What Did You Do Wrong?

Not even a week into the new season, and there’s already drama behind-the-scenes on my show. Sigh.

Does this remind anyone else of Hexadecimal from ReBoot?
Mainly the left one.

I was hanging out in the wardrobe cage, as I am often wont to do. Partially it’s because wardrobe is a department I know next-to-nothing about, and partially because I’m fascinated by the sheer number of outfits required for a TV series. Why is it that characters never wear the same outfit twice, unless it’s specifically commented on? How come no one has a favorite skirt or something?1


Our lead actress is kind of a diva,2 and she was unhappy with the choices the wardrobe shoppers had brought her. She was very vocal about her unhappiness. I could hear her outside as I rolled up in the golf cart. I offered her a ride back to her car (on the other side of the lot), but she just stormed off in a huff.

I poked my head in the wardrobe cage,3 and overheard the costume designer talking with the two shoppers, who had apparently been on the run together. In contrast with the actress, the CD is a calm, philosophical-type (another reason I prefer talking with her, instead of my rather yell-y boss). “What do you think you did wrong?”

The younger of the shoppers defensively replied: “I said [actress] didn’t like capri pants! [Other Shopper] said she did!”

“So, what can you do to avoid this in the future?”

“I guess I won’t fucking listen to [Other Shopper].”

Bickering ensued, until the designer finally calmed them down and sent them out on another errand. Then she saw me with my envelope of paperwork and waved me in. “Did you hear all that?”

“Yeah,” I admitted. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Did you notice something about [shopper]’s answer?”

I handed over the paperwork and shrugged. This is a good lesson for readers– the costume designer clearly wanted to impart some wisdom on me, and guessing what she was getting at would only interrupt her flow. Two eyes, two ears, one mouth; use accordingly.

She continued: “She said her problem was, she was right. And someone else was wrong. There’s no lesson to be learned from that. She can’t change her behavior based on that.”

“So what did she do wrong?”

“What do you think?”

I thought. “She didn’t buy an alternative style?”

Love this movie. Never understood why the title was misspelled, though.
You just say, “Bingo.”

“But how’s that different than saying she’ll ignore [other shopper]?”

“Because what happens when she’s wrong, next time? She’ll ignore [other shopper], and we’ll once again not have enough options. You need to reflect on what you can do, not on what others should have done.”

This is good advice, I think, for everyone reading. Don’t dwell on mistakes; don’t feel guilty or kick yourself. But try to learn from them. Assume that everything that went wrong will go wrong again. What will you do differently?

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. On the other hand, would you even notice if they did wear the same outfits throughout the season?
  2. Although she does bring eyeballs to the screen, so in the final cost/benefit analysis, I’m happy to put up with her nonsense if it means another couple seasons on the air.
  3. In case you were wondering, I did have a legitimate purpose for being there– almost every person in the department had done their start work wrong, and I was tasked with getting it corrected.
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