Archive | April, 2015

Courtesy

4 Apr

    

I wanted to talk about something that, while being relatable to pretty much every circumstance in daily life, hits me particularly hard in both the broadcast world and on any set.

There are a litany of quotes about time that I will not get into here, but while it’s clear that we all feel different ways about time, there’s no doubt that time in general is expensive. It’s one thing you’ll never get back (even if you have the receipt) and, depending on the time of day, can be very costly. When I worked on A Haunting, anything over 10 hours was costing the company time-and-a-half, which adds up very quickly. But it’s not my job to worry about time: it’s my job to get the job done.

There’s a general feeling I get, from various interactions with the rest of humanity, that it’s better to do stuff quickly (perhaps it has to do with the aforementioned value of “time”) and this usually comes at the sacrifice of doing that stuff correctly. Even when there is no direct benefit to being done early, I’ve seen people haphazardly throwing cables into cases unwrapped, putting lights into cases still hot, and chuck stands into a truck with loose knobs and no organization.

Here is the problem: just because you’re “saving time” now does NOT mean that you are actually saving time if the job isn’t done correctly. That cable that you wrapped and threw in there will have to be unwrapped and untangled by someone; that hot light might fit in there fine, but will start to heat the case, which will eventually warp and possibly break; that stand with a loose knob could fall on someone’s foot, and the ten seconds you didn’t take to check the stand will cost someone several hours in an Emergency Room.

At the root of this is a philosophical issue–the lack of empathy that seems to have swollen into a tumescent cancer, that prevents people from thinking of anything outside their own little sphere. The previous paragraph’s “consequences” are all impersonal. In particular, the rental house (or the EIC of the truck or kit) will be the ones untangling, which will cost them time. The person with the broken foot might be on your crew, or might not be–maybe it’s a swing shift pre-lighting, maybe it’s the student who checked out the equipment and is returning it early Monday morning.

Point is: take a few extra seconds or minutes now to do the job correctly. Coming from someone who is usually the one on the back-end, dealing with all the jobs you didn’t do, it’s a much better way to be.