And now, a third edition of my blog-on-the-bus. Last time, we chronicled the numerous mistakes and embarrassments of working as a first-time Boom Operator on a feature. And we got the hint that my inexperience got me a slight job-switcheroo from “Guy Who Must Dance Around Actors and Camera With a Big Stick” to “Guy Who Sits With the Sound Device and Hits Record and Monitors Levels”.
Phew. Has this shoot offered no positive experience?
Plenty, actually. What’s more, I had a lot of fun through the majority of the shoot. See, in spite of all the hard lessons and awkward conversations that came with being corrected for some mistakes made four times in a row, I remained upbeat. What I lacked in skill, I made up for in tenacity — no quitting, no complaining and no defeated attitude.
Some words from the producer after my lowest moment, hitting the ceiling with the mic four times in a row during the most recent scene:
“Max, we all see you working hard, and we know you’re trying. Since it’s all handheld, this is a TOUGH shoot for any boom operator. We’ve listened to some of the audio so far and it sounds awesome. We know you’ve made some mistakes, and that you’ll probably make some more. We really like having you out here. Just keep it up and stay focused. Listen to your mixer — she knows what she’s talking about. I know you can do it.”
Specialized skills come with time. Good physical coordination, probably a lot more time for me. But it seems a positive, persevering attitude is among the most sought-after qualities on as stressful a place as a set. Trying, failing and bitching just bums everyone else out and zaps the rest of the crew’s energy. But trying, failing and recovering quickly makes you look like a hero.
You know what also makes you look like a hero? The bulging muscles you get in your arms after holding a heavy boom pole over people’s heads for two weeks straight.
Oh, also, I forgot to mention why it was such a good idea for me to bring my own headphones. The desert was a hot place, so I had sweat pouring down my face and ears and…I don’t think the sound mixer would’ve been very happy with me getting her own phones all soggy. Yeah, that’s all.
My bus has arrived at its destination. Time to make a thousand coffees til 11 at night.