If you work in the film industry you know that most of the people in it have a healthy ego. Actually, you probably know that if you don't work in the film industry. Either way, I am no exception, and I offer the following recent job as evidence:
I got a call for an out of town job. They looked at my resume to make sure I had experience and they were impressed. They offered to pay for my hotel, give me per diem, and pay my travel expenses. It was for a big national client. Good! I like those jobs, typically fun, and most importantly I feel valued at the end of the day. (I get to feel valued, and my ego gets stroked)
The morning of the shoot, I came in ready to work. I studied the boards the night before, so I knew all the dialogue. First person I met was the production coordinator. She says hi and points me to the coffee. Great! I can get a jolt before we get going. As I stood there sipping my coffee, I noticed that there was no crew around. "Where is set?" I ask. The coordinator says "Oh, they're up in the factory shooting some b-roll, you're not really needed until we do sound." (note that sound was already up there)
Ok, NEVER tell me I'm not needed! I sort of bristle at those words. Second you are paying me for the day whether I work or stand around, drink coffee and look cute. Why not get some detailed b-roll notes anyway?
So, being the go-getter I am (read: doing whatever suits me) I ran up to the factory and stood outside the door (they wanted minimal crew in the factory) until the producer came by. "Excuse me," I said, "wouldn't you like some notes on this stuff?"
"Naw" he says, "hang here and I'll call if I need you." Hang. Here. I'll call you if I need you. Being he was the producer, clawing his eyes out seemed like a bad option.
I had been given cans/ears/whatever-the-heck-you-call-the-ability-to-hear-the-actors early on and as I listened I realized the talent was talking. Talking! Like with words and everything! Really? You don't want any notes on this?
Next time the producer passed by I asked again, "You know, they are saying some of the dialogue, don't you want me in there?" Pause. "Ah, sure" he stumbles reluctantly, "Yeah, ok." and gave me the special go into the factory gear (eyeglasses hair net etc).
Now I can finally see the set. The director and the D.P. are both shooting 7D's (small hand-held SLR camera for the uninitiated) and flying around the talent in a documentary style. Sound is working and no less than 10 agency are standing in the way. This is their idea of a minimal set?...What is one more tiny person going to do?
At the first break I introduce myself to the director and ask is there any camera notes he'd like me to put on the log sheet? He says, "Nah, no need, just capture some dialogue; that would be great."
Ok. Three times I've basically been told to sit out this scene and wait. I get it, B-roll, doc style. But then...
When we finally do actual agency written dialogue and I bring up an error. Director says, "No worries, I'm going for that doc style and we'll cut as needed."
WHY THE HELL AM I HERE?!
Yes, it's true, I'm making big bucks to sit on my ass, take minimal notes and smile at the agency drones, but really? For day rate, hotel, per diem, mileage, REALLY? Not that I want to eliminate my job, but at least ACT like I'm a necessary part of production.
But then I have to check my ego! If this were one of my first jobs I would have relished the minimal effort required. I would have enjoyed the whole day, being able to soak in the job, watching how everything gets done marveling at the technology basking in the fold of agency creatives. I would have left feeling happy and in love. Instead I left feeling frustrated and worthless.
So, yes it's true my ego kept me from enjoying the job. It's just that I have this endless desire to feel needed and appreciated, but doesn't everyone?