“I’m going to give you $1700.”
That’s what I tell my students when I spend an entire period explaining my equipment checkout system. It’s a simple system, really, but it’s probably one of the most important lessons that I teach.
Before students even lay a hand on any of our equipment, I have them sign an Equipment Agreement Form.
I have them take this form home, have them sign it and have their parents sign it as well. That way, the parents know exactly how much they’re on the hook for if the student breaks or loses something due to their negligence.
After the form comes back signed, only then can they check out equipment. All of our equipment has some sort of name. They range from “Oprah” to “Phineas”. That way, when I ask where “Phineas” is, that should ring a bell. It’s a lot easier than asking: “Who checked out Canon Vixia #3?” *side note – it’s a big deal when students get to name the equipment. A very big deal.
After they gather all of the equipment they need, they sign out all of the equipment on a form similar to this:
This is my go-to book in the room. Check out is not complete until I initial it. I need to know what’s going in and out of the room and, by signing it, we’re all on the same page (pun intended). And, if someone forgot to sign something in/out or a there’s a piece of malfunctioning equipment, I can go back on the log and see who had the equipment last.
When they return the equipment, they need to have me sign it back in. There was a time where the students would just leave the gear by the door or just throw it in the equipment room without telling me. Not a good idea. Again, I’m giving them $1700.
I also have a list of rules that I lay out for them. Any violation of these rules results in loss of shooting privileges for at least one day:
- Equipment checkout must have my initials. Not a producer’s, not another teacher’s, not even the superintendent’s, my signature. If I have a sub for that day, I will accept his/her signature.
- When you check in the equipment, you have to get my initials. That way, I know it’s safe and sound.
- Even if you’re shooting inside the TV room itself, you need my signature.
- Leaving equipment unattended…even in the room and even if the Student Resource Officer is sitting by it, I don’t consider that “safe” and you’ll still be subjected to a loss of shooting privileges.
- Telling me “oh (insert producer’s name here) was in the room. She said she’d tell you that I checked it in.” is unacceptable. I trust my producers with a lot of things, $1700 worth of gear isn’t one of them. You signed it out, it’s your responsibility to sign it back in.
- If you know you’re going to be late the next morning, figure out a way to get the gear back into school. A lot of the times, we need that equipment for 1st period class. That, or you have a memory card that someone will need to edit with.
I could go high-tech and scan equipment in/out, but this is the system that works best for me. I’m sure you’ll find a system that works best for you.