I recently worked on a tier 1 feature in Kentucky where I had to replace the boom op half way through because of his general attitude and personality differences between the director, the DP and him. I'm hoping I can start a discussion on how you would act in this situation and how I can improve my method of handling it. Sorry for the long-windedness of this. You don't have to read my story. If you have any 2 cents of how a boom op can be more diplomatic when working with ego-centric department heads please share! I'm hoping to gain tips from this and spread the stories so others can learn as well. My questions:1. How can a boom op go about being more social and talkative on set, without getting in the way, but in a way that makes his job easier? 2. How can a mixer influence and help this also? 3. What situations have you been in regarding difficult people? The union here in KY (209) has no boom ops listed, only sound mixers. It would be impossible making a living out here just booming. Production urged me to hire locally for budget purposes so I hired someone who I've spoken to on the phone a few times, but never actually worked with. My wife was the coordinator. While in prep she mentioned that the director (not naming) had a big ego and the DP/cam op, Morgan, was a real... jerk, to keep it light (see below 2 examples) and he had an even bigger ego. My problem came on day 2 when the boom dipped into the frame on a handheld tracking shot in a very tight area with no rehearsal. The first time it dipped Morgan and director both yelled "BOOM!". The director yelled cut. My boom op tried asking where the frame was going to land on a certain position and got a pretty murky response from Morgan. I told him "give it a little more head room. Without rehearsals we can't aim for perfection". Two takes later the same thing happened (same shot, different camera movements) only this time it dipped while the boom op ran into the director holding his wireless monitor right behind him in his way. The director didn't even know he was going to change the movement. They made a huge fuss about it and ultimately I told my boom op to walk away and I'll only fly the lavs. My cart was positioned outside pretty far away with remoted antennas. I had monitor but not enough time to tell him he was in frame before Morgan jumped down his throat. We were moving so fast that I couldn't easily get up and go talk to the director and Morgan about rehearsal needs etc., it was easier to have the op do it. But with his inexperience dealing with impatient directors and asshole DP's, nobody was working with him. Afterward the director came to me saying "your boom op just needs to do better". Great direction. Side note: I'm all about getting the right mixture of happiness with every department (factoring in job level of course). I want to get great sound for the director, but I'll have the boom op stand down on situations like these because the director doesn't understand what a boom op is doing and why it's important, he just sees him as being in the way. I also want to keep getting jobs and not push my limits with this already trigger happy production. The next time the boom dipped was day 9. That was apparently enough to fire him. Granted, it was a big mistake on our part. The camera was on a condor, but he should have checked the frame. The camera PA moved village right before rolling (he would never to do that again after this), but I still could have held up production and made sure I had village. Once we rolled and slated Morgan instantly yelled at the boom op that he was very in frame. He walked out wider and wider until the director lightly punched him in the arm, grabbed him and yanked him out of frame. The actor yelled at him to check this beforehand too. It was embarrassing. The boom op was clearly in the wrong here, but it wasn't an easy situation to be put in. Once I saw the frame I realized they had changed lenses last minute which prompted the village move. The director came to me with the same "he just needs to do better" direction, assuring me he hasn't the slightest knowledge of our department. I said, "It was a technical miscommunication but from now on we'll hold up production and make sure I always have monitor and that the frame is always set with at least some sort of guide with what's going to happen with camera movement." An hour later I was told to replace him by a producer. There was no wiggle room for improvement or working with the current guy. The producer had orders and would follow them blindly.So the problem I saw was his attitude. He was a mixer who knew booming as well, but he didn't have passion for booming. He didn't give his 100% and didn't stroke the egos of those who thought they were our sets gifts from god (DP and director). He wasn't the most apologetic when the boom dipped. He didn't play the bullshit game that we often have to play around people like them, and they saw that. I knew exactly which boom op to bring in. This guy was amazing. People loved him instantly. He was upbeat, talkative, and most importantly great at his ENTIRE job, which I'm realizing includes stroking egos. After he was replaced, the boomed dipped only twice and nobody even cared. Once he even asked to change the camera movement so that he could boom the scene affectively and they agreed to. That would have never happened with the first op. The new guy was Tom Pieczkolon. Why the DP was a jerk:There's too much to vent about so I'll just leave these two.The DP brought his dog without telling anyone. He then made production babysit said dog every day for 8 weeks during shooting while the thing just barked for attention. One day the key grip was walking behind someone in the woods and the person in front of him unknowingly pulled back a branch which flung back at the key grip and hit him in the eye. He was in a lot of pain. In front of everybody the DP just laughed hysterically for about 5 actual minutes. He held up set because of his laughing. The AD literally had to tell him twice to stop laughing and focus.