The Devil Is In The Details
I’ve spoken a lot recently about on-set etiquette and various things that have happened to me on a job but I’ve never really discussed HOW said jobs come to be, and how not paying enough attention could potentially land you in trouble which recently happened.
Now various agencies have their own different sign up processes and whatnot but generally speaking all you can do after signing up with an agency is sit by the phone which is awfully frustrating for the uninitiated and those who’re desperate for a pay-cheque. All you can do really is check in with them once in a while to let them know you’re still available (which I’d recommend via a professional, courteous e-mail. Not whine on agency’s Facebook page. No I’m not kidding, some do that) But when work does come through normally what happens is you’ll get 3 text messages:
- First one goes something like “if you’re available on such-and-such date text back with your full name and code” The code is normally an abbreviation of the production with the filming date which is also unique enough for the agencies systems to track.
- Later on you should receive another text saying whether or not you got the job (some agencies don’t bother if you don’t, the good ones do).
- Last one is to confirm the location details and ask you once again to text back you name and different code to acknowledge you understand all the details.
Sounds simple, right? Yeah… Well I still managed to cock it right up.
I put it down to “The Curse of the Regular”. This is what I call it when you’re on a production for so long in the same clothes, with continuity making you look the exact same for weeks on end, working on the same scenes and it’s like cabin fever where your concentration span slowly dwindles away. Like your mind unravelling like a tapestry being attacked by some angry kittens. God damn I love Bill Bailey.
So, being on this production a while the cycle-of-three messages are second nature and only really paying attention to the call times. So, having nailed the timing to leave my house to arrive at the studio bang-on the call time, being 5:30am on this occasion (NB:Uggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh…). Pulling into the car park I couldn’t help but notice the lack of production trucks. Or come to think of it, everyone else’s cars. “Huh… Looks awfully quiet here” I think to myself still half-asleep but awake enough for Capt. Obvious to point that out. So I look at my phone to double-check my messages and lo-and-behold we’re shooting on location today at a completely different location. And I should’ve been there one minute ago.
After a frantic search on Google Maps (literally THE BEST INVENTION EVER) I find the NEW location was only 20 minutes away. Luckily I had the 2nd AD’s number in my phone to which I promptly explained my situation and apologized for being a plank before heading off with haste down the country lanes.
Now just a quick note here guys: speeding is frowned upon in civilized society no matter how late you are for work. So please don’t think for one second I was breaking the speed limit to lessen the impact of the minutes past the call time. Mainly because I have a 1litre Corsa and ironically speeding is a slow process and lastly I actually got held behind the lighting-rig trucks at 40mph for the majority of the journey.
But seriously, when I got there everyone was sympathetic, albeit making a few jokes at my expense but I was comforted by the gent ahead of me in the queue for costume who’d not only made the same mistake as me but he was keen to point out one of the other guys was still in bed! So in hindsight, could have been worse.
So truly the Devil is well and truly in the details and if/when you ever get your texts/calls/e-mails from your agent, please do read them with care. Don’t let The Curse of the Regular get you.
You messed up location, yo ‘cs you didn’t read your text properly!