The Hollywood Juicer wrote about a director on his blog recently:
it seemed clear that he considered the camera operators and production support people (ADs, script, and camera coordinator) to be “the crew.” The rest of us – the juicers who sweated atop 12 step ladders re-hanging heavy lamps on a swing set after the production designer brought in a virtual forest of trees tall enough to block all the lamps we’d already hung (a nasty, dangerous task with very little room for error), and the grips who hung the pipes, set the flags, and moved all those walls – apparently don’t register on his radar.
I’ve noticed that most people mentally divide the crew, in one form or another. There are generally about a hundred people on set, for a decent-sized movie or TV show. Add in the production office, post-production, producers, actors, and various support crew (like catering), and you’re getting dangerously close to Dunbar’s number.
It’s just about impossible to know everybody, so sometimes you just have to pick who you know. I doubt many grips know the editors on their show, for instance.
This one AD I worked with referred to the “hard crew” (camera, grips, electrics, PAs) and the “soft crew” (hair, make-up, costume). He insisted that the hard crew eat first at every meal, to the point of cutting in line. I could never bring myself to do that, no matter how hungry I was.
A director likely has to meet with a lot of producer and execs, so I can certainly understand why he wouldn’t know a juicer’s name (much less a PA’s).
Of course, this doesn’t excuse his callous behavior. The EP on a game show I worked on used to go around and shake everybody’s hand at wrap and say, “Thank you.” Every single person on the crew. Sure, he had no idea who most of us were, and had only the vaguest sense of what job we did, but the effort was appreciated.
HJ’s director could learn a thing or two from this guy.