Don’t Act Like a Hero… Be the Hero.

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

I received my first formal Steadicam instruction at a Steadicam Operators Association Workshop in 2002 lead by Garrett Brown, Steadicam Inventor. One of Garrett’s lectures focused on a discussion about “The Look.” The Look is the composure that a Steadicam Operator should maintain while working. Initially, I didn’t understand why this was so important… but I’ve come to learn that this is paramount to being a good operator.

I was finally able to understood the importance of this concept after an experience I had with someone in our office. I am one of the owners of a film & video production house in Philadelphia called Top Hat Productions LLC. One day I came across one of our employees struggling with a computer. It was misbehaving and causing him delays and occasional losses in work. These types of problems are understandable when it comes to computers… we’ve all had those days. However, this employee was getting visibly agitated. I honestly thought he was going to suffer a stroke right in front of me. This is when I finally understood why Garrett was so passionate about “The Look.” Watching this employee struggle made me feel bad for him. As his employer, it made me feel like I was torturing him by making him do his job. It didn’t really matter how good he was technically at doing his job. That went out the window. At that moment, his inability to keep his cool made me feel like a bad person.

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After this experience, I understood that it was critical that I did my job while maintaining my composure. As a Steadicam Operator, our job is not only technical and creative… its physical. This is what we signed up for. So after a long take, when you’re hanging your rig back up… avoid making those grimacing faces. When they want to go for another take… never sigh. Instead, wear a smile on your face… and no matter how heavy that rig feels maintain “The Look.”

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