The first question that anyone working on location asks is "Where's the nearest coffee place?"
It's usually a Starbucks, although some of us prefer Peets or the Coffee Bean.
The other night I volunteered to go fetch our boss a latte, since the latte dispenser on the craft service truck was broken, and he was dragging and needed some caffeine.
I don't mind going to get him coffee - he's a great guy and I want to keep him happy, plus while I'm driving I get to sit down, which is a bonus for my sore feet. Also, the real toilets are a nice change from peeing in a portable 'shitter' that 100 people are sharing.
The Starbucks I found was having a DJ night. They had a guy spinning house on the turntables, and the joint was full of the local teenagers, doing whatever it is that teenagers do when they're hopped up on overpriced coffee.
As I was standing at the counter, waiting to shout my order over the din, a kid spotted my walkie talkie (the surveillance headset/walkie contraption is such a pain to take off that I just leave it on) and asked me if I was a cop.
"No," I said. "We're filming in the area."
He brightened noticeably at this. "What movie are you working on?"
Now, sometimes this question is fine. Sometimes I have the time to chat about what I'm doing, what my job is, what the actors are like, how whomever it is can get into the industry, etc..
Sometimes I'm in a hurry or I just don't want to deal with it, and I need a quick 'out'.
On these occasions, there's an answer which will instantly kill the interest of anyone casually inquiring about a film project - when they ask what you're working on, you tell them it's a mayonnaise commercial.
As soon as someone hears the words "mayonnaise commercial" they instantly and completely lose all curiosity about whatever it is I do, whatever else it is I have to say, and the film industry in general.
I don't know why this is. I only know that it's a free pass out of a conversation that I sometimes just don't feel like having.
The other night was one of those times.
I told the kid I was working on a mayonnaise commercial.
"A MAYONNAISE COMMERCIAL", I yelled over the music.
The kid's face fell. "Oh," he said, and turned away, disappointed.
Works every time.
Just do me one favor: if, when you ask them what they're working on, a crew person tells you it's a mayonnaise commercial - please interpret that as a polite way of telling you that they just can't have that particular conversation at that particular moment.
Maybe they're tired, maybe they're busy, maybe they're sweaty and the Gold Bond (tm) just ran out, maybe it's almost lunch or they just got dressed down by their boss.
Just don't take it personally - it really isn't about you.