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You’re Fired

Shawn writes:

Great “Goldilocks” blog entry and a fine job as always. How often is it that people get fired over such contradictions, especially for infractions like ordering too much food. (I mean, who doesn’t like leftovers?)

In my experience, very few people actually get fired. That includes people who deserve to be fired. I think it stems from people wanting to be nice – wanting to give the PAs the benefit of the doubt. Firing someone is an extreme situation. Not only are you depriving someone of their current job, but you’re also depriving them of unemployment insurance, which – for people in this itinerant lifestyle – is equivalent to depriving them of their next job.

Most coordinators I’ve worked for are willing to endure a bad PA, knowing that their ultimate retribution will come when a future-coordinator calls for a recommendation.

I’ve seen two people fired. One was a costume PA who just didn’t get it. I’ve never seen such a level of incompetence. She was shy and soft-spoken to an annoying degree. She was also dumb and prone to idiotic mistakes. A few weeks into production, the costume supervisor told her, “This isn’t working out. Have a nice summer.”

The second person I can think of was a technician who was fired for taking photos on set. This was beyond incompetence. This was a direct violation of the dude’s contract… not to mention common sense. (I think it was Thomas Paine who wisely said, “A penny saved is a penny earned… and DON’T GET SUED BY ONE OF THE LARGEST CORPORATIONS IN THE WORLD.”)

Two instances in a myriad of experiences with epically bad PAs. Basically, your odds are pretty good.

(Of course, this could just be my experience. Feel free to sound off in the comments with your best/worst firing stories.)

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3 Responses

  1. I was just fired from a shoot after the AD’s placed me in back-to-back dangerous situations. The UPM declared that a PA is easier to replace than an AD, so they fired me.

  2. Just ran across your blog, Im enjoying it..

    I had to fire a PA once. I saw it from the moment i saw him that he was a liability to the production company. Pure stupidity…

    People dont realize how integral a PA is on set and how fast they can bring down a whole production… in my line of work anyway, maybe not in Hollywood).

    After enduring several BAD PA’s, I just realized its almost always better to travel the same trusted people over and over ( less PA’s who work hard and use the extra cash for their flight/hotel)

  3. Firing someone sucks (not quite as much as being fired, but almost). I haven’t fired more than 3 or 4 people in my entire career and the first time was the worst. I kept trying to say nice things like, “this isn’t working out”, or “I’m going to have to let you go”, and “I need to make a change”. The Firee was so dense he didn’t understand what I was getting at and I finally had to say, “Dude, you’re fired. Leave. Now.”

    Fairly early in my career, I was “let go” from a job. I had been doing some preliminary scouting for a feature that hadn’t been greenlit yet. The picture was “Director X’s Untitled Project” and it was a period piece set in NY. I was given a list of places they wanted scouted (and a synopsis but no script) and I scouted those, but I kept making suggestions about places that might be “more appropriate” to characters in that era. When the show did get greenlit, someone else got the gig. Eventually when the movie was released, I realized that the show was entirely autobiographical and the Director hadn’t needed (or appreciated) my suggestions about what was or wasn’t appropriate. D’oh!

    (In my defense, this was before the internet was so ubiquitous and I had no clue about this director’s history other than his previous movies.)

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