Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Idiot Check.

At the end of a day of shooting on location, when the crew thinks they're completely wrapped out, there's still one more ritual to perform.  Before, each department closes the tailgate on their truck, a couple of people will go through the location to perform an "idiot check".  They're looking for that sandbag or c-clamp or, Holy Shit, an 18K they somehow managed to leave on the set.
It's a good custom and still it's really common for someone to come up to me the next day asking if they can get back into yesterday's location because they're missing something.

After the various departments have done their idiot checks and driven off, the Locations Department does a final idiot find the stuff the other guys missed.  And, yes, we end up missing stuff too.

On the occasions when the location is somewhere that's going to get locked up tight after we leave, like...oh...say, a prison...the idiot check is more about making sure we haven't left behind any idiots. That can be embarrassing for the production and inconvenient as hell for the forgotten crew member.

I'll assume other business have their own versions of the idiot check, designed for the same thing, but with all of the different definitions of "check", there are probably totally different interpretations of the phrase "idiot check".  For instance, I really don't care how much money you've got to throw around, but this strikes me as being something of an idiot check.

Or look at this one.  Clever maybe, but still an idiot check:
Another definition of check: The condition of being stopped or held back; restraint

Which would make locking Sarah Palin in a car without the keys a form of idiot check. She might never get out!
See what I did there with the "smart car"? Huh? Huh?

Idiot Checkmate might be Todd Palin locked on a snowmobile without the keys. Won't somebody please let him out?

I suppose we'd be getting into homophones if we started talking about Idiot Czechs.


Peggy Craven said...

You'd be surprised at how many people have looked at me like I'm stabbing them with a blunt knife when I have asked if they did an idiot check. Outside the film biz, they just seem to have no personal insulation, and only hear the word "idiot". Perhaps they are more correct than they know.....

Jim Wright said...

In the military, we do the same thing. It's embarrassing enough to leave a wrench inside an airplane turbine - but I was once on a patrol that left behind an idiot who wandered off to take a piss under a bridge (I wasn't in charge, fortunately). We were a good fifteen miles away before somebody realize the doofus was missing. Boy, you talk about one grateful looking son of a bitch when we found him.

Seriously, idiot check, it's not just a good idea, it keeps the idiots from running loose.

Nathan said...

C'mon Jim. Tell the truth. Before you hiked back the fifteen miles, I'll just bet you were all debating whether or not the guy really brought anything to the party.

Fess up. :)

Jim Wright said...

I was wondering if I'd ever get that $20 back I loaned him.

And we were driving, if I'd had to hike back to find him, he'd still be there. Seriously.

John the Scientist said...

Yeah, when you have kids, you pull an idiot check on every hotel room - after you get everyone packed in the car you go back and check under the beds and behind the curtains where stuff often gets left. This is not a new idea to any parent.

I've never pulled a Jim and left one behind, though I've been sorely tempted.

TAPA said...

Wait... the prison thing didn't really happen, did it?

Nathan said...

Wait... the prison thing didn't really happen, did it?


When you shoot in a NYC Jail, (and they're big enough to be considered prisons in most places), everybody going in hands over a photo I.D. in exchange for a laminated visitor's badge. At the end of the day, if there are photo I.D.'s left in the lockbox, you assume that person is still in there.

So...when everybody else had left already, we knew the script supervisor was still in there somewhere (doing her notes, of course), we just didn't know exactly where.