Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

So tell me… Do you feel lucky?

Once again today, we were shooting in a small set with only one entrance.

Generally, everyone tries to keep out of the doorway, because no one wants to obstruct someone else from getting in. It’s a very complicated dance, but we manage to do it and make it look easy somehow.


The one guy (I think he was either a producer or a network exec) who would refuse to move and then stare balefully at whomever was trying to get by- as if daring us pathetic drones to challenge his mightiness. He did it to us, grip, the set dressers and even camera (who normally don’t get quite as much shit as the rest of us).

So – if you happen to be someone who thinks that refusing to move out of the door into the set we’re lighting is some way of reminding us that you’re important, remember this:

If – while you’re trying to show me how inconsequential I am by not moving out of my way – I accidentally slam into you with a burning hot light or the pointy end of a steel stand, I’ll get fired.

My boss will send me home early after telling me that I really fucked up this time and he can’t hire me until the next show, and while I’ll feel a twinge of guilt about my brothers and sisters working the rest of the day with a short crew, I’ll have the afternoon off.

I’ll go to the gym, have lunch with a friend, maybe see a movie. Then, when I come home, I’ll make a few phone calls and be working on another show the next day. Plus, I’ll have a really, really good story.

You, on the other hand, will go to the hospital and will be lucky if you just get stitches.

Really now, who do you think is the winner here?

Filed under: rants, Work

16 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    Well, because I enjoy it when you tell stories like this…

    Me! it’s ME! I’M the winner!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I fucking hate the clueless

  3. Anonymous says:

    Go Peggy! Accidents happen, but it is just rock and roll!

    Hope the other show is much better to you!

  4. Anonymous says:

    i said move.

  5. Peggy Archer says:

    The “I said move” reference is from the last movie we did – a colleague of ours nearly ran a director (who was admittedly bad about standing in doorways while woolgathering) down with a cart full of lights (I think he actually did bump him). After the director jumped out of the way, our colleague pushed the cart past and then said to the director “I said move.”

    Yes, he got fired, but it was – and still is – funny as hell.

  6. Chuck says:

    Happened to me too; mine was a producer. The stupid cow was in the way all day long, getting in the way *on purpose* when I’d come through saying “Make a hole, people,” and where I “screwed up” was when I called her on cutting in front of me in the lunch line without even saying “excuse me” and I chewed her out for it. Oopsie.

  7. David H. says:

    Wow, no joke. People who do that just don’t get it. You know, you’d think there would come a point where they’d be more worried about personal safety (or consideration for the working crew, for that matter!) than their Mightiness. I guess they think they’ve earned the right or something. But I agree, it’d make an INCREDIBLE story. :-)

    Since this is my first comment, I also should say I love this Blog. I’ve worked on a few shows and when I found your site and read all the entries, I kept laughing at how often my situations lined up with what happens to you. Keep up the great work!

    David H.

  8. Lost on Location says:

    There is the Story of the Admiral and the Asshole. Admirals and Assholes are the only people who stand in doorways and I dont see any Admirals on this Movie Set today.

  9. Charli says:

    That is too funny!


  10. netzie says:

    Oh! I know that guy! He’s the guy who has his assistant call the prod. office on Monday and demand to know Thursday’s calltime. He’ll call to demand a final callsheet at 4pm when we’re shooting until 9pm, then insist he be faxed at his office, home and Blackberry and he’ll STILL call the next morning and ask us to read the scenes working that day because he can’t admit he doesn’t know how to read a callsheet. Oh. I know that guy. You’d be doing us all a favor, Peggy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Be careful. The director/producer/executive etc. whom you “accidentially” slam into might not be satisfied with getting you fired, but also might decide to press assault charges.

    Iron Rails & Iron Weights

  12. Justin says:

    “Move or bleed” was a favorite of one my crew school teachers. His delievery was especially amusing.

  13. Mike80 says:

    I’m sorry, Peter, but no one will ever “press assault charges” over anything that happens on a film set. I say this not to flame, but to inform. The list of unimpeded activities I’ve seen include: Fistfights, wrestling macthes, one guy following another guy into the bathromm then cracking his skull against the mirror, knives being pulled, choking, rampant drug and alcohol use, guns being pulled (not so much in LA but in Miami…ooh boy),general shouting and threatening, you name it. It’s a lot more like a hockey game than an office. Now, this is the exception rather than the rule – 95% of the time it’s a very friendly place. But even when the other 5% happens, it is without “real world” consequences.
    As far as the doorway thing, on more than one occasion I’ve gone to my best boy, key, and then the 1st AD (who is ultimately responsible for the dorways remaining clear) and let them know that I no longer consider the safety of others to be a priority, since they will not get out of my way. Then they have the option to either do something,send me home, or risk an accident. Like you say, either way I win. And yes, I have no trouble finding work.
    Keep up the great blogging.

  14. Rod says:


    (PS — Anyone? I’m a Script Coordinator looking for work. Thanks.)

  15. Steve says:

    We once had it so bad that organized a protest where they would call in first team and we made sure that crew was standing in the doorway and would impede their progress to set. We made our point really well and it got the A.D. to have a P.A. police the doorways during set-ups.

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