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We actually talk about this a lot. My friend and favorite DP (Director of Photography)
is 58. DP’s do very physical work. Most of my favorite crew people are between 45
and 58. We’re all in the same generational bracket and have a shared cultural
experience. You’re most at ease with your own peers. One art department person
who I worked with that I really love when I found out I was the same age as her
mother it was a little disconcerting. She’s a real pal and we socialize together.
Although Carol pointed out that there is an ease hanging with your peer group, new worlds
do open when we socialize and work together. When asked if there is anything preventing
you from doing this job in your 60s, she is quick to point out variances with recovery time:
My energy levels don’t feel different. This is where I feel it. I don’t bounce back from
overnight shoots like I used to. I work from about 8 o’clock at night to about 7 in the
morning. I used to just crank them out. You work smarter not harder. One of the
gaffers is in his 50s. It’s very hard work and he has a great eye. He’s moving slower
so you put some beefy young grip on the job and it works out.
Carol mentions that the compensation of an experienced crew is that you have
encountered every problem imaginable and have better judgment from experience. She
explains, “The problem with a lot of young crew people is that if things go wrong they have
a meltdown. The oldies are like well we’ll just figure it out. There’s always a solution.”
There are advantages to the mentoring experience explains Carol, “I think the youngsters
benefit from the experience. How else are you going to learn it?”
The New Role Model: Working Smarter, Longer, and Better
Kate Farrell, an executive producer with WE-tv, responds to the question about the
perceived value of age and experience in the industry:
I’m going to find out in the next couple of years. I know that nobody was worried
about my age when they hired me for this recent job. They needed someone who
could turn something around and with enough attitude to tell the other person to
calm down and get the job done. They knew I had the creativity and maturity to go
in and not make a mess of it and not go in there with my ego all over the place.
During the interview, Kate seems pleasantly surprised to hear me say, “So what I’m hearing
is that your skill sets are more valuable now,” and responds, “I think they are and it’s good
to talk to you and hear that out loud.” Daniel Goleman a co-chair of the Consortium for
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