Thursday, July 21, 2016

I Need A Personal Cup Holder.

I might have to resort to getting one of these.

I have a legitimate question for everyone:

Let's say it's been a hectic day on set so far and you're really thirsty. You walk over to the coolers and grab that nice, icy soda you've been craving for the last half hour. You crack it open with a satisfying "pfssst" of the tab and take a refreshing swig.... And that's as far as you get before all hell breaks loose on the radio again and the Gaffer's calling out orders like a stoned frat boy at a drive thru.

What the fuck do you do with the opened can of soda?*

You don't want to chug it.
You can't put it on top of your set cart because you have OCD colleagues who'll toss it out.
You can't put it on a shelf of a lamp cart because that's where you pull lights from and spilling is a high possibility.
In fact, putting it on any cart is generally a bad idea.
Putting it on set furniture (tables, cabinets, etc) or any type of set dressing for that matter is a no-no.
So is putting it on the back of set walls.
As well as setting it on, or next to, a distro box.
Anywhere else (truck, gold room, etc) is too far away.

Where can you safely set down an open beverage on set? The same question goes for when you just got a plate of food/snack from crafty.

* Dolly grips, I don't want to hear you bragging about your own personal cup holders on the dolly.  :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Lunch Times.

When the company breaks us for a one hour lunch...
"Ugh. Why is it one hour? I want to get out of here faster! Just give us a half hour lunch so we can wrap a half hour earlier and I can get home that much sooner."

But when the company breaks us for a half hour lunch...
"Ugh. Thirty minutes? I've been running around all morning! A half hour isn't long enough to for us to get our food and run an errand and/or take a real break."


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I'm A Bossy Ass Bitch.

"Hey, I'm going to set up my station here. Is this a good spot for you to run me a lunch box for power?"

I didn't think much of the wardrobe girl's request, actually appreciating the thoughtful nature of her question. After all, how many times have we cursed other departments for setting up exactly where we don't have easy access to a distro box?

My colleagues, however, had other opinions.

"Sure, we'll run you something right now," replied Juicer 1. Then to us, he says, "Why doesn't she just say she needs a lunch box there? Why did she ask us if it's okay? If she wants one there, she should just tell us."

"Yeah. It's like that article I showed you the other day," Juicer 2 chimes in. "About how women don't ask for what they want?" He then turns to me. "We read this article the other day about how this one company paid their male employees more than their females. When confronted about it, the guy said that after all his years running the company, not one woman ever came in to his office and asked for a raise. But the men would, and that's why they'd get paid more. Women have a tendency to not ask for what they want in the work place. I think they need to be more assertive. Don't you agree, A.J.?"

I stood there for a moment, grateful for colleagues who read articles on inequalities in the workplace and trying to create a dialogue about it instead of hiding under a rock, and at the same time, shocked at how naive and over simplified their solution was.

"Yes, I think overall, there is an issue with women not asking for what they want at work," I started, "but I think if Ms. Wardrobe had just said, 'I need a lunch box here,' you would've probably thought she was a bitch."

Juicer 1 slowly nodded his head in contemplative thought. "Yeah. That's a good point. I hate to admit it, but I that's probably what I'd do." Juicer 2 didn't say anything.

Moments like that echo in my head a lot these days. Over the past several months, I've had a few opportunities to step up in my department. In other words, I've been given the chance to lead instead of follow. And let me tell you, it's been fun. I love being able to run things my way and I absolutely enjoy the perks of being the boss, even if it's only for a short while.

However, as those opportunities arise, I've noticed more and more that critics of my work tend to fall in to two camps: those that think I'm a great leader, and those who think I'm bossy.

Let me preface this by saying that my superiors (and often their bosses as well) think I do a fabulous job. Everyone I've stepped up for wouldn't hesitate to hire me again. I'm proud of the work I do and the results I get, and in the end, that's all that should really matter and fuck the rest, right?*

So why does this bother me so much?

Because there shouldn't be such a distinction between the two ways I'm described. I approach every job the same way and treat my crews the same. So realistically, I should be considered either bossy or a good leader. And yes, while one could argue that the two terms aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, in this case they are since "bossy" is always used in a negative way while "good leader" is always meant as a compliment.

This leads me to wonder if I'm seen as bossy because I'm actually bossy (in every negative sense of the word) or if I'm "bossy" because that's how they describe assertive women? If it's the former, how did I go from being bossy to a good leader (and vise-versa) when I'm doing the same thing on every job and if it's the latter, well shit, where do I go from here?

