The New Girl Nice

new-girlI had the opportunity to spend Friday afternoon and evening with Zooey Deschanel, star of the hit Fox show The New Girl. She filmed an upcoming episode at one of my companies’ locations, and the producers cast my business partner Jon Torerk and several of BioMechanixLA trainers in the show. I can’t give away too much more than that, except to say that the plot is really funny, other high wattage stars were there, and a village of production people swarmed the location.

Zooey is her own personal brand. She’s quirky, comedic and very assertive. She’s also really pretty with inimitable style.

I’ve been working with the show’s location scout for about three weeks, putting all the details together on our side – including casting and logistics, and had met the technical team and set designers. Every single interaction had plenty of smiles, a good amount of socializing, and always topped off with a hug or hearty handshake.  No matter how pleasant everyone was, it did not prepare for the dynamics of the day.

The start of an eventful day

Trucks and equipment pulled up at 1 PM, stretching several blocks long. An army of what appeared to be about 150 crew members began trickling in until the place was swarming. In less than three hours, whole sets were built, the environment was transformed, and a few rooms of what looked like air traffic control stations were set up. The shoot ended ten hours later.

What was most remarkable about the entire production was how NICE everyone was. I mean everyone. The director, the sound people, camera people, grips, guys that move stuff, and people who suddenly appear with food trucks filled with fresh delicious meals made before your eyes, and the location scouts who were on their feet for hours and hours.

Everybody made conversation, told stories, interacted with my staff, asked questions, compared their ice cream treats, showed us where there was food and more food, and loved answering questions about what they’d done that landed them where they are now. They were all happy people. Happy to work that hard. Happy to do what they did – at every level. Happy to learn about us and hear our stories.

I’ve worked in television and radio for decades – but I’ve never done a sit-com or spent that long with a cast and crew in one day. The currency that got everyone through it was being nice. Thoughtful, funny, generous, kind, patient and totally focused on doing whatever it would take to get the job done right – with a priority on keeping all the relationships intact, and actually improved.

After hearing so much grief about bosses, co-workers, subordinates and clients from so many people in business, I think I have an approach that might change the workplace dynamic. If you’re struggling with relationships at work, how about going Hollywood and being nice?

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