Too much to do to put up with politics too

Well then. Here we go go go.


Are you the Production Coordinator?” someone asks. I’m not. But I’m picking up a lot of slack here. “What are you doing on this shoot?” another asks. “I’m general dogsbody,” I respond, because then they won’t look at me too closely.

I’m a driver. That’s my explicit job. But…

I also cast parts of it and I’m running with changes in the casting that are happening live as we roll along. I’m also dealing with pastoral care to the actors, making sure they have information as soon as it becomes available, looking after their comfort. I send a call just now that means 4 hours sleep for me. “Is there breakfast,” is the response. Fair enough. But that’s another hour lost. I can do with 3.

I’m trying to look after the human beings I’ve found work for. I’m bringing different units together, sorting out HR issues before they become issues, fighting fires. Sending calltimes. Working out of things have been forgotten. Looking after people.. Mediating.

Not just the actors. Many of the drivers and PAs. Also some of the managers and core staff. Lots of wonderful humans. I still feel responsible for lots of them, which I’m unpicking. It is full on, and burden more than any previous job is falling on me. People “up high” rely on me for things. I’m making those things happen. It often involves splitting myself into three or four. I’m getting better at it.

My problem is still the growing war between art and production, because I sit in the middle. Past experience of other jobs makes Art dept expect better communication from production, leading them to angrily unconsciously start setting traps. “They haven’t thought of X. Let’s see how they cope when they haven’t got it. That’ll show them!”

I’m trying to place myself as someone who can disarm these should-traps as they’re hellish. But it’s relentless…

I had to call all the actors for 7am tomorrow. Costume assure me they can get everybody ready to leave by 7.30 but I’m half expecting them to fail on purpose and say “well, we ‘should’ have had more space to do it in…” I hope and trust they won’t fuck us over like that though… I’ve got one costume here at home. The actor is on my sofa tonight. We have to leave at crack of dawn with him in full costume. The location happens to be just near my flat. By having him stay I’ve fixed a problem where nobody from costume would have been in to get him ready at unit base.

There’s a lot that hasn’t been thought of that needs solutions outside of the expected like this, but it’s all fixable if people just get on with it and seek to fix. It’s just ego all this “should” and delineation of labour. Of course I “shouldn’t” have an actor on my sofa. What?

After a morning of driving I took production up to the roof of a big store to scout angles, talking with all the staff despite our guy being off site. Then I went and organised the flow for actors into fittings. All would’ve been fine for the exec showing despite constantly moving goalposts, had one of my actors not had a totally legit panic attack. It was another production trap, and one I missed.

Costume didn’t want a female in that role. I had a woman shaped woman booked and they put her in man trousers. They split in the fitting because men don’t have hips.

Imagine if you’re an actor, you trade by your look. You almost pull out of the job because, you say, “I’m not like my photo anymore. I’m tubby.” “Doesn’t matter,” Al responds, of course, being Al. “You can be whatever shape you are. I’m not taking you off the job because you think you’re tubby. I booked you for the you I know.” Still worried, you go into the fitting, and the trousers immediately split. It would never occur to you that it might be a weapon in an obscure war. You just go to your trigger and panic.

I get that. But no. You looked fab. Production loved you in the costume too.

Still, the timing was hell for me.

At the crucial moment of show and tell, having rushed all the execs to get there, I ended up with a panicking actor running around looking for a not lost phone causing the actor after them to not be ready. But again, there’s a “we should have more space” thing. THERE IS NO AFFORDABLE SPACE IN THE AREA WE’VE DONE THE BEST WE CAN TRUST US AND BACK THE FUCK DOWN ON THE ACTIVE SABOTAGE.

I walked around for three days looking for ground floor space in Waterloo for them. I tried everything and everybody. It’s Vault Festival time. They wanted more space, yes, but we couldn’t find it because there IS NO MORE SPACE here. Why can’t we all just pull together?

I’ve only got 3 hours sleep coming, tops. I’m off to sleep now. I am still processing this fuckery between Art and Costume and the production team so I might have overstated it. But it seems pretty clear to me. And utterly unnecessary. If you think you know how things should be done better than someone, prove it by doing it better within the constraints you have been given, not by leaning back, folding your arms and saying “I could’ve told them it’d explode.” Maybe I’m just tired. I’ve been doing quite a lot… … …




Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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