I’m bad with names. I know, I know, you’re bad with names, too. But really. I’m bad with names. Comparing your memory to mine is like a high school student who says he’s really good at basketball, then builds a time machine to travel back to 1991 and play Michael Jordan one-on-one.
I write notes to myself like Leonard in Memento, otherwise I’ll forget to do just about everything. If I need seven reminders from my wife to make a dentist appointment (which reminds me, I should do that), then there’s very little chance I’ll remember your name.
I’m bad with names.
This tends to be a problem in a number of ways. First of all, there’s a lot of turn over in the film and television business. I’m working on a new show every three to six months, and each show is a new crew of a hundred or more to meet. That’s a lot of new names.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I was in one of the departments. When you’re an AC (like I have been in the past), you really only need to know the half-dozen people in the camera department, the AD, and the PAs. Everyone else is someone you nod to while waiting in line for catering.
The problem with being a PA is that you’re there to help everyone, and so everyone knows you. And if they know you, they assume you know them. People frequently refer to me by name, and I barely know what department they’re in, let alone their actual name.
What I’m really afraid of is when I’m no longer a PA. I eventually want to be a writer/producer, which means everyone on the crew will know who I am. I really don’t want the crew to think I’m that jerk who’s too important to learn the names of the little people. I’ll have to make flash cards or something, with pictures on one side, and names/titles on the other.
Maybe I’ll have a PA do it.