The Checker

Ahh, finally, we start to head towards the middle of the group of directors. The checker is neither good nor bad–just slow. Unbelievably slow. They check every take as soon as its done. They recheck it. And recheck. And recheck it. They ask the cinematographer to look it over. They ask the script supervisor to look at it. They ask the first, second and third ADs to look it over.

They also take multiple takes from multiple angles. They are unsure which is the best, so they get them all. Actors get annoyed, the script supervisor inevitably falls asleep while standing up, and the camera operators all look at the cinematographer with a “is this for reals?” look after scene 1A take 57.

They are usually very nice and polite. Sometimes they can be seen downing bottles of Pepto instead of anything from the craft table. Other times, they are drinking from a flask hidden in their patched elbow suit jacket which is worn with designer jeans, some obscure band name, and a baseball cap from the first film that they ever worked. Under no circumstances do you ask them to take off that cap? The brim is stained with sweat and grime and the inside looks like it survived a mudslide, fire, and tornado. It smells like it has as well.

The only problem with The Checker is that by the end of the first day, they are already behind schedule. They listen to everyone except the cinematographer who has already assured them that they got the shot in the first five take, the line producer who has to keep signaling the First Asst Director by pointing at their wrist, more forcefully with each take. The First Assistant Director can do nothing but shrug and gently tap on the director’s shoulder which is received with a wave of a hand as the director looks at another take.

The Checker is friends with everyone. They desperately do not want to disappoint the leads, the supporting or the extras. They’ll make sure everyone has screen time; including their parents who will be brought on set at some point. They know everyone’s name including the guy who drops off the mail in the office (which will not be near the set at all, but somehow they know the mailperson.

They are really nice but they should have stuck with writing. This is what they really want to do but their mother told them, “If you’re going to go to film school instead of medical school, be a director. Be a director of something big so I can point at Mrs. Schwartz and say that you made the Madame Bovary film” Their Madame Bovary film never gets made because they had to make a film about cats, with cats, and kids.

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