Good Enough

On my first show, I was copying blue crew lists, and the corner of page two kept curling in the copier, resulting in a tiny black smudge appeared on everybody’s crew lists.

The secretary flipped through a handful of them, then gave them all back to me. “Do them again,” he said. “Figure out a way to get the smudge out.”

I shuffled back to the copy room, annoyed that I had to do this laborious task again (essentially just load the copier and push the big green button). Who cares about one tiny, little smudge? Weren’t they GOOD ENOUGH?

No. They weren’t.

I see now why production offices sweat the small stuff.


Because it’s the “small stuff” that the higher-ups complain about. A show can go $10,000,000 over budget. No sweat. But that same show runs out of Cliff Bars, and Joe Buck the EP goes on a war path.

Half the crew up and quits. NBD. It’s L.A. We’ll find replacements. But if there’s a blank page mysteriously inserted in the middle of the shooting schedule, ALL HELL HAS BROKEN LOOSE!

So now, I sweat the smudges, because of the perception that it creates. If we distro those smudged pages, then we get labeled as “lazy.” And a few shows down the road, someone is going to recommend me for a job that I’m totally qualified for, but the UPM or the AD or the Coordinator is going to wrinkle their nose and shake their head and say, “No. He’s lazy.”

No, sir. I’ll spend the extra minute now, re-copying those crew lists, to add a few years to my career. No problemo.

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3 Responses

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  2. This topic could not have come at a better time than now. I go through this process at least once a day on my show. The UPM always says “well if you’re not doing the small things right, than what’s going to happen to the important things?” and I want to say him, my APOC and PC…go fuck yourself and lets see if you can even find that special green button. Respectfully I don’t say that because well all know me and every other PA is going to say okay and just do it.

    Lets take last night for instance. I was the late shift in which I have to stay until wrap for phone calls and to distro the call sheets and whatever else. Well, I don’t know about your show, but I went through 2 Shooting Schedules, 3 Extra Breakdowns and 3 mother fucking call sheets that need to be made and sent out immediately. I worked 3 hours after wrap to perfect these things when nobody else was in the office. I called my PC twice to inform her and ask a question because half the time she doesn’t even know what to do, so how do you think us PA’s do on the job. So, you have to think on your feet and for the time being it’s the best you can do…

    But wait, I still got my ass chewed out this morning. Why? Who the fuck knows or cares. Our early shift PA gets in before everyone and yet I still got chewed out.

    So, when it comes to the minor minor details, every smudge on a copy counts and every other tiny mistake in the world does count. If you don’t want to go home every night pissed, depressed, upset and want to smoke a bowl then just think a little harder at work and make that extra effort.

    P.S. Our script supervisor called last week saying the copier was broken because it kept shooting out copies with a black line at the top, but still didn’t effect anything. All I had to say was, you can’t feed color paper in the copier and expect to get a clean white copy. Problem solved

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