People on set are busy. If they’re not trying to get a shot, they’re packing up and moving on, turning around, setting up for the next shot. Everyone’s in a big damn hurry.
And that’s fine, because time is money and all that. But sometimes you have to take just a sec to be sure you’re doing your job right. Even the smallest task.
I learned this on the couple of occasions I was a camera assistant. The 1st would ask me for a lens, I’d bring it to her. When I handed it off, she would look me dead in the eye and say, “Got it.”
Then she’d remove the glass that was on the camera, put it in my hand, and say, “Got it?” And she wouldn’t let go until I acknowledged that I did have it.
Eventually, I realized she wanted me to say “Got it” the moment I, you know, had it. She didn’t want to ask; she wanted me to take responsibility for the $4,000 lens so she could get on with mounting the new lens the DP had asked for as quickly as possible.
I’ve carried this over into my work generally. I carry this over into PAing, now. When someone hands me anything, I say “Got it,” so they know they can let go, literally and metaphorically.
Even if it’s not a massively expensive cinema lens, it’s a sensible thing to do. Have you ever handed over a pile of callsheets to the set PA, and thought they had it, but didn’t? You’ll be finding Day 3 of 8’s sheets until day 9.1
There’s a verbal equivalent to this. One someone gives you a message or instructions, repeat it back in the simplest, fastest terms. “Can you run down to set and get this callsheet approved by the UPM before we start running them?”
“Callsheet approved. Got it.”
One out of a hundred times, you’ll misunderstand what you’re being told. By repeating it, hopefully your boss will catch the mistake before you get too far down the line.
On a personal note, the number of times I wrote “Go tit” instead of “Got it” while writing this post is downright embarrassing.
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- There’s always a Day 9 of 8 on my show.↩