All of this comes at the perfect time for me, a time when I have become increasingly critical of the emerging economy of the industry, where some producers have tied the lower costs of equipment with lower respect for what it is that crews do. It almost seems like they are saying, "I can get the camera so much cheaper, then the work of the 1st AC must be worth so much less."
Really? The production teams has to work just as hard to make sure that the van gets there on time, and copies of the call sheet are done, which insures that everyone actually knows where they are to be and when. That HMI didn't get any lighter for the electric, nor the dolly for the grip. Pulling focus did not get easier for the 1st AC, and God-help the 2nd AC who drops a lens.
One of my favorite words in this industry is "courtesy," as in, "can I get a courtesy over here," when referring to something to shield glare from a monitor or one's eyes, or a "courtesy pick-up" when production is not required to provide transportation, but does so.
In both of the cases above, the "courtesy" provided, while not mandatory, is and should be expected; not providing it is not really an option.
One of the insightful below-the-line blogs, The Hills are Burning, provides a good guide to newbies of exactly what courtesy is on set.
Still, it is such a delightfully and unexpectedly quaint word for a very gritty business. It conjures up images of high tea at five, not salsa at 4AM.