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If It’s Not Where It Should Be, Then It’s Where It Shouldn’t Be

Things get lost. Like, all the time. Especially when you’re on the move.

Often times, we office PAs are sent to a previous location (or stage, if the crew is on location) to find lost items– a portable hard drive full of important files, someone’s glasses or cell phone, an important but small piece of equipment. I even had to find an actor’s wedding ring, once.1

The first thing you do is: look in the most obvious places, obviously. People tend to gather around video village and crafty. Crew parking is also a common place for stuff to get left behind.

But once you eliminate the obvious, you’re going to have to get creative. Check every shelf of the bookcase for that ring. The glasses could be sitting on the back side of a set wall. Maybe the hard drive is in the bathroom.

Once you start getting this desperate, whoever sent you on this wild goose chase will inevitably call and ask what’s taking so long. You’ll tell them where you are, and they’ll ask, “Why would the hard drive be in the bathroom?”

I have no fucking idea! Why would it be anywhere? We’ve already established that it’s not where it’s supposed to be; it must, ipso facto, be somewhere it’s not supposed to be.

I once found a director’s script in the freezer. He had spilled water on it, and thought the freezing process would prevent the spreading water from smudging his notes.2

First of all, how often does he do this? So much so that it didn’t even stand out in his memory. Did I leave it in the freezer? No, that was the last draft.

Secondly, and more importantly, I never would’ve found it if I had only searched places where a script might normally be left.

They say it’s always in the last place you look, and that’s tautologically true; you stop looking once you find whatever “it” is. But sometimes, “the last place” really is far down the list. Just keep looking.

At least you’re out of the office.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Don’t worry, he wasn’t cheating on his husband. He was just playing an un-married character, and had misplaced the ring itself.
  2. Would this even work? I’m genuinely curious. The notes were smudged, but maybe he got it in there too late?
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