On my first show, I was copying blue crew lists, and the corner of page two kept curling in the copier, resulting in a tiny black smudge appeared on everybody’s crew lists.
The secretary flipped through a handful of them, then gave them all back to me. “Do them again,” he said. “Figure out a way to get the smudge out.”
I shuffled back to the copy room, annoyed that I had to do this laborious task again (essentially just load the copier and push the big green button). Who cares about one tiny, little smudge? Weren’t they GOOD ENOUGH?
No. They weren’t.
I see now why production offices sweat the small stuff.
Because it’s the “small stuff” that the higher-ups complain about. A show can go $10,000,000 over budget. No sweat. But that same show runs out of Cliff Bars, and Joe Buck the EP goes on a war path.
Half the crew up and quits. NBD. It’s L.A. We’ll find replacements. But if there’s a blank page mysteriously inserted in the middle of the shooting schedule, ALL HELL HAS BROKEN LOOSE!
So now, I sweat the smudges, because of the perception that it creates. If we distro those smudged pages, then we get labeled as “lazy.” And a few shows down the road, someone is going to recommend me for a job that I’m totally qualified for, but the UPM or the AD or the Coordinator is going to wrinkle their nose and shake their head and say, “No. He’s lazy.”
No, sir. I’ll spend the extra minute now, re-copying those crew lists, to add a few years to my career. No problemo.