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Accountability is Good

Accountability is not a bad word. Sure, when you say it like: "I'm holding you accountable!" then I guess it could construed that you did something wrong. But when talking about accountability, I try not to use it with a negative connotation. Especially when I talk about it before it actually happens.

Before a production begins, there's a level of expectation that I have for different people on the cast and crew and it's the same expectations they have for themselves. Usually, we're all on the same page. If those expectations are not met, then I'm accountable as well as the people involved. Honestly, the director is accountable for everything on screen and all that is required to make everything on screen work.

I talk with the cinematographer about the look of the movie. We both make ourselves accountable to make that vision happen. I meet with the cast about their characters and eventually, we all become accountable for the choices that we've made. The cinematographer works with his A.C., G&E team, the gaffers, and PAs to build an efficient team and they all hold themselves accountable if that doesn't happen. And while we all hold ourselves accountable, the producer makes sure we stick to it. They are tasked with getting the production to the finish line. (That's a broad idea because producers do so much, but that would take eight pages of what a producer does. A good producer is one you should keep.)

Now, what I've described is the ideal production. Anyone involved in productions knows that this is very rarely the case. There's always one PA sitting on a crate checking their phone when they're supposed to be helping. There might be an actor who hasn't bothered to learn their lines. Even directors are guilty of not being focused.

That's why accountability and expectations really only work when communication is clear. You must communicate before you begin production. You need to let people know what you expect and what they should expect. That way, when you walk up to that PA and explain that there Facebook feed is not that important right now, they know this already because of the conversation that was had before the production. Much like children, people will push the limits to see what they can get away with. If you've already communicated your desires, then holding people accountable no longer is a negative term, but rather a positive reinforcement of expectations.

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