Day 4 – It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
Now unfortunately, I can’t really say much happened today. It was very similar to Day 3 bar we had a much later call time and myself and the gent I worked with yesterday were joined by two new SA’s who were doing similar roles to us. The guy I worked with yesterday, for the sake of argument and anonymity let’s call him Ray. Now I’m pretty friendly with Ray and worked with him him on several productions over years, he’s friendly, outgoing and pretty funny. Anyways we kept ourselves watching DVD’s on his laptop in the green room until much later in the day where we were all called up to the set.
Again, lots of waiting, then chopping and changing us with the scenes and at one point Ray falls asleep (in his defence, he was up at 5am, drove from Cardiff to London AND back again for other work before rocking up to set). As stated, normally frowned upon but nobody batted an eyelid. Even the crew saw the funny side and the stand-in was balancing tea bags on his sleeping bonce.
What wasn’t so funny, was when Ray was called to set, one of the other SA’s starting to slang him off to me. Obviously he must not have realised I was quite friendly with Ray. But it did make me wonder how naive and new to this industry this guy must’ve been.
Allow to explain: one thing you learn quickly about this industry is that everybody knows everybody. The guy who’s serving you one week whilst you pretend to be buying groceries in a fictional supermarket you may well see the next week, but now’s he’s donned a wig and is a knight in 16th Century England. Not that the pool of people is that small, in fact it’s enormous. There are literally thousands of people on any agents books but the strange phenomenon is you will keep seeing the same people popping up on shoots and this doesn’t even apply to just SA’s. Crew as well, especially and more notably costume department as more often than not they have daily contracts you will find bouncing around from production to production, trying in vein to make a living in this crazy industry.
So as I’m sat there, listening to the disgruntled snorts of how Ray “gets all the walk-ons”, I couldn’t help but wonder how he does not know that everyone knows each other and talks to each other? A few years back I was giving this guy a lift back to Cardiff from the shoot and he tells me he accepted a job for £20 cash-in-hand because times were hard (remember this). Now, even if you are a fan of a show and would give vital parts of your reproductive organs to be within the same postcode of a production, never EVER accept money cash-in-hand. Especially for fickle amounts. It undermines everyone who struggles as it is to make a living from this previously mentioned crazy and unreliable industry, but you’re also selling yourself short and should be reported to Equity. Now, obviously I told him this which the advice fell on deaf ears. Now what really annoyed me was the conversation afterwards (names changed again for anonymity etc.)
Douche: “That John is funny, isn’t he?”
Me: “Yeah, he’s a great laugh!”
Douche: “Yeah… Gay as fuck, mind.”
Me: “… I don’t care, he’s the nicest guy I ever met and don’t have a bad word to say about him.”
The rest of the car journey he didn’t say another damn word which was beautiful as Douche suffered from verbal diarrhoea and was quite frankly an obnoxious oxygen-thief. So, fast forward a few years and guess what? Me, Douche and John are on a shoot together to which Douche has the audacity to come straight up to John and act like he’s an old childhood friend he hasn’t seen puberty started covering the smooth surface where his dick should be. What makes the situation worse is when Douche starts mouthing off about some SA’s who put themselves forward for an orgy scene on a different production stating “Some people will do anything for money!”
Some people will do anything for money. Coming from the guy who took £20 for a 12 hour job. So, can’t do mental maths to figure out minimum wage, a hypocrite and a two-faced homophobe. Dear god I hope he doesn’t procreate… Again, he is probably dickless but I just pray mitosis in homo-sapiens isn’t a thing.
So for on-set etiquette, we can conclude that being a dick is not desirable trait. Be friendly, be patient and most importantly be professional. We are all adults, even if you don’t get on with someone still be polite and be diplomatic in dealing with this clash of personalities instead of bitching to whoever is in proximity like a stereotypical American high-school cheerleader whining about the other girls to make them less popular.
To make things potentially worse, all 4 of us are back together next week. Hope things don’t go sour, I’d prefer to leave the drama in front of the camera as opposed to behind it.