Alison Hepburn – aka “The Driver”, aka “The Fixer”, aka “Audrey”
Now when most people hear we have an Executive Producers’ Assistant on a production, they’ll invariably ask: “What the hell do you need an assistant for?”. Well, the obvious answer is: “Everything.” Once we roll into prep, production, and post, Executive Producers like me are far too busy to deal with certain aspects of life others take for granted. Things like grabbing lunch, sending out emails, and combing my hair become tasks that no longer find room on my suddenly busy schedule. Here a good EPA can be counted upon to pick up the slack. But there’s a difference between a good assistant and a great assistant. A good assistant solves problems. A great assistant anticipates and addresses issues BEFORE they can become problems. A great assistant excels in other areas as well, demonstrating a unique skill set that might go unnoticed – until the situation demands it. Alison, for instance, in addition to her various inter-office talents, is blessed with an uncanny sense of direction, terrific sunglasses, and has trained as a security professional. For the duration of this production, she will be my bodyguard, accompanying me to and from set and to various high-profile functions. You may not notice her because she’ll blend into the shadows (she spent a summer in Kyoto interning as a ninja) but, should you attempt any sudden moves in my direction, she WILL TAKE YOU DOWN!
Fortunately today, I didn’t need her to kick anyone’s ass for me. Instead, I required her driving skills, uncanny sense of direction, and knowledge of the local retailers in order to secure a new power cord for my laptop. We took a ride to Staples where the weary saleswoman walked us over to the appropriate section and offered up a wholly inappropriate device. Of course, I didn’t know it was inappropriate. But you know who did? That’s right. Alison! Despite the saleswoman’s insistence that it WAS the correct power cord, Alison would not be deterred, quietly insisting the saleswoman was mistaken. And, sure enough, she was! IF I’d bought the recommend power cord, my laptop would have died and I would have had to make a return visit. But, fortunately, Alison was with me. She anticipated and addressed the issue before it became a problem. Amazing.
In addition, she’s also a budding you writer. I intend to take her under my wing and mentor her to the point where, eventually, she will be able to step in and assume all of my writing duties on the show, leaving me even more time for my intensive weekly fantasy football research.
Upon our return to the office, Alison coordinated lunch as well (seeing as I’d complicated matters by insisting we order barbecue), then assumed navigation duties as I drove us to Barque (http://barque.ca/main-menu/) to pick up our order.
Eating lunch together like a proper family.
Lunch was my treat today as a thank you to the office gang (and to make them all hugely indebted to me) – but it almost wasn’t as the machine wouldn’t accept my credit card. Usually, in situations like these, an assistant is relied upon to create a diversion while a producer makes good his escape with the take-out order – but, on this occasion, I had enough cash to cover it it so that proved unnecessary.
We all sat down together in the conference room and enjoyed some great brisket, ribs, wings, chicken. And spinach salads because we belied they were good for us.
I spent the entire afternoon searching my laptop for my rewrite of the pilot. The ENTIRE afternoon! And I still couldn’t find it. In retrospect, I could have saved time by just rewriting the script again.
More auditions headed our way tonight!
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