Sep 2, 2008

A Gift? Really?

The best that I usually ever hope for at the end of a commercial shoot is a "Thank you" or "Good job!".

But, last Friday during the last hour of the last day of a five-day commercial job the production coordinator walked up to me and gave me a GIFT! And...wait for it...


I stood there in slack-jawed, bug-eyed shock. I didn't know what to say.

For those of you wondering why this is so amazing, in 16 years of film I have NEVER had anyone in the commercial world give me a gift. NEVER. I've never even heard about it happening to anybody else.

The client gave each crew member a gift card to Caribou Coffee and a logo pen from their company (a really nice pen, not a cheapo pen.....actual gift shown in photo).


Now, this is the Internet and you can't hear the sound of my voice, but let me assure you this isn't sarcasm. This is genuine, mouth agape, "I'm so glad I got up this morning" amazement and gratitude. Really, I know it's not much, but wow. I acted like she just handed me the keys to a Lexus. And since I was the first to receive said gift, it was fun to watch the reactions of the rest of the crew. Everyone was stupefied yet grateful. Making sure to thank the client on the way out.

I left that job, not only loving the production but also the client. Gosh thanks, it's nice to know our work is appreciated!

Oh, and I got my day rate too. I LOVE THESE GUYS!

Has this ever happened to anybody else?


Nathan said...

I got my Private Parts boxer shorts. (And more...that was a joke).

Got my Six Wives of Henry Lefay do-rag. (Another joke, but no more loot.)

Ages and ages ago, I got a tee-shirt that said, "I worked on God's Payroll" One day of hearing "Amen Brother" convinced me to never wear it again. (God's Payroll was a working title and I have no idea what name it was released under.)

I've never ever ever heard of a commercial giving anybody squat. Good on ya!

anonymousassistant said...

See, this is why crew gifts are so important. If you ever work for these guys again, are you ever going to complain on set?

The Grip Works said...

A director gave me an Ipod on a movie, and a producer gave me a Leica Disto on another one. The health and safety officer gave me a harness ??!! on The Bourne Supremacy. But no client ever gave me a ballpen on a commercial. Most clients dont really believe the crew does anything very much on most shoots, and I dont think they really see anything apart from their product, much less the Grips !!

Michael Taylor said...

In nearly twenty years of doing commercials, all I can remember getting were a few T shirts and baseball caps emblazoned with the client company's logo.

Then again, they were paying me a lot more than I deserved (and a whole lot more than I get now...)so I had no complaints.

Fast-forward to the world of television, where the gifts flow at Christmas and the end of every season -- if you're on the regular crew of a hit show. When I worked on "Will and Grace" (as a day-player, unfortunately, and thus not a gift-worth member of the crew), that crew had to pull their SUV's up to the stage door to haul away all the loot. Mac laptops, Ipods, digital video cameras, baskets of imported wine and cheese -- and money, too, in the form of pre-paid AMEX cards.

Me? I got a bag of candy -- but it was very good candy...

Even on non-hits, or 12-and-out flops, the crew usually gets something halfway decent: a fleece jacket or leather overnght bag. It ain't much, but helps take the sting out of working for scale.

Treasure that pen...

RJ said...

Well, I was on a TV show that was being sponsored by Reebok and they gave everyone on the crew a new pair because someone was apparently driven crazy by seeing people show up everyday in other-branded shoes. Not quite the same thing, but I'll take it.


Anonymous said...

During race week in Daytona a few years ago our commercial crew was put up in the closest hotel to the track with vacancies, which was 25 miles away. Everyone stayed there including clients and above-the-lines and it was a dump. But because the misery was shared by all, there were no complaints. A few weeks later I received a $50 iTunes gift card in the mail from the production company with an original card in the shape of a room serivce tag. Creative. Nice. Over the years I've been given T-shirts, canvas bags and the client's product on commercial shoots - but it is rare.

The worst swag ever (worse than none at all) was from a director of a small feature. Average 70 set-ups a day with 3 cameras. Real ball buster. On wrap day the director walked around with a small cardboard from which he was handing out #2 pencils etched with the name of the movie. He thought it funny. We did not. In an ironic twist, when we did a week of re-shoots a few months later, he had another box of pencils. These had the name of the film and "re-shoots". For some reason, that time it was funny.

Scripty said...

Thanks guys! Great comments! I will cherish my new pen!

Nathan-I've becoming a devoted reader of your blog...funny!

Anon Assist...if only more productions thought that way

Grip works...ipod is a good gift!

Michael...I like candy too!

rj: I think all clients should do that, don't they realize we're consumers too?

Anonymous...tell me it isn't true PENCILS! You've got to be kidding! That's the worst I've ever heard!

Melissa said...

wow! I've never gotten a gift on a shoot. Of course, the majority of my work has been documentary. Usually animal surgeries. I don't think I want the gift they might give! (esp after that leg amputation)

Aparna said...

I've always got gifts from features, TV series and mini-series but never from a commercial. I don't know of anyone who has, either... So, yeah, treasure that gift. It's very rare that the client is not a total, raving lunatic.

Scripty said...

Aparna- So very true...lunatic's all right