Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's Curtains For Me!

Part of my nightly routine, right before I crawl under the covers, is to open up the curtains in my bedroom. I love how the morning sun filters through my window, the light often helping me slowly wake before my alarm officially jars me from my sleep.

And when I get home at night, I close them back up, because you know, pervs and I don't need to be giving my neighbors a peepshow as I change into my PJs.

Unfortunately, in typical me fashion, it took about a week of me doing this curtain open/shutting routine before I realized that since I took a rigging call for the next couple weeks, I actually wake up before the sun comes up, and due to L.A. traffic, I don't make it home until long after it's down.


Now my curtains just stay shut.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


She got the best grades in school.
Which got her into the best college.
Which got her a job in her field of study right after graduation.
Which she stayed at for the better part of a decade.
After which, she decided she had enough of.
She packed what she could and sold the rest.
And bought a one-way ticket to the other side of the world.
She spent the rest of her youth never really finding a home,
but she had everything she needed.
She traveled around the globe, going from one country to another,
one culture to another,
eating and drinking the local food,
visiting old ruins and modern marvels;
making new friends and losing track of the old ones.
Her life was now constantly filled with new sights, experiences, and adventures.
She's admired and envied by everyone,
including strangers who hear her tale,
for being so ballsy and daring and seeing the world.

I am not her.

I got good grades in school.
Which got me into a good college.
Which did basically nothing to get me a job in my field of study after graduation.
But I packed what I could anyway and sold the rest.
Not to travel the world.
But to pursue a dream.
I moved to a city I didn't know.
On a path I didn't know.
Actually, fuck the path.
I had to forge my own.
I didn't drift from one place to another.
I didn't stop to see the sights.
Instead, I signed a lease and never left.
I didn't live out of a backpack.
But an apartment in the Valley.
I turned strangers into friends and colleagues.
And questionable, unpaid jobs into paid ones.
And turned those jobs into a career.
I came to a city of millions as an unknown and found a place for myself.
I sought out an industry notorious for being unable to break into.
And I found myself a way in.
I saw an industry of men who can be unrelenting in keeping it a boys club.
And I fought my way in.

But I will never be admired like she is.
No one will ever ask about my tales of a road less traveled.
I won't be called brave for leaving everything behind like she did.
No one will ask to hear my stories.
Because most people don't know this business like we do.
And don't know the things we give up, leave behind, or the struggles we face.
To the outside, we have a job, just like them.
We have an unrelatable job that seems relatable while she lives out a relatable fantasy.
She left everything to pursue a passion and a dream.
So did I.
But her stories will be heard.
While I sit on the sidelines.
No one will know how similar our lives are.
None of them will care about my tale.
But I do.
And that will have to be enough.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

This Year, I Learned That...

...it's possible to land your dream show.
But that dream show may not be what you thought it'd be.
Those who once cheered for you might turn against you.
And those who you thought didn't care might end up your biggest supporters.
The ones you looked up to might fail you.
But the ones who look up to you might not.
This year, I learned that some friendships may fade, but instead of gaining new ones, sometimes other bonds just get stronger.
I learned that despite someone repeatedly saying they'll always be there for you, sometimes they leave the second you turn around.
But as it turns out, you're better off without them anyway.
I learned that when you leave them to fend on their own, arrogant, pompous bastards will fail.
But despite all the assholery I had to put up with, I'll take no pleasure in their downfall.
There'll be no sly smiles or "I told you so's".
Just a shrug of pity for wasted potential.
I learned that while you think you have nowhere to go, someone might be quietly waiting for the opportunity to take you in.
I learned that sometimes, it's unbelievably good to see an old friend, whether or not you realized you needed them.
...And whether or not they realized it, too.
I learned that when you have a career altering decision, you can agonize over it for ages.
But in the end, you need to learn to follow your instincts.
And sometimes, when you begin to regret your decision, the outcome may change in ways you never thought it would.
In some ways for the worse. But in others for the better.
This year, I learned that I will never have things as together as I'd like them to be.
I realized that there'll never be enough time in the world to do all the things I want to do.
That while I may be loved by all on set, I often wonder if I'm lovable in real life.
In 2015, I learned that one can both be drowning and swimming at the same time.

Here's to getting a little closer to the shore in 2016.

Happy New Year to all.

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.

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