…other duties as needed, part one
Production work does seem to have a lot of those, doesn’t it? Going into a production job often seems to entail “scope creep” meaning you’ll be asked to do more than what your job strictly defines.
Now there’s a line to be drawn here, and it’s up to us as professionals to determine where that line is on each job. On one hand CARING ABOUT THE SHOW is important, and that may drive you to give a little more of yourself than strictly called for. On the other hand, some producers can and will push you into doing extra work for free, and you need to take care not to be taken advantage of by such people.
As a wise professor of mine once said “Do not let them make you the victim”. It’s easy to fall into the trap as a young lighting designer of thinking you HAVE to do something you are asked for, because you want to keep the job.
Sometimes that’s true.
Sometimes it’s not worth it.
You have to decide, and more importantly know that you are MAKING A DECISION.
…and so I’m not misunderstood here and inadvertently put a chip on anyone’s shoulder, if you signed up for it, DO THE JOB.
Especially the assistant work, including tedious research, model building, cutting color, note taking, and drafting, drafting, and re-drafting. It’s not glamorous, but you should be learning something while you are doing it, and if you are not…you are doing it wrong.
To me as a lighting designer it means I meticulously take care of my design, my department and the work done there, and that I care about the entirety of the show. The above and beyond work I do is what I choose to do, not what is foisted upon me. Bitterness at doing work you don’t want to do without proper compensation is no one’s friend. Bitterness at doing work you don’t want to do WITH proper compensation is also no one’s friend.
If you are willing to take the money, be willing to do the job and do it well.
We’ve all worked with crews who are just there for the paycheck, and with crews who take pride in their work, their venue, and their reputation. I’ll give you one guess which crew is better to work with.
I think it’s better for people to think of me as a talented designer who does beautiful work and is great to work with, rather than think I’m a talented designer who does beautiful work they never want to speak to again. I’m funny like that.