Best Get

My well documented affinity for production minutiae got a real boost tonight with my discovery of the California On Location Awards. This is an annual award presentation, now in it’s 19th year, that acknowledges location professionals, specifically Location Managers, Assistant Location Managers (separate award just for Assistant Location Managers!) and Location Teams in film and television categories. 

Awards for JUST LOCATIONS PEOPLE. THAT’S IT. There is a mechanism in place to recognize and celebrate how difficult it can be just to have a goddamn place to go at 5:00 in the morning to make the movie. Just thinking about all the disgruntled neighbors, barking dogs, invalid 2007 W9s, working with people who only have land lines and fax machines- Can you IMAGINE the war stories that happen at this event??? Holy SHIT.

I love this. I am so into the fact that this exists. The real cherry on top though, is A) the really long description of the place where the award show takes place and imagining the pressure the person who booked the venue must feel with this crowd, and B) the fact that because LA Location Managers are in the Union, the Teamsters are one of three featured sponsors for the event. 

Well, here I am with some holiday cookies at Taylor Swift’s house. 
She’s right- I’m standing in Taylor Swift’s house right now, and I am telling you from first hand experience, I could not be cuter, and this day could not be more festive. And we are never, never, ever getting back together.

(via Christine Rodriguez)

Well, here I am with some holiday cookies at Taylor Swift’s house. 

She’s right- I’m standing in Taylor Swift’s house right now, and I am telling you from first hand experience, I could not be cuter, and this day could not be more festive. And we are never, never, ever getting back together.

(via Christine Rodriguez)

Office vs Pocket, and the evolution and role of language

From my research today, it appears that we are about 25 years into the pervasive use of the term “out of pocket” to describe a situation that would be correctly described as “out of office." It seems that no one really understands why, and not enough people are asking questions.

Traditionally, “Out of Pocket" describes a situation in which you run out of per diem or petty cash, and have to pay for business expenses with your own money, or out of your own pocket. Out of Pocket. 

Out of Office is just not being in the office. It has nothing to do with pockets.

They are both business terms, they start with the same two words, and I can see how plenty of people may have slipped up and said “out of pocket” once or twice instead of “out of office,” and hey, you know, it happens, let it slide. But now, that slip has become interchangeable with the correct phrase. Being “Out of Pocket” and being “Out of Office” have become, sometimes, the same thing. The confusion, I suppose, happens when you are both out of pocket financially, but in the office physically. Or out of the office physically, but haven’t spent any of your own money on business expenses. Or when you are both out of the office physically, and out of pocket financially. 

Can you just start calling something, something else, just because it sounds the same, or starts with the same words? Will “vacations” become “vocations”? Will stage parents start living “precariously” through their children, as that glass of water will one day be “vicariously” close to the edge of the table?

Are pockets the same as offices, if you can be out of both of them? Is the role of language, in fact, not to describe things most accurately, but simply to communicate on the most basic level- if someone “knows what you mean”, and all it costs is a few seconds of quiet confusion, is that enough to redefine the meaning of a word or phrase? 

I think that the role of language exists somewhere in the middle. Yes, it has to evolve and be fluid, and often, no one knows where slang terms come from, how certain words or phrases are invented and become popular and commonplace, even replacing existing terms. At its core, it is a tool to communicate. But how can that tool be effective when there is no sensible basis in meaning? Language is rich and historic and powerful, and has meaning beyond “you know what I mean.” Bonobo monkeys can ask for food, tell their trainers where they want to go, and play word-based games. They can, without a doubt, communicate. We know what they mean. But, as many linguists have argued, I don’t think this constitutes true language. Language is also about understanding, beyond basic communication. 

When people say “out of pocket” when they mean “out of office”, perhaps the communication in there, but not, without some pause, the understanding. 

As my final though on this subject, I’ll tell you that if anyone is going to miss use and forgive the miss use of “Out of Pocket”, it’s legendary word-mixer-upper, my friend Matt Pollock. We talked about this today, and the use of “Out of Pocket” to mean “Out of Office” bothers and confuses him just as much as it bothers and confuses me.