Anytime you assemble a large group of people, someone’s bound to experience a minor annoyance or two.  Movie sets are no exception.

            Having spent my adult life in and around that environment, I’ve learned to roll with almost anything that comes down the pike.  But there’s one thing I’ve never come to grips with – and I doubt that I ever will.  It’s that mythologically stupid utterance by some crewmember as they pass the lens on their way through the area.


            God!  Just typing it gets my blood boiling.

            I have no idea where, when or how that imbecilic habit originated, but it needs to be put in the ground immediately and forever.  It’s a film school affectation and has no place in a professional environment.  And it’s not as if the individual is asking permission to do it.  They’re usually halfway past the matte box before they blurt it out.  An argument might be made that it’s merely a polite nod to whomever is looking through the eyepiece, but it has the exact opposite effect.  It calls attention to something that most likely wouldn’t be noticed if the offender just kept their trap shut.  But then again, hey, if you’re so respectful that you have to inform everyone in the building that you’re about to do something you know you shouldn’t be doing, I have some advice for you.  Take the two seconds and plot your course around the back of the camera instead.

            Of course, this’s a first-world problem, and a trivial, elective one at that.  But I’m hardly alone with this sentiment.  I recently heard some crewmembers mocking the practice and got a good laugh out of their comments.  That triggered something of a revelation.  In addition to being funny, they had the added bonus of being right! 

            So, let’s wise up and cut the nonsense.  At least the first-world will be better for the effort.



6 thoughts on “THE CROSSING GUARD”

  1. I never understood that one as well.. I have walked in front of a lot of lens. Even yours and always thought “excuse me” was the better choice or keep your mouth shut and get out of the shot asap.

  2. Rich, thanks for telling it the way it is. Never understood it. If a person is crossing the lens and I’m looking through the camera, I’ve already observed the crossing. Worse than crossing is a congregation of above the line folks in front of the lens and yelling is probably not the best course of action!

  3. It got so bad on one show we had a super soaker on the dolly and either the dolly grip or I would blast the offenders

    It took two days and no one ever crossed the frame for the run of the show


  4. HA! Eric, that is so funny! As I said, I have no idea where that stupidity began, but man…it has to stop!

  5. Richard- It’s time for some more Thelonious Monk words
    of wisdom.
    When you’re swinging, swing some more!

  6. This is hysterical! I’ve seen and heard some people saying it and it always made me laugh (usually are young crew members and PAs).
    I remember my film camera teacher being so annoyed when someone was saying it before crossing. He always said “You are not invisible, we see you on screen”.
    It’s also funny because this is an unnecessary thing to say, while when we move the camera and we advise people to watch their 6, no one ever pay attention to it.

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