Studio Manager Meditation: Taking out the Trash

We work like crazy. As a studio manager/producer/assistant/blogger life very rarely slows down to the point where I can step back and reflect on it. When it does though, I find myself mulling over aspects of this job that might seem so inconsequential, but for me hold deeper meanings. I’ve decided to write this monthly series on the blog to take a minute and stop, reflect, and write about some of the aspects of being a studio manager that really impact me. These are my studio manager meditations.

chris crisman photography studio manager meditation

Taking out the Trash.

No matter who you are or how long you’ve been in this business, there are still moments when you need to roll up your sleeves and take out the trash. This is not a bad thing, and as someone who’s found himself arms deep in garbage every now and then, I’m in no way complaining. You might even say that I enjoy it.

It’s certainly true that no one is above it, and you call me a hypocrite if you like, but one of the first things that we’ll ask an intern to do is take out the trash. I don’t want to be a malevolent manager or rule the studio with an iron fist – I just feel that in the same way as coiling cables, you can tell a lot about someone from the way they handle a simple task like that. Are they methodical or sloppy, careful or haphazard? Do they really care about the task at hand? No job, however small or trivial is deserved to be half-assed.

This simple and sometimes thoughtless act that could signal the end of the week, wrapping up a good shoot, or just clearing out the junk. Although it’s a repeated task that never seems to go away, the act of taking out the trash and the contents of what you’re throwing away are always unique. In this industry that could be anything from torn and tattered seamless paper, to the remains of a catered lunch, piles and piles of paperwork, or even packaging from the latest and greatest piece of photo gear.

It’s not pleasant to wrestle with an overstuffed bag of trash; folding bending, stuffing, wrangling shut and tying closed. You might get dirty, you might break a sweat, but the act is necessary. You can’t just stop and let the junk pile up around you.

That being said, we’re always taking out the trash. We simply don’t have the time or the space to let it stack up, especially since we’re always growing, always creating and always striving to make the next photo better than the last. As an artist and a creative, you never want to stop improving and creating – the minute you get on your heels is the minute you’re done. So how do you make room for everything? How do you clear up the mental space to make your next photo be your greatest?

You have to take out the trash.

3 replies to “Studio Manager Meditation: Taking out the Trash”

  1. ^ Haha, so do I.

    Good post Robert! So I’m curious about what you do with used seamless that doesn’t have any more life left in it (wrinkles, small holes, footprints, etc.), but is still all in one piece. Do you throw it out? I’ve got a bunch but I would feel terrible throwing it away. It seems like someone would have use for a 9-foot by 20-foot piece of paper.

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