The Name Game

Last week, I started working in a new production office, which means lots of new show anxiety. New show anxiety means frantically digging through my room, looking for my social security card in order to prove my identity for my I-9, telling myself over and over, “I should really invest in a filing cabinet.” New show anxiety means Google-mapping the production office about seven hundred times, to make sure that I’ve found the fastest route, like I’m Henry Hudson searching for the Northwest Passage. New show anxiety means washing my good jeans and ironing the #1 shirt in my rotation – short sleeve, blue and white plaid button-down – so that I make a good first impression.

But nothing raises my new show anxiety level like the prospect of meeting twenty to fifty new people and being expected to immediately learn all of their names and titles (and the names of all of the people who might call them regularly).

Luckily, the new production office I’m in is brand new, so not all of the departments have moved in yet. But that hasn’t stopped me from already screwing the pooch. No matter how much the Executive Producer and the Art Director may share an uncanny resemblance to each other (and to Joe Buck), it’s probably a good idea to figure out a way to distinguish them from each other.

What if the EP really IS Joe Buck, using a pseudonym? That would be awesome.
My EP and Joe Buck: separated at birth.

The APOC on my last show made flash cards when she got hired, then spent a few nights memorizing names as if she were preparing for a fifth grade social studies test. At the time, I thought, “That’s a great idea. I should do that.” But somewhere between driving to the studio twice a day and single-handedly assembling an entire showroom worth of Ikea office furniture, I just haven’t found the time.

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8 Responses

  1. The best AD’s are the ones that give everyone a nametag on the first day. Truth. Make it a habit people.

  2. I tend to not recognize people out of context. It’s not uncommon for me to run into a crew member I’ve worked with on the street and I’d know I was supposed to know them, but couldn’t quite pin a name on them.

    A few years ago I scouted a Fortune 500 CEO’s office in the afternoon and later that day I ran into him in a coffee shop in my neighborhood. He’d been out jogging and said hello to me (by name) right away. In his shorts and running shoes, I didn’t have the first clue who he was. Awkward.

  3. Getting all the names straight is always tough. It’s particularly hard for a PA, who must learn so many names, but the rest of us have our problems too. On the first day of rigging my show, I got the names of the propmaster and his assistant mixed up. It was only after two or three weeks passed, and things calmed down a bit, that the propmaster stopped one morning after I’d said “Hi Jeff” to politely but firmly correct me:

    “I’m Dave, he’s Jeff”


    It took a full month for me to reprogram my brain to the point where I could keep their names straight.

    I’ve always thought there was something creepy about Joe Buck — maybe he’s a great guy and all, but he sure looks like a child molester…

  4. Augggh. The worst is the names of all the people who will call your boss. But eventually you will get it down.

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