On Facebook a couple of weeks ago, a camera assistant I once worked for posted a picture that I thought was amusing. In it he’s standing next to the camera, looking somber, while holding a sign that reads, “Nobody notices what I do, until I don’t do it.”
“How perfect,” I thought. In 10 words, that phrase encapsulated so much of camera assisting.
Remaining invisible is what good AC’s do and the price of that anonymity is a lack of recognition at times.
(Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not complaining. The pressure of being noticed — often cause you screw up — is already enough as a camera assistant)
But it’s not just camera assistants, many crew fly under the radar:
- The rigger who secures the set
- The art PA who is able to hide a prop perfectly
- The grip left for fire watch at the truck
They’re the silent heroes of the set.
And while their duties seem menial at the time, would you notice if the set fell down? If the prop stuck out like a sore thumb? If the truck got stolen?
“…until I don’t do it” is key in that phrase. It denotes a sense of responsibility and importance for the task, even if it lacks appreciation.
Every film production is built on the shoulders of crew members whose small responsibilities quickly add up.
You might be one of them. If you are, then you already know that this is why you have to love the job.
You put in the time and the effort to get things right the first time. You try your best to learn new skills and techniques to become better the next time. You trudge on not because you want to be noticed but because you enjoy what you do.
If you’re not satisfied with that, then by all means stop doing what you do and see what happens. It’ll get you noticed, but for all the wrong reasons.
What you really want is to make sure that
if when you are noticed, it’s for a good reason.
To take notice of what Evan does, until he doesn’t do it, follow him on Twitter.