My wife, Mirette, made an interesting comparison this morning. She said that when someone hires you for their project it’s like inviting you into their house. And just as you would be if you were having dinner at their house, you want to know and follow those things they take for granted – their protocol. Is it a “shoes off” house, for example? Kosher? Vegan?
My studio is in my house and I always find it illuminating which of the assistants and mentees I’ve had over the years adapt to our protocol, which is not always explicit. I’m often dumbfounded how many young men don’t remember to lower the toilet seat after they’re done, even after constant reminders. As irrelevant as it might seem to the music, it’s indicative of larger issues of being sensitive to what others’ needs are. There is a saying, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” It’s a little over-generalized but mostly true.
This remains an area of challenge for me (learning others’ protocol – not the toilet seat!) Once, when I was not hired for a job that I had an “in” on – the director loved my work but the producer put the kabosh on me – I complained to Hans Zimmer about being blindsided. He was unsympathetic – I had failed to find out who my real boss was and had suffered the consequences. I hadn’t learned the rules of their house. The protocol. Not following it cost me an opportunity.