then he'd realize how ridiculous he was being.

1 comment :

Michael Taylor said...

Bingo. I had a similar discussion with one of my fellow juicers on set yesterday, who was pissed off that "the vanities" had occupied a large space that we needed to store our carts and equipment due to the imminent arrival of new swing sets.

He was right, of course. Given that they have to spend much of their day on-set waiting to fix flyaways and mop sweaty thespian brows, Hair and Makeup bring their own chairs to work -- chairs that are much wider than the traditional directors chair to start with, and feature an outrigger shelf on one or both sides for magazines, cup-holders, and Iphones. Some of these chairs are four or five feet wide, so when our Hair and Makeup people set up camp, they form an impenetrable Maginot Line.

I went over with a smile to introduce myself, then shook hands all around before explaining our problem and asking if they'd mind moving -- which they were happy to do. No glowering, no dirty looks, no assuming "they should just know."

It usually doesn't take much to get people to cooperate -- just be nice, smile, and explain your problem, and they'll probably help you out. Granted, we work in a pressure cooker, rush-rush, my-department-first world that generates endless frustration and exasperation, but if you just make a small effort to be human instead of adopting the stance of an angry Work-Bot, you'll get things done without pissing everybody off.

So now when I pass by those same Hair and Makeup people, they smile and so do I -- and that alone was worth the effort...

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