Don’t Believe the Estimates…

Happy Tuesday everybody! How was your weekend? How are you? I’m going on my second week of hiatus and I couldn’t be happier. I had friends in town, I’ve gone hiking, walking on the beach, I’ve drunk, I’ve smoked, I’ve eaten great food and gone to few museum exhibits. What can I say, I like being off. I always try to fully take advantage of my time off and that includes a lot of sleep as well. I don’t see sleep as a waste of time like some people do. It’s one of my favorite past times. However I know my days are numbered. In 6 days I’ll be back at work for the last 3 weeks of the year and then believe it or not I have a 3 WEEK Hiatus for Christmas!! Holy shit, I can’t wait for that to come along. Alright let’s get into this, shall we?

“It’s going to be 5-10 minutes.” That’s what I say about 80 percent of the time when someone asks me how close we are to shooting. It might not be correct but I’ve learned that everyone’s estimates, whether it’s the DP’s to the AD, the AD to the Producer, the Producer to the Director..Whoever gives the estimate..all estimates for the most part are always wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this because after all that is what an estimate is, an estimation of when something in particular is going to happen. I personally always say 5-10 minutes because it gives that person just enough time to maybe just run to crafty OR the bathroom before they come back to set. If I say 10-15 they think “Oh, I can go to crafty and the bathroom” and then there’s the risk of someone stopping them and talking to them and then BOOM that person is lost and I guarantee that it’ll be the one person they need on set once you lose track of them. This is particularly true to my position because I’m constantly tracking and following actors/actresses.

I actually had a really good friend that on a job on a particular day she kept track of all the estimates the 1st AD was giving her throughout the day of when the actors/actresses would be needed on set and not one estimate all day was correct. Sure some of them might have only been off by a few minutes but others were off by 20-30 minutes. Isn’t that fucking nuts? What I constantly find amusing is that even though we all internally know that estimates are typically bullshit we all still continually ask for them. My 5-10 minute estimate is a perfect example of this. I constantly say 5-10 minutes for the reasons I mentioned above and not once has anyone told me my estimate was off or have they stopped asking me once they realized I was wrong all the time. I think it’s just something that we all do involuntarily at work without really even focusing on the estimate that the person is giving. I think people just ask so that they know if they have at least a minute to run somewhere while simultaneously letting the person know their stepping away.


I remember when I started I would drive myself crazy setting timers on my phone when the 1st AD would give out estimates. I would set a time for when he wanted the actors/actresses on set, when he thought we were moving, when he wanted 2nd meal here..just all types of shit for no fucking reason at all. After a while I realized that they were always wrong and that if I just paid attention I would know when we were close without depending on the estimate. I know Hair and Make Up constantly pad their time on the chair for certain actors/actresses just in case they need it. Which for whatever reason the AD’s don’t know and are always surprised when talent is done way before the estimate they gave. AD’s are funny because they constantly pad their estimates so that they don’t look like assholes if they’re wrong and at the day starts getting out of hand but they want everyone else to be exact. Which is an impossible task because no matter how much you plan something out, there is no way to know the x factors that are going to pop up when that actual plan is being executed.

Now I’m not telling you to go out there and make up times on your own. I explained that I use the 5-10 minute trick because it helps me keep track of people. However if the 1st AD says it’s going to be a half hour then you should give that estimate because that’s a substantial amount of time for someone to accomplish something that they might have to care of. Of course now that I’ve written about this anyone that ever works with me that reads this site will never believe me again but hey, what am I gonna do? Not write about it. I’m just trying to be honest with everyone and poke a little fun at some of the silly shit we do on set everybody. If you don’t believe this to be true try to keep track of most of the estimates they give out on set today or tomorrow and compare to see how many times they’re right to how many times they’re wrong.

Thanks for reading everyone! I’m not making any promises but if all goes well I will have my very own podcast up and running next Monday. Now originally I was going to attempt and do a podcast that just focused on shit that I talk about here at We’re Not Rolling. Another words a podcast based on working on a film crew. However, I also want to talk about movies and TV shows from a fans perspective and was going to record another separate podcast for TheFilmCan.Com (Shameless Plug) but in the sake of not taking too much at the same time I’m going to include both topics on one podcast. If after this gets going I can see a reason to separate the podcast I will but for now it’ll all be on one show. I will post them on both sites and I’m looking into how to get it into iTunes. You all know I’m new at all this shit so bear with me or if you know how to get it done please help a brother out. Shoot me an email and walk me through the process. Anyhow, have a great rest of your week everyone and I will talk to you all on Friday.


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