Location Managers Guild International

Winter 2022

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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LMGI COMPASS | Winter 2022 • 41 retching into trashcans, heart attacks at concept meetings… "They will work you until you fail," noted location manager Kevin Funston/LMGI. "No other job puts you through the stress of what a location manager experiences." We are the only department that must effectively influence people outside the business in order to succeed. There were more serious examples. Caleb Duffy/LMGI, a 45-year-old location manager, collapsed from heat exhaustion during a show and missed his tech scout because he was in a coma. 46-year-old key assistant location manager Jennifer King drove off Malibu Canyon Road to her death while traveling between distant locations on a very stressful show. While many people were compelled to share their story with me after hearing mine, very few, not even close friends allowed their name in print associated with a stress injury on the job. Location professionals seem compelled to project an image of super human strength to the world. Maybe they fear being passed over for future work if their stories reached prospective producers. Somehow, we have managed to make these serious maladies invisible and that does not serve us well. Studio safety is certainly happy to go along. I reached out to a number of studio safety departments to comment on their policy for stress on the job. There is none. "Try to be careful" is the most I got. Aside from recognizing the signs of stress, there are a number of things that you can do to condition yourself to handle the pressure and intensity of our jobs. If you're not in good shape, you're going to suffer. It's easier to say than to do, but a full night's rest and daily exercise will increase your energy, mental sharpness and endurance. After my experience in the hospital, I force myself to leave work early enough to maintain my health. No producer has ever given me a hard time with that explanation. Veteran location scout Lori Balton comments, "My lower back goes out if I don't take care of it… Our job is like running a marathon. I have a regime and I stick to it." Eat healthy food in balanced portions. Stay away from craft service. Drink lots of water. Quit smoking. Take time for yourself. If you can't get the work done, then you need more people. If you can't stay healthy, you're going to have a problem that will outlast your show. David Park reflected, "Although it is difficult to prove that (my health issue) was or was not definitively caused by stress, especially because the day felt like many other "normal" days at work, it was a reminder for me to be aware of my limits. I have learned that it is important for me to feel comfortable with taking breaks, even when I don't want to because I am in the 'flow.' A lot of basic practices that may have helped avoid the incident that day seem obvious now, but are easy to overlook when working in the moment." It is a special thing to be a part of the entertainment business. Our contributions touch millions of people and ultimately, our work becomes a permanent part of global mass culture. Despite its challenges, location managing is an amazing and fulfilling job. But like any dangerous job, be it amazing and fulfilling, risks need to be identified and efforts must be made to prevent a hazardous event. Although it would be nice to have some recognition from studios and producers on this issue, it's really up to us as individuals to respect our own bodies. Incorporate your strategy of stress prevention into your management program and don't hesitate to enforce it. Discuss your concerns upfront with producers and colleagues as a critical issue for maintaining productivity. Then, when the pressure is on, remember the examples you read in this article. We are not superhuman. We are human. Our health is all we have. Try to be careful. Courtesy of helpguide.org

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