Thursday, August 11, 2011

Under the Bus: Thrown

 AJ over at The Hills Are Burning has a great post about getting thrown under the bus. I also mentioned it in the post below this one. Getting thrown under the bus, or the act of being publicly called out for a faux pas whether it was your fault or not, is a common but unfortunate by-product of an industry that uses blame like an engine uses fuel. I've seen it happen hundreds of times, usually for a minor infraction, and often the most inexperienced among us are the culprits. I remember several years ago I was pushing dolly on an Aarron Spelling series in Atlanta and  the sound department had secured the services of a young intern right out of college. He just generally kept the cables untangled and got in everyone's way. One day when we were shooting in a mansion somewhere in town, the mixer noticed a peculiar hum during the take. He listened for it again and after the next, "cut," he and his team went in search of the offending noise. There was much discussion while we all waited for a resolution. I was leaning on the dolly, minding my own business when I heard a voice rising behind me. "I was listening and it sounds like that thing right there!" I turned around to see the young intern standing on the stairs pointing, no, stabbing an accusing finger dramatically at my Hybrid like a scene out of Twelve Angry Men. After resisting my impulse to come over the steering handle and throttle the little finger sniffer, I patiently explained that the dolly isn't electrical and doesn't hum unless it's being charged. They later found the hum to be coming from a refrigerator which the intern unplugged, forgot to plug back in, and ruined thousands of dollars worth of fancy rich people groceries. Justice delivered. This is a classic example of getting thrown under the bus. An accusation made loudly by someone who doesn't know any better. Or, it could also be a case of someone letting someone else loudly take the blame for something they didn't do. Don't be that guy. Either quietly ask any questions you may have, or, if the fault for whatever infraction lies with you, admit it. In all these years, I've never seen anyone get fired for just hitching up their pants, stepping forward, and saying, "I did it. It was an accident and I'll try and fix it." When you run from any responsibility, loudly pointing at a co-worker, as in AJ's example from her post, you reveal yourself to the one who knows the truth as a weasel. And you paint a target on your own back. Believe me, a weasel won't last long. It all boils down to trying to make yourself look better at someone else's expense. And that ain't cool.
   I'm still on vacation but starting to get itchy. I did go in on Dexter for a couple of days, and I'm up for jury duty all this week, but haven't had to report yet. I believe I'm going to head to Atlanta next month and start shaking some trees. Write if you get work.


  1. "often the most inexperienced among us are the culprits"

    That's very true. And kudos to you for resisting the urge to tear him a new one and instead explain to him about the dolly. Unfortunately for him, if he had paid any attention to what you do to begin with, he would've already known that and saved himself the embarrassment.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  2. Hahaha! "little finger sniffer!" Classic! That made my day. And again, another lesson you've pointed out regarding this business. Keep your mouth shut unless you know damn well what you're talking about.

  3. Anonymous11:06 PM

    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"- Charles Darwin

  4. Mitch Reeves7:20 AM

    Excellent advise!!!.Danger is all around Rigging,Sets ,Trucks.I recall pulling gear off the Gate of a Forty Footer,while a Teamster was backing up a Stakebed [that gate was down also] to be loaded. He didnt see me, and I didn't hear him. I Just got the Uncanny sensation of needing to Move in time.