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The Most Important Person on Set

I’ve complained about the camera department before, but just last week, an operator managed to reach below my already low expectations of civil behavior.

My set counterpart was passing out prelim call sheets to department heads. Since we were rolling at the time, the PA went around to the “soft crew” first– hair, make-up, costume. At cut, he worked his way into the set, hitting the gaffer and key grip before eventually reaching the camera operator.

Suddenly, the camera op started yelling. (I know this, because I could hear him from the production office.) “I’m the most important person on the set! I’m more important than the DP! I’m more important than the director!”

I asked the PA later what the deal was. He said the operator was angry that he didn’t get the prelim before anyone else. Astonishingly, this outburst did not get the operator fired.

Later in the week, though, a camera assistant quit, and he took his 2nd with him, because of this operator. Guys in the camera department are often jerks and bullies, and ACs are used to putting up with shit. It would take a lot to get an AC to quit, especially now.

Because I’m not on set, I don’t know the specifics of what happened, but this operator must be a colossal dick.

Why are guys like that allowed to have a job, when I know so many nice, competent people out of work?

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5 Responses

  1. Everybody on a set is needed. Everybody has a job that needs to be done. Everybody is a pro on what they are doing.

    So, his outburst was cocky and out of the map.

    But when you say “astonishingly, this outburst did not get the operator fired” I get a little scared.

    Everybody must also be allowed to have an own opinion, a freedom of speech and by all means a bad day.

    If the guy is hard to work with, fine, he isn’t likely to get more jobs, but fire him becuase of an inmature outburst…

  2. The most important person on set? I know I am simplifying this a lot, but honestly, a tripod could do his job.

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