In Writing

I usually sit in an office.  Don’t get me wrong – I am very grateful for my job.  But from time to time it lacks a certain pizzazz.  And for a  pizzazzy woman like me, well, you know.

That all changed this past week.  One of my accounts bought a six-episode series of videos in Spanish and our company’s amazing video team pulled me in to make sure that the Spanish got done right.  We flew down to Orlando to work with a production company.  It was my first shoot (because, remember, I’m an office drone) and I wasn’t sure to expect.

I blown away.  We arrived on set the first morning at 7:00 a.m. (because… let me tell you about the long days.  You have not seen long days of being constantly on until you’ve been on a video set).  The production company had rented a house and it was already abuzz with wardrobe, cameras, lights.  There were maybe a dozen people scurrying through the house in a controlled chaos.  But here’s what I picked up on right away… everybody was nice.  There was a lot to do but no one scowled, no one made a snide comment or acted impatient. Every day they had to bring in massive amounts of equipment, set it up, wire it through the whole house, then break it back down after twelve hours or more and leave the house as if we’d never been there.  Every day they had to feed a small army throughout the day, tending to and anticipating every whim and desire.  (I could wax poetic about craft services for quite some time.  I never ate the same thing twice.  Several store runs were made to keep me swimming in Red Bull, which made me feel like a bit of diva.  But it seriously was the only way to make it through the gruelingly long days).

I saw a lot of smiles. I heard a lot of, “What can do I for you?” among everybody in the crew, from camera men to production coordinators to producers… everybody was pulling together.  I think every office drone should have to do boot camp with a production company at least once a year to learn how a real team functions.  I seriously wish I could have stuck several of them in my suitcase and brought them home with me.  And I wonder how much it would cost for craft services to cater my life?

I mentioned to somebody on my video team just how amazing everyone seemed to be.  She said, “Production is a meritocracy of nice.  You don’t get very far if you’re obnoxious or don’t work well with others.  You just don’t get asked back.”  I wish we could spread it around to other areas of professional endeavor.  If all of life could be a meritocracy of nice, perhaps more people will have as much fun as I had on the set of these videos.  And it helped get a massive job done smoothly and well.

When we wrapped after our long, final day, we went out for drinks with the crew.  We sat at a high table and laughed for hours as if we’d known each other for years.  It was the best time I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see these guys again (I sure hope so) but getting to hang out with them was like finding my long-long tribe.  This meritocracy of nice was smart, creative, professional and hilarious.  An awesome week.

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