On Screen

(First, I’d like to point you to an amusing post on Amanda’s website, about how soon you forget what it’s like to be young and poor.)

In most offices, there are enough binders to create a replica of Stonehenge entirely from supplies purchased at Staples.

My boss keeps copies of everything– every script, every draft of every script, every schedule, every crew list, every cast list, and even every memo. (“No parking in the East lot from 9:00am to 11:30am, July 8th.” Really? Do you need to keep that?)  And everything goes in a binder.

I even have a couple of binders on my shelf. One for resumes (yes, we keep them; no, we never look at them), the other for menus. For some reason, I had oriented the titles on the spines differently, one top to bottom, the other bottom to top).

Last week, my boss noticed: “Hey, did you know you wrote on your binders in opposite ways?”

I had, indeed, noticed. But… so?

One philosophy that was pounded into my head as a camera assistant was, “The only thing that matters is what winds up on film (or tape).” Nobody will care that I filled out the camera report correctly if I didn’t reload the magazine fast enough to get the shot while we still had the light.

This is the tough part about production. Almost nothing we do winds up on the screen. All the paperwork in those binders? Meaningless to the folks at home.

Now, I realize that there is a place for the support staff. Even though an accountant’s work is invisible to the audience, the crew does need to get paid.

But the orientation of the spines of some PA’s binder is so far removed from anything that matters, I just can’t bring myself to care.  Am I wrong?

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6 Responses

  1. I’ve started to notice that in the office, most of the time people don’t notice things until you do them “wrong.”

  2. I have told a set dresser once to change the orientation of the labels. But art department is in the business of aesthetics. It is aesthetically unpleasing but its your choice if you are the only one who needs those binders although it does give off a sense that you don’t care. But then again, why should you care?

  3. You’re not wrong. Those binders only need to make sense to you. If the way you’ve written on the spines makes the producer a little bit crazy, that’s just an added benefit.

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