It happens every time. Not usually in the early morning and rarely late at night, but in the afternoon, around the time schools let out, it happens. We're all calmly working our way down the call sheet from each scene to the next. The AD barks; the grips and electrics wrangle; vanity primps and PA's scurry. We're all just doing our jobs and it happens every time.
We acquire spectators. A group of onlookers, anywhere from a gaggle to a crowd forms at the periphery of set, held at bay by the words and glares the production department's junior members. They stare. They gawk. They mumble. They ask useless questions. They ask to be extras. They demand to meet whoever's famous. Most of all, they distract the crew and waste the PAs' time.
Now, I can forgive people for being curious. A location shoot is a big deal. There's trucks, strangers and all kinds of unfamiliar activity. I can understand wanting to know what movie it is that's shooting on your block. What I don't understand is why people will stand at the edge of a set and watch the ongoing work for hours and hours.
There's an old joke in the industry, "What do movies and sausage have in common?"
"You may love them both when they're done but you never want to see them being made, and largely for the same reason."
Watching a movie being made is probably the most boring activity in which one can engage. You'd be more entertained if you hung out at the football stadium when they put the logos in the end zone. Then you at least to get to watch paint dry and grass grow at the same time.
And, if you ever ask someone on location what it is that they're shooting and they reply, "Mayonnaise commercial," please understand that that you are the butt of an inside joke. We tell people that because, no matter how fascinating a shoot might seem, no one is going to hang around to watch a mayonnaise commercial being made.
More succinctly, "Mayonnaise commercial" is industry parlance for "Fuck off."