The company you keep. If only it was that easy.

Typical film crew…

I find many times, what makes a good job, that is a shoot that you walk away feeling good about, is not always the subject matter, but rather the people that you work with. Kansas City is blessed with a deep roster of film and television professionals that are a pleasure to work with and know the craft as well as anyone. But being a jib/steadicam guy, I find myself working for a lot of out-of-town crews.  Two recent jobs make an excellent compare/contrast to the point I am trying to make. I got to work on the recent MLB All-Star game as a jib operator. I worked for the MLB Network and Fox both.

Film Set, Jib arm, Steadicam, Rental, Operator, Midwest, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa Nebraska, Camera, Director, Crew

A steady stream of calmness and information flows into my headset… good director.

All three directors where fantastic. Each one had a different cadence to adjust to in how they called the show and each one was very good under pressure. None of them lost there temper and remained calm during the entire broadcast.

My vision of an excellent director. He is also from my hometown. Go Cowboys!

On a different national sports shoot, I had a director who screamed, cursed, gave conflicting instructions and then would follow each tantrum with “great job you guys”.

“Damnit 5, I said 2 shot, why do you have 2 people in frame. PUSH OUT! I said PUSH OUT ^#(@*$&(#!!!”

Days like that make me wish I had Darth Vader powers and could choke him over the headset. I did my job, but my job tasted like poop. Mixed metaphor, get used to them…

It fills my heart with joy to be involved in pre-production. To have my voice heard on where to place the jib or how to design a shot doubles the pleasure of my craft. I give a deep bow of appreciation to all the directors and DP’s out there who have the confidence and insight to pull creative juice from the gaffer, steadicam op, etc…

When I am directing, I try and keep an open ear to good ideas that try and enter my orbit. When I am able to step back and get a different perspective, many times I will make a modification or change my mind entirely if I deem the new idea worthy, and it will not kill the clock.

Film Set, Jib arm, Steadicam, Rental, Operator, Midwest, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa Nebraska, Camera, Director, Crew

The guy behind me is a classic example of someone who should talk less on the set, but often has very good ideas. He has saved my butt many a time when I am blinded by the trees and cannot see the forest.

On the other hand, there is nothing worse than the nephew of the ad agency guy who is constantly trying to throw his two cents in. Don’t ever be that guy.

“Uh yeah, my uncle owns the agency, I am going to film school, I think your approach is all wrong to the shot.”

This picture has nothing to do with the post. It is a 1965 Austin Healey Sprite. I had this same car in High School. Like a good director, it was also awesome. My grandpa picked it out, he figured I could not get in much trouble in it. He was wrong.


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