Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The hardest working people in show business...

Before I went freelance, the last "real" job I had was working for a high-profile movie and television producer.  He was an exacting boss, and he demanded a high level of work from the people in his company. People whose work was sloppy didn't last long. People who didn't hold themselves to high standards moved on quickly. Since then, I've worked as a consultant to people who make my former employer look like the easiest boss on the planet. I've worked with some of them more than a decade.
I mention this because a lot of people view "show business" as code for "money for nothing."  And you know, when you think of the money, it is stupid money. But I have yet to work with anyone who was lazy.  Everyone I know (and that includes the producers) work hard for their money.
I mention this because I've just gotten back from a trip that was arranged by a corporate travel planner. The firm works as a contractor in a state three time zones away from the company that uses their services. that meant that when i had a problem at 7:30 a.m. PDT, I couldn't contact the travel planner, who didn't come into her office until 12:30 EDT. 
I called anyway, hoping to reach one of her colleagues. There is no direct line.  You have to go through an automated call system that will only direct you to an actual person after four or five tries to override the system.
And if you're disconnected because you're on a cell on a mountain in LA on your way to the airport for a flight you're not going to make, you have to start the process all over again...
I received my itinerary at 8:30 a.m. yesterday, along with confirmations of my flight and a link to print the boarding pass.  I had left for the airport 90 minutes earlier. My traveling companion DID receive his info and was on the 9:15 flight I had been booked for.
I mention this, not to bust the travel agent for being sloppy. (I could have emailed her about the itinerary and didn't,)  I mention it because in my former life as a development executive, any one of about five missteps made by the travel planner would have cost her her job.
A young assistant at an agency once screwed up and sent a character actor to our offices when a meeting had been postponed.  The character actor complained and the assistant lost her job. And on our side, the assistant who'd moved the appointment was grilled as if she'd been caught passing Israeli secrets to the Iranians. "Was she SURE she'd changed that appointment?"  That was kind of ridiculous.
But working at a place like that, working in an industry like entertainment, you learn that half-dash is worse than not done. If you've seen The Devil Wears Prada, you know that the young heroine emerges victorious when she gains confidence and begins to anticipate her boss' irrational demands. Jobs shouldn't be a do or die situation. You shouldn't have to deal with the stress of knowing that ONE MISTAKE can end with your pink slip. But you know...
For me, missing the plane wasn't the end of the world, there are commuter flights leaving every hour and I made my appointment. Stuff happens. I deal with it.
But I've worked on the other side and am used to the way it's done in this businesss we call show.
Next time you want to make fun of someone who talks about how "hard it is" doing what they do in the industry, give them a break. No, it's not rocket science or brain surgery they're doing. But if you're relying on them to get you from one place to another without hassle?  They've got you covered.
And that's a job well-done.

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