Sympathy for the Departments

Every morning, the office receives a production report in the football. And every morning, the production report is wrong.

A PR, for those who don’t know, is a bizarro call sheet. Instead of telling you what you’re going to do tomorrow, it tells you what you actually did yesterday. It lists the scenes that were shot, in and out times for the cast and crew, number of pages, number of minutes, number of drives (formerly number of film reels), and more stuff you probably don’t understand and don’t want to.

The point is, all of this has to match the football paperwork, like the daily time sheets and script report.

It rarely does.

And you know what? I get it. The 2nd AD works loooooong hours, longer than most other crew members. It’s the end of the night, people are yelling at you over the walkie, you’re trying to sign the actors out, all of that stuff. I wouldn’t expect you to be able to add up eighths of a page correctly every single time.

Yet production coordinators somehow do.

I have never once, in all my years, seen a perfect PR come from set. That’s why part of a coordinator’s1 job is to correct the PR.

For some reason, every mistake on every PR makes every coordinator livid. “Gah! Don’t you know three and seven eighths and two and three eighths and four eighths and two eighths and five eighths makes seven and five eighths?! Idiot!”

Come on, show a little patience. I had to check my math on that twice, and I’m sitting at my computer.

What I really don’t get is, why does this always come as such a shock? Shouldn’t they be used to this by now? A coordinator presumably has years more experience than me. Where’s the pattern recognition? Where’s the sympathy?

An AD’s job is hard. Cut them some slack. When the short stop backs up the 2nd baseman, does he yell at him for missing the catch? No, he just catches the ball himself and continues the play.

And that encompasses my entire knowledge of baseball. No more sports metaphors for a while.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. APOC’s, depending on how they divide up the work.
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4 Responses

  1. In Australia we usually refer to them as a DPR (Daily Progress Report or Daily Production Report – same thing!) and they are usually mandatory and have a 24-48 hour turnaround. As a Production Coordinator, I hate having to do them because (like you pointed out) THERE ARE ALWAYS MISTAKES. ARGH!

    Sure, I understand a 2nd AD’s job is hard, but so is a Production Coordinators. AD’s work long hours – so do PC’s! And let’s not kid ourselves – there are enough quiet times on set where a 2nd AD can have a 2nd look through their work. The frustration is, generally the PC’s aren’t on set – things change on set – and sure, they should be verbally communicated but they should also be reflected on the DPR. We don’t want to assume that any discrepancy from the callsheet is a mistake on the DPR. The worst is when they just choose to leave cast sign out and travel times! It is part of their job to take note of all these details!

    Is it that much to ask everyone to do their job correctly?!

    Rant over 🙂

  2. And this is why there’s a divide between the office and set. The PR in the football is a rough draft. After working 16 hours with 8 major sections (or more depending on the PR) there WILL be mistakes. That’s why it’s a preliminary. That’s why the paperwork PA spends half of the next day going over it. It’s always easier to catch the mistakes the next day with fresh eyes.

    PS, Yes, I have had a few perfect PRs on some of my jobs, but I don’t expect it.

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