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Think About It

Just about every time I post a new joblist, someone emails or tweets me, “Hey, TAPA, are all of these jobs for LA?” or something to that effect.

Also on almost every joblist there is a section with the header, “NON-LA POSITIONS (All Locations/All Positions)”. In big, bold font, just like that.

Now, I realize not a lot of people know how to use the phrase “the exception proves the rule” properly,1 but surely people understand the underlying concept. If there’s a section for Non-LA positions, that heavily implies the rest of the jobs are LA-based. Otherwise, why would those four or five jobs be set apart from the main list?

Now, if I was less wordy, I could probably have squeezed this admonition into a tweet. But there’s a larger point to be made here, and the point is this–

THERE REALLY ARE STUPID QUESTIONS.

I don’t care what your kindergarten teacher said. There are some questions you should not ask. “How old is the lead actress?” “Why are the pages late again?” “What’s your real name?

Those are impolite. Just don’t.

You also probably shouldn’t ask basic questions, like “How do I make sides?” They hired you on the assumption that you actually know how to do the things a PA is supposed to do2

But there’s a third category of questions you shouldn’t ask, which applies to the question at the top of this post. That’s questions with answers that you can figure out for yourself.

If the coordinator sends you on a run to Location Sound, don’t ask her where that is. Just fucking Google it. The UPM wants you to get Nathan from accounting on the line? Don’t ask for his number; look it up in your own crew list.

Hell, sometimes he’ll ask for Nathan, without specifying whether he means Nathan in accounting or Nathan in locations. You should be paying close enough attention to what’s going on that you know which department the UPM needs right at this moment.

I’m not just trying to prevent you from looking dumb (although, yes, that’s part of it); your job is to lighten the burden on those above you. Not just the physical burden of answering the phones, making coffee, doing runs all over town, and stuff like that.

You should be relieving their mental burden. Let them know that when they ask for something, you can take care of it. Think things through, so they don’t have to.

Questions like the one above frustrate me, because it shows the reader is not thinking thoroughly about her problem before coming to me. People also often ask me questions that I’ve answered long ago. I realize this blog has been around awhile, but there is a search function. Most of the time, I respond to these emails by searching my own site and giving them links to old articles, just to prove they could’ve found the answers themselves.

And that’s all I’m telling you to do. Find your own answers. Figure it out. Think about it.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Every time you use it to simply mean “there is an exception to this rule,” Cicero cries.
  2. It’s perfectly okay to ask me basic questions. I write an advice blog, after all.
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4 Responses

  1. If you’re in the office and everyone is going batshit because the crew has been on set for 45 minutes but can’t get into the location because the owner hasn’t shown up and the Producer screams at you to get Nathan on the phone…by all means, get him the one in accounting. 🙂

  2. Something tells me every blogger with a following gets tons of stupid questions asked to them. Kudos for being one of the few to call them out on it.

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