Why Are You Anonymous, Anonymous?

Susan (or possibly Jo) commented on an old post:

for one who knows as much as you do why are you anonymous? why can’t you tell us who you are and some of your credits. Might give us more trust in you, your advice, your credibility to know maybe of your imdb page or … something….? OTHER than being anonymous P.A.

Sigh.

Judging by the fact that she commented on the last post I wrote about PA Bootcamp [sic], I’m gonna assume SuJo works for them. (I thought they’d given up on pestering me, but I guess not.)

Setting that aside, I’ll try to answer Josan’s questions in good faith. The very simple reason I’m anonymous is so that I can talk freely about my job. Just about every show I’ve ever worked for (including the one I’m currently on) made me sign a non-disclosure agreement. This blog is grounds for termination.

Moreover, I like to talk about the industry at large. I say things here that would make it very hard to find a job in the future.

So, no name, no IMDb, no list of credits.

This blog has been going on for a long time, and I’ve been answering questions for almost that long.1 I don’t think TAPA would’ve lasted this long if I didn’t know what I was talking about.

There’s also a faulty assumption underlying your question. Knowing my credits might get you to trust me and my advice? What makes you think I care whether you trust me or not?

This is a mistake people often makes about works of art.2 The reason you enjoy something may not be the reason the artist created it. I blog mostly because it gives me a place to vent. When people started asking me questions, I answered to the best of my abilities out of the kindness of my heart.

But if you don’t want to take my advice, I couldn’t care less.

This is something everyone needs to learn when dealing with people, whether at work or in the world at large. If you want someone to do something, you must first find out what they want.

Telling me you won’t believe me if I don’t give up personal information isn’t going to motivate me in the slightest. As I said above, don’t confuse your appreciation of my blog for my motivation to write it.

 

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)
  1. Well, okay, not me, strictly speaking, but still.
  2. Yes, among other things, TAPA is a creative work. cf Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud: “Art, as I see it, is any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction!

About The Anonymous Production Assistant

Yeah, right, like I'm going to tell you.
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4 Responses to Why Are You Anonymous, Anonymous?

  1. If you were selling your advice for money, SuJo’s request might make sense, but you’re giving it away — which means her question is hopelessly naive (and in that case, SuJo is much too innocent a lamb to risk seeking work in the wolf-pack wilderness of Hollywood), or else she comes with a more sinister intent. In this case, anonymity allows honesty.

    If I’d had any idea my own blog would be around more than two months after the first post went up, I’d never have put my name on it — but that Rubicon was crossed long ago, so I live with it and constrain my comments accordingly.

    And thank you so much for the “I could care less” link — I’ve been hearing that dumbass comment on sets for thirty-five years now, and it’s enough to make my ears bleed…

  2. Chuck Canzoneri says:

    Just to clear something up, I am an instructor at P.A. Bootcamp. Nobody named Susan Elder works for us or took the camp in 2012.

    I think your blog is a valuable resource and full of useful information told in a friendly, informal way. Occasionally we ask if any of our sign-ups heard about your blog and if they read the back-and-forth we had earlier. (Still comes up very high in a Google search of our company.) Usually there are a couple who signed up anyways. Often, other people will write down the site and look it up after Day 1. There’s no ill will towards you or your site.

    – Charles Canzoneri
    former Set P.A. on “The Office”
    recently finished the Pilot for “Mr. Robinson”
    P.A. Bootcamp Instructor

  3. helen says:

    we have heard much tapa about you being an “office” p.a. and not a “set” p.a. yet you give advice on how to do set work… AD’s wouldn’t second guess, “odd why would a set pa give suggestions to making AD’s days easier when they work for the APOC and POC’s”?

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