Friday, November 6, 2015

"What's The Problem?"

Does anyone else think it's fucked up when at the end of the night, there's about a half dozen guys milling around the truck, backpacks on, just itching to go home while there's still one person on set wrapping?

I've had that happen to me too many times. All too often, I'll return to the truck at the end of the night, discovering that everyone else was gathering their stuff or even taking off for home while I was still cleaning up the mess of cable or lights that was left behind, leaving me to scramble for my things so we can lock up for the night.

All too often, I wonder how I ended up loading the last of the carts on to the truck by myself at the end of the day while everyone else is already headed for their cars. We're still all on the clock, so why am I the only one still working?

I got super frustrated with this the other night when I was filling in as the Best Boy. One by one, six guys came up to me at the truck some time after they called wrap, asking me what else needed to be done before we can all finally go home. And to each one, I asked, "Is everything all cleaned up and left as we found it?" Six yeses were my answer.

So some minutes later, everyone gathered around the truck, backpacks on and the next day's callsheet in hand. I did a head count before dismissing them all for the night just to make sure I wasn't forgetting anyone. No man gets left behind, right?

"One, two, three, for, five, six... Wait, where's Juicer 7?" I asked.

"Oh, he's still wrapping cable inside."

Um... What?

Since when does having unwrapped cable left count as being "cleaned up"?

And when did it become okay for SIX guys to be standing around the truck, begging to leave for the night when one was still working?!

That's when I started to get pissed off and sent a few guys back in to help him.

Meanwhile, one of the other guys looked at me and said, "What's the problem?"

What's the problem?


The problem is that apparently, everyone thinks it's okay for one of their fellow colleagues to continue working on their own while everyone else got to go home and collect the same pay.

The problem is that while I'm thinking or camaraderie and teamwork, everyone else is apparently thinking it's every man for himself.

The problem is that when I ask SIX PEOPLE if every thing's cleaned up and in order, and get SIX YESES, I find that those SIX YESES ARE LIES.

"What's the problem?"

Fuck you.

That's the problem. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I Loved Them All, But Not Enough To Stay.

It was a damn good crew.

I'd been a Best Boy* a few times now and a juicer even more, and few shows ran as smoothly as this one.

Everyone was laid back and always jovial, trusting each other to do their jobs, and despite me and my compadres slipping in mid-season, we fit in like we were part of the family all along.

I'd go out for drinks with the Art Department and have coffee with the Accountant. Transpo practically used our truck as a clubhouse when we were on location and I often took naps on the couch in the Prop Office.

An the UPM** was a very understanding guy. Sure, he'd get squinty when you asked for special equipment and extra manpower, but he always heard you out and even if he didn't give you what you wanted, he'd work it out so we at least got what we needed.

The hours were great, too. Enough to make a living, but not enough that you couldn't have a life, and the ADs put together schedules that actually made sense.

It was a pretty sweet show to be on and the people there were great. I loved them all.

...But not enough to stay.

I never totally got along with my boss, and so when the next season of the show came around again, I was faced with a choice: return to the show with a boss I didn't love but a crew that I did, or start a new one with a nicer boss but a lower job title.

I chose the latter.

While I would have loved to stay with the cool crew and a keep the higher job title, I realized that every time I thought about returning to work for the more difficult boss, a small sense of dread would form in the pit of my stomach.

I figured that couldn't be a good sign.

I felt sad that I would no longer see those guys every day, and I'd have to work hard to prove myself on this new crew. But I feel like in the end, I made the right decision.

I may have lost one family, but I've slowly starting to gain a new one.

*Or more politically correct, ACLT, or "Assistant Chief Lighting Technician".
** Unit Production Manager. Aka: the guy that controlls the budget. His job is basically granting/denying you stuff.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jucier Math, Pt. 3.

There are 168 hours in a week.
I'm at work for at least 65 of them.
I'm on the road commuting to and from set an average of 10 hours a week.
Usually sleeping in my car for about 4.5 hours a week.*
And sleeping in my own bed about 48 hours a week.
I'm out around town causing havoc around 10 hours a week.**
That leaves an average of less than 5 hours a day where I'm awake and at home.
Minus an hour each day for showering, getting dressed and other personal grooming.
Minus another hour to account for the mundane tasks of doing laundry, paying the bills, loading the dishwasher, making the bed, etc.
Which gives me about an average of 2.35 hours a day*** of free time, which quite honestly, mostly consists of me in front of a screen of some sort (whether it be a Kindle, TV, computer, phone, movie theater, whatever).
Which begs the question, how the fuck did my apartment end up so messy when I have so little time??

