Hey guys! If you sense some slight anger in this blog post, that's because I'm really getting tired of a dangerous creature that roams independent film sets. This creature is aggressive, rude, annoying, and will stop at nothing to ruin your film. I do not know the land these creatures come from, all I know is the name we give them in our world: Know-it-alls.
This past weekend I was helping a friend of mine light a film he was working on. Everyone there were volunteers, and as far as I could tell there wasn't much money involved in the shoot. I knew nothing of the movie, and my sole purpose there was to help with the lighting.
I brought my light kit, and started setting it up in the room we were filming. It was then that it happened; the know-it-all entered the film set. This was the single worst case of Know-it-allism I had ever experienced. The moment this guy entered the set, he acted like it was his moral duty to tell everyone how to work.
This wasn't my set, so I was in no mood to get myself worked up over this. I figured if the director brought this guy on board, he must have had a good reason. This know-it-all then proceeded to tell me how to light. He started to point out "mistakes" he was seeing in the lighting. I calmly let him know that we weren't done setting up the lights, and kept working. Next thing I know, he's telling me about the difference between daylight and tungsten light.
After noticing that I wasn't listening to him, he told me that his lights are better, and started setting up his own lights. Before things got out of hand, the director went up to him and said "I've worked with Rodolphe before. I trust what he's doing. Let him light." Though that didn't put an end to all his evildoing, the know-it-all quietly went back to its cave.
The director must take action.
When a know-it-all is devouring a set, he makes everyone want to leave. If you're the director of the project, you should realize that your crew members will not take on the beast. It's not their job to discipline the know-it-all, it's yours. Though I wanted to tell that guy to shut up, it wasn't my place to do so. Had I told him to shut up, it would probably end up in an argument that wouldn't benefit the film at all.
When you notice know-it-all like behavior, you should kill it immediately before its toxin spreads around the set. It's your movie, don't let someone else ruin it.
How to spot a Know-it-all.
The know-it-all is usually the most talkative person on your set. These type of people usually can't stay quiet for long, so eventually they'll start telling people what to do. They also say the most obvious stuff like "Plug the lights before turning them on" or "Use a reflector to reflect light."
They do that because they want to make everyone think they're an expert, but since they're really not, they just say obvious stuff that everyone already knows. A know-it-all also can't wait to share his past "experiences" with the crew. At every chance, he'll tell everyone how many projects he's done, and how many Hollywood movie sets he's worked on. HELLO? Sweeping the floor at the Iron Man 3 set doesn't make you Jon Favreau.
One of the best trick a know-it-all uses is the "I'm just trying to help everyone" BS. DON'T FALL FOR IT! This wild animal doesn't care one bit about your project, all he cares about is his ego. If you know your crew members are competent, don't let anyone "help" them unless they asked for it.
He might also try to help you by constantly suggesting ideas. Watch out for: "I know it's your movie, and you have the final say, but what if we do [their crappy idea] instead of [your great idea]? It's worth a shot, right?"
The answer is NO!
How to stop them.
So you've noticed the malicious beast on your set, but how do you attack? I say, take the gentle approach first, and if that doesn't work you can proceed to something more severe.
The respectful approach:
Take the know-it-all to the side, and calmly tell him that while you appreciate what he's trying to do, he should stop because you and the crew have it figured out. Tell him that he should focus on doing his own job. Remember to be calm and respectful so you don't make the situation worst. Usually, this will stop the know-it-all.
The "Shoot on sight" approach:
If being respectful didn't work, don't hesitate to address him in front of everyone. No need to yell at him, but don't take him to the side. If you don't address him, the crew might start wondering if you have balls. They won't respect you because you can't even control your own set. Resentment will build up, and everyone will work a little less.
If they see that you are able to stop the problem, their respect for you will grow and the shoot will go better. Sometimes, your crew members will even thank you for saving their village by killing the beast.
The Nuclear Approach:
If the problem is still persistent, do as you see fit. Usually a know-it-all's position isn't that hard to do, because if it was they wouldn't have so much time to annoy everyone else. If you think it's best to kick him off the set, do yourself a favor and see it through. I still don't condone being rude, but you have to set your foot down and say "no more."
Good times to go nuclear:
- The know-it-all starts directing your actors.
- He starts undermining you.
- He yells "action" before a take. (LOL!)
- He asks the crew what they think of his ideas.
Do not underestimate the power of Know-it-alls on your film set. The last thing you want is your crew and actors not wanting to be around because of one person. Once your crew start being irritated, they'll care less about working and more about wrap time.
Remember to be respectful and to try to stop the problem quietly. No need to embarrass a fellow crew member in front of everyone, so take him to the side at first. It's your movie, so it's your job to keep your cast and crew motivated. Congratulations! You have slayed the beast.
What are some ways you've taken down a know-it-all? Any funny stories about them? Post it below in the comments, and help us all get rid of this infestation. Also, be sure to share this post on Facebook or Twitter!