Sunday, July 01, 2012

Things That Suck

In no particular order:

Directors who actually look over my head to ask the operator to "Go faster," "Go slower," etc. You do realize that I'm actually here, don't you?

Actors, usually under the age of twenty-five, who don't understand how the camera works. If you can't see it it can't see you. If you completely change your action or speed out of the gate and veer off on some wild course, it's almost impossible for the camera operator and I to keep up, much less guess what cockamamie thing you're going to do next. If you go from sitting normally in one take to dropping into a chair and out of frame the next, it just adds a take, and everyone who knows anything knows it was your fault. Someone needs to teach these youngsters that there's more to it than just the acting.

DPs who pick the dolly for you without actually having a conversation with you. I do not understand why they care which dolly I push. They all do the same thing. Wouldn't you rather me have the one I am most comfortable with? It's not 1975. Many advancements have been made in dolly technology and I may actually be better able to use one rather than the other.

PAs who actually try to keep me out of the set while I'm doing my job. Dude, do you hear the DP calling my name? I've done five pictures with the first AD. I'll tell him you're an idiot.

Being shushed. I'm not five. If you shush me one more time I'll flick a booger on you when you're not looking.

Steel track.

DPs, Ops who want to keep the slider on for every shot. Who do you usually work with? Where's the trust?

People who kick the track accidentally and then just keep walking like it doesn't matter. Either replace the wedge you just kicked out or tell me you did it and apologize. Yes, I'm talking to you.

Having to look for a stinger on every shot. No, I'm not going to pump it manually. It's your job. Leave me a stinger and tell me where it is. Please.

Seat offsets.

People who stand in doorways.

People who stand in front of the coffee machine. What are you, guarding it? Get your cup and move on.


Cables. Someday someone will invent a way to send pictures through the air. We will call it "wireless."

Location Managers who habitually find locations that are either totally impractical ("You can put all your equipment in this five square foot space, but stay off the sidewalk!"), or take us 30 miles outside the zone for a nondescript house with a tree in the front yard.

To be continued.....


Josh Waterman said...

Great list! Forgive my lack of knowledge, but what should track be made out of?

Onno said...

This was a good start of my week :-)!!!

Go on, Go on, It makes me less lonesome in the continous struggle....

(reg steel track, I assume D does not mean that he wants PVC-track:-)

Best track is made of alumium. However the alumium track is not this preffered in rental-houses because of its sensitivity for damages)

D said...

Onno answered it for me. My buddy Gil's GI Track is also a good alternative and is a less fragile. Onno also makes his own brand of track.

Michael Taylor said...

Love the list, even the dolly stuff I don't fully understand. I don't mind being shushed by a veteran First AD (although the good ones command silence with nothing more than a look), but when some over-amped twenty-something, wet-behind-the-ears, doesn't-yet-shave kid who has barely figured out how to use a walkie-talkie gives me a "shush," there'd better be a smile on his smooth, unlined young face.

Last year a camera assistant told me of a very good wireless system for digital cameras designed to shoot the signal and images back to DIT tent and video village -- but it's not a cheap rental. If that's true, I'd love to see those cables vanish from dollies and peds. Other than the cost, I don't know why this system isn't in general use... unless the signal might interfere with on-set cell phone communication.

And by all that Hollywood holds Holy, we can't have THAT, can we?

The Grip Works said...

Love it !!!
I always politely direct all camera folk to these posts when you put them up.
I agree with you about seat offsets ... hate them.
I also hate operators who rest their foot on the seat knob, undo it by mistake, come crashing down, and then blame you for not doing the knob up tight ... really ?? Maybe the next time you come crashing down it will really be my fault !

D said...

Haha. Sanjay. Some people are just born jackasses and when they reach a position of "power" it magnifies it.

acraw said...

Great list D. Very funny. And not. I addition to the people in the doorway, the people who will look you right in the eye and then step in front of the dolly you are pushing across the carpet. You know that if you touch them with the dolly they'll cry like babies that you need to watch where you're going.
I also hate that so many DIT or video guys will just waltz mover to the dolly, drop a pile of cable on the track and walk away without a word. It's not my cable. I don't care if it's there or not. Yet if I run over it, it's my problem. At least find someone to wrangle.

D said...

All great points Acraw. I am constantly running over connectors, ripping them out of the ports, etc. I don't care anymore. Great to hear from you. Tell your brother hi for me.

Unknown said...

I've been the PA who wouldn't let a juicer through because the set was locked up.

Although he got really mad, I'm pretty sure I kept a job because he didn't walk into the background of the shot.

D said...

Ok, let me just clarify this now before I get a hundred comments from PAs telling me how important lockups are. I'm not talking about not having lockups or keeping some errant juicer or grip from wandering through the shot on their way to the set. I'm talking about the PA who stops me at the door and says, "We're about to roll." I say, "I know, that's why I'm going in." They say, "I can't let you in." I say, "I have to do the shot." And we go round and round with me trying to explain that I have to actually work the shot until I finally just push past them.

A.J. said...

100 times yes on people who camp out in front of the coffee machine. Please take your conversation elsewhere. Like three feet to the left or right.

Anonymous said...

D glad i found you again .A few more for the list
holding the pogo for the stedicam
passive/agressive operators
"Kiss up-kick down" operators
summer location interiors with no a/c
Crew members who need to know what the shot is but don't (Buy a monitor for fuck sake and quit bugging everyone!)
Xtras who say they can ride a horse but can't
the pee-wee X-O head (thankfully gone)

tony-bear said...

and i forgot
using the crane to shoot coverage .....and it's raining

D said...

Great ones!

joel said...

I just love carpets....

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. That about sums it up.

Status Quo Fugitive said...

Arbitrary percentages to speed up or slow down a movement. "Take that 37 percent slower" mmm okay