Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How To Tell If An Assistant Is An Idiot: 4.02

Just because I got promoted doesn't mean that I'm not an assistant b*tch anymore. My workload lately is a testament to that. If you're thinking I'm going to stop writing/thinking/acting/living like I'm not an assistant, rest assured that that is still very much my viewpoint. Because as great as my new job title is, I still know my position on the Hollywood ladder. Let's just say I know there are a lot more people who would be kicking down at me than who could possibly be yanking from below.

So, assistants, pay attention. Here are some easy ways to tell if the assistant you're dealing with is an idiot. Note that the helped with this post. Thanks, roomie. For once.

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it's quite possible that the assistant you're dealing with is an idiot. Now the average assistant is extremely overqualified for his/her position, but there are those out there who, for whatever reason, are, quite simply, idiots. So let's get to those questions and remember that idiot assistants can be of either gender.

Does he speak slowly? Dead giveaway. The proper assistant speaking speed is approximately 8000 mph.

Does she misunderstand your easy pop culture references? Worse, does she not get that they're references at all?

Does your assistant spider sense of "not being sure someone has done their job"-- does it tingle? (this may just be one of my assistant superhero powers)

Do you find yourself repeating a lot of what you say? Note that there's a difference between confirming/double-checking and straight-up repetition.

Are easy, common film terms (recent example: b-roll) misunderstood or not understood at all?

Do the questions the assistant asks tend to involve him needing explanations as to how to do things that he should know? Or more generally, does he ask stupid questions?

Does the creeping dread of ignominy and the crushing exhaustion of the job seep into his voice? Because he's paid to ignore that. Alternately, is his voice seething with thinly-veiled hatred for his boss? Because that could be problematic, too. . .

How to counteract the Idiot-Assistant Effect:

Call a third party that's involved to ensure (as much as you can) that the job that needs to be done is being done. This includes restaurants, hotels, airlines, postproduction houses, production houses, other assistants, etc. Whatever it takes is what you're gonna have to do. You're an assistant, and like it or not, that's part of the job-- taking care of everything.

If your boss/office environment is cool, warn your fellow employees after doing the above step.

If necessary, walk the other assistant through the steps he would otherwise screw up. That'll probably be easier than having him make a mess and then having you clean it up.

Whatever you do, AND NO MATTER HOW MUCH FUN IT MIGHT BE, do not f8ck with the other assistant. Inevitably, it will blow up in your face. And frankly, I don't even like blow and face to be in the same sentence. Unless it's the other kind of blow-- in which case, yes please.

If you can think of more Idiot Assistant giveaways, hey, there's this whole comment section thing.


Anonymous Chad said...

And yet... somehow these idiots get hired!! It blows my mind.

9:14 PM

Anonymous the_plot_thickens said...

Nepotism or fuckability mostly. Mostly.

10:54 PM

Blogger The Gambino Crime Family said...

I don't know, Assistant Atlas. It's starting to sound like you're starting to repeat the cycle of abuse here. Right now it's slight irritation with incompetance. Soon, though, it'll be door-slamming and twenty-minute tirades that the entire building can hear.

This is just a suggestion but how about the next time the other assistant screws up, you "turn that frown upside down" and give them a hug? That's right, a hug. Talk to them in a soothing tone and tell them "everything's going to be OK." Because, let's face it, there's nothing like thinly-veiled condescension and passive agressiveness to alleviate a somewhat tense situation. (Unless, of course, they're too thick to get it and then you're back to square one.)

6:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Assistant Atlas.

I have a real question for you, that jumping off from one of the above comments...

I know there's enormous amounts of Nepotism. And obviously, lots of times people are hired for being eye candy.

But how often is their hiring actually based on their being fuckable, either before or fairly soon after the fact?

For actors? For Staff? For other talent - editors, musicians, DP's, personal assistants, and so on?

Would you please consider doing a major Post on this?

Including how it works at the casting level for talent at various levels: a, b, and c list actors, as well as the hopefulls including those - and I am NOT trying to be gross when I ask this - who are not yet eighteen.

Why I'm asking is, I'm working on a documentary about sexuality, depending on what you have to say, this may be a path work taking a look at.

I'd also like to know how the sexual power works with the office staff as well, both at your level, and as one starts to move up the food chain.

In other words, I guess I'm asking for an acticle on how people in Film/Television use positions of power to get sex, with as much specifics as you're willing to give. And again, not out of purient interest - not that I don't have purient interest, but that wouldn't be enough for me to ask - but because I'm writing a documentary script, and this question goes right to the heart of the script, and it just occured to me as I was reading you, that you're really well positioned to answer the question.

Thanks ever so much for any help you're willing to give.

3:21 PM

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