Previously. And previously.

*Despite the long drive times, that's still me leaving early to avoid the worst part of morning traffic. Which means catching up on my sleep in the parking lot before work.
**And by causing havoc, I mean going to the bank, grocery store, dry cleaners, getting the oil changed in my car, and all the other errands that life consists of.
***Realistically, this isn't divided up evenly over 7 days due to work and (lack of) weekday life.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fork In The Road.

I came upon a fork in the road. One led to a steady position as a lamp operator on a very well known show, while the other led to a higher position on a lesser known show.

I stood for the longest time at the damn fork, not knowing which path to take. One would lend a better job title to my resume while the other held a show name anyone would recognize whether they watched it or not.

The lamp op position held the possibility of advancement. But just a possibility. Not a guarantee. And nothing official as I'd only be covering for this person or that person for whatever reason until their absence become more permanent. In other words, I'd be the understudy of the department, ready to step in whenever needed. And I'd be working under familiar people who I respect on a creatively fascinating show.

The Best Boy position on the other path is one I've done before. And while I loved loved loved the job and the relief it gave my back from lifting coils of cable, I could've gotten along better with my boss, who rarely ever saw eye to eye with me on how to run things, making everything that much more difficult. There was a battle every day.

So which path do I chose?

The one with the lower job title on a prestigious show with good people?

Or the one that leads to a smaller show with a higher job title and a boss I don't necessarily like?

I'm standing at this crossroads, not knowing which path to take. I know I need to pick one soon and start my next journey, but I still have some time before the sun goes down. So for now, I think I'll stand here, staring at my choices, just a bit longer...

Sunday, August 16, 2015


I need a 10K going through the window.



Where's it going?

It's going [schkkschskch] in the we-[strcchhhkskksch]


[skckkschgcshhskkkscks] I got [schhfckkschkkschshchshrshhcksackfffkkgch] window.

Steppage. Can you go again, Gaffer?

It's going in the west bedroom window.


Is anyone getting that light?

Yeah, I [gcshkkshcksgskshcskfskacksschshsshkkcshgk]

I'll take that as a yes.


Yeah, I have the light. Can someone help me with the stand though?





Who the he-[gskkcshschhskchsshcagschhchsackkshsksa]








*"Steppage" is when someone steps on what you're saying over the radio. Film set walkies operate in half-duplex mode, which means you can either talk or listen, but not at the same time. So when someone's talking and someone "steps in" with a comment of their own, all everyone else hears is static. Loud, annoying, ear drum crushing static.

**And that, my friends, was how my whole last week went.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Weather In L.A.

They say there's no weather in L.A.
That the seasons don't change.
Just because our winters don't snow.
And our summers aren't humid.
But we have seasons.
They change.
As sure as my next show will end, they change.
As sure as I change, they change.
The differences may be subtle, but they're there.
You can feel it in your bones.
You can see it in the sky.
You can sense it in the air.
The days get darker.
The nights longer.
The sun doesn't shine as bright.
And the moon hangs low.
Your body feels tired.
Exhausted and melancholy.
But soon enough,
When you've accepted the gray,
The light gradually comes back.
Little by little.
Day by day.
The sky gets brighter.
The nights not as long.
The morning sun makes skyscrapers shimmer like diamonds on the horizon.
And the moon takes its place at night.
You feel lighter,
With a bounce in your step.
Flowers bloom and the grass under your feet turns green again.
The dry, beige strands becoming nothing but a distant memory.
But as soon as you get used to the warmth on your face,
And the cloudless blue sky,
The breeze turns cool.
The clouds move in.
A shiver runs through you.
And the rain begins to fall.
The days get darker.
The nights longer.
The sun doesn't shine as bright.
And the moon hangs low.
You can sense it in the air.
You can see it in the sky.
You can feel it in your bones.
As sure as I change, the seasons change.
As sure as my next show will end, they change.
They change.
And I change with them.

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