I have never worked for a large corporation so I am extremely naïve to the whole world of systematized bureaucracy. However, my experience on a recent union TV segment helped to illuminate just how
complicated layered things can be. So if you’ve ever worked for a big company you might get a kick out of my recent experience…
It all started with having to drop all of my props at the back door of the studio where a
mall cop security guard intrepidly stood watch, making certain we would not follow the black-clad stage assistants into the building. Once the boxes left our possession, from that moment on, we were no longer allowed to touch anything—anything—until the cameras were live on the air. So believe me when I tell you, this was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever encountered. There was a worker for every task: one to carry the boxes, one to unpack the boxes, one to set up the tables for display, one to carry the items from the unpacking table to the display tables, one to move the items into their appropriate spots for the segment and then one food stylist that was responsible for any food on the set.
Remember, I was not allowed to touch anything. So as the items appeared, I had to direct where each and every one was to be placed—step-by-step. At one point I inadvertently picked up a plate to exchange it for another and was abruptly told to walk the plate back to the unpacking table for the “table setter” to place it on the table. I was like an addict quivering to get her hands on a fix—I couldn’t help myself wanting to take control and just set the darn stuff myself. And it wasn’t like I was being a control freak or anything (okay maybe just a little), it was just that what should have been a ten minute prep turned into an hour of me trying to give directions.
Think of it as trying to get an itch scratched on your back… No, higher, to the left, now move the glass to the right ¼ inch. Ok now the plate needs to be centered on the charger. Great, now please put the freaking napkin on top of the plate. No, on top, yes, right there but a little to the left, and now the shower curtain goes under the plate but on top of the tablecloth—the shower curtain, that plastic thing, yes, that. It goes UNDER the plate. Yes, that plate!!!!! ARGHHHHH!!!
I understand that the reason why each person has a specific job is because if anything goes awry there can be no finger pointing. And I get the necessity for complete control in this type of environment. But even with the tightest controls, things can go wrong. Not that anyone noticed, but the name card that was supposed to be attached to the back of the disposable camera as a place card was missing. No biggie, I did what I always do—a hostess recover. I asked one of the set assistants to write the name directly on the camera itself with a Sharpie—no harm, no foul. But one would think that with 7-8 people working on this little tiny production the little things would not fall through the cracks, just sayin’!
I’m just happy that during my day-to-day content creation that I CAN and DO get to control what goes where. To think of a production without my being able to touch anything is tantamount to only getting to window shop for cupcakes! So here’s to control! Got any control freak stories of your own? Please share.
Live the moment,