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Giant Tennis Ball of Uselessness

This post goes in the “Things That Will Change When I’m In Charge” file.

When you’re a producer, or a director, or even a department head, your every whim and wish is attended to by scores of underlings.

You want a crane shot? How high? You need crystal plates on the table? Six or eight? You want some coffee? It’s already in your hand, steaming.

It gets to the point where, I suspect, they forget that these things actually take work. They just ask for something, and poof! It’s there. It might as well be magic.

Sometimes (like, oh, say, last Thursday, for instance), they don’t even have to ask, and their minions will start scurrying around to resolve an issue that doesn’t exist.

The production manager heard the producer wanted a six foot tall, yellow tennis ball. Naturally, it fell to me to find it.

I made calls for half the damn day, checking in with the UPM sporadically. Would a giant baseball do? No. A four foot tennis ball? No, too small. How about an eight foot tennis ball? No, too big. What about an eight foot tall, green tennis ball? It has to be yellow, damn it!

By the end of the day, I had to give up. I couldn’t find it. So, tail between my legs, I went to the producer and told him I failed.

“Oh, that? We decided we didn’t need that hours ago.”

Great. Now I’ll spend the rest of the day making a time machine, so I can go back to the morning and tell myself to not listen to the fucking production manager.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind doing the leg work. That’s why I’m here. It’s why I get paid the small bucks. But what the hell is the point of having me around if you’re not going to use the work I do?

When I’m a producer, and I ask for a giant tennis ball, we’re going to damn well use it.

Eight years from now, when you’re watching a movie about the Renaissance in 13th century Florence, and you see Scarlett Johansson bouncing a giant tennis ball to Hugh Jackman for no apparent reason, you’ll suddenly realize, “Oh, that’s who the anonymous PA is!”

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