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