I've run into issues like this before and when brought up, most men see it as making it a feminist issue when it isn't one and "sometimes a bossy bitch is just a bossy bitch." So how do we address a problem when those who perpetuate it don't realize they're perpetuating it?

Am I a bitch? Am I a good leader? Am I bossy? Or am I just an assertive woman?

Do the latter two mean the same thing?

*In theory. I'm not even going to get in to the fact how rumors circulating around about me being a bossy bitch will affect my future job prospects.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


At some point last year, the unthinkable happened and I landed on a job full time, putting my perpetual day-player status on hold for several months. As such, my usual 3-4 day work weeks turned into full time 65+ hour work weeks with little time to spare that wasn't spent inside the walls of a sound stage.

With virtually no free time left, I fell behind on a lot of things, like housekeeping (not that I was ever caught up to begin with), keeping in tough with friends, and blog reading, just to name a few. Now with my show ended and the tsunami of pilots that came with it slowing down to a trickle, I can finally attempt to catch up with my neglected reading, and I spent the day gorging on the past several months of Michael Taylor's blog (hey, some of you binge on Game of Thrones; I binge on Blood Sweat and Tedium).

His recent(ish) sharing of a reader's tale of how he was shushed over ice on set reminded me of the most ridiculous shushing moment I've witnessed so far. We were shooting downtown in a new hipster loft (aka: new studio apartments made from converted warehouse space) so the square room and cinder block walls made any sound echo and magnify. Which no one really minded or paid much attention to until we were between set ups.

Now, being a film crew in a small space meant you were going to have some noise, but we were doing our best to keep it down to a minimum out of respect for the neighbors. That, however, didn't keep the AD from yelling at us to be quiet and constantly shushing us.

Funny thing is, the noise didn't stop despite him almost hyperventilating from all the shushing.

At this point, I should mention that while we did our best to use our "inside voices," there was also a large piece of crumpled up blackwrap laying on the concrete floor. Add that to about two dozen people coming and going, accidentally kicking it around in a small room that is built like an echo chamber, and the rustling from an unassuming piece of blackwrap is going to sound loud.

So yes, the AD was getting quite pissed off at us for not keeping it down when he really should have been yelling at a piece of foil.

After a few minutes, I tried to explain to him that his frustration should be aimed at an inanimate object, but he just glared at me and kept "shhh-ing" so I went about my own business. I thought about ending the ridiculousness by simply picking the damn thing up, but with so many people scattering about, I'd be like Simba in a stampede.

Eventually, I think the AD finally understood why his pleads for working quietly seemed to be ignored, and by that point, everyone had more or less settled down. That's when he walked over to the offending piece of blackwrap, picked it up off the floor, glared at me and said, "Now, was that so hard?"

ADs. You gotta love 'em.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Get Annoyed When...

...someone comes up to me and says, "Hey, do you know a girl named Sophia? 'Cuz she's a girl and she does electric work too."

It's kind of like asking, "Oh! You're from (enter big city name here)? My ex-roommate from college lived there. Do you know Mike?" Contrary to popular belief, us female griplectrics don't have a secret club where we meet once a week to eat junk food and braid each others hair. Just 'cuz she's a girl doesn't mean I know her.

Monday, March 21, 2016

There Is A Difference.

I'm fortunate enough to be working in this industry in a time where the boys club of grip and electrics is more welcoming of having females in their mix. While there are definitely times when I know I'm not even considered for a job because of my gender, there are some people out there who don't even think twice about it (or they do and hire me anyway) and have no issues welcoming me into their crew. As difficult as things are for a woman trying to make it in this department now, I can't even imagine how much harder it must have been for those who came before me.

However, despite some people who are willing to hire us, we still have a loooooong way to go before we're seen as actual equals. I know many of you guys out there will say you see no difference between a male colleague and a female one and "everyone's treated the same" on your crew, but I'm here to tell you, that while I know you mean well, you need to open your fucking eyes. 

Because no matter how good your intentions are, and whether you realize it or not, there is a difference between how we're treated. No matter whose set we're on.

Have you ever not been hired because of your gender?
Or not hired because of what you're wearing?
Do they ever discuss what you're wearing at all?
I've been asked countless times if I ever wear heels or dresses, always saying they'd pay me to wear those things to work. Like I'm not even a person, but just someone here for their entertainment. As if asking me to dress like a "real woman" just to satisfy their curiosity of what I'd look like as a feminine version of myself isn't insulting. Yet at the same time, I've been not hired back before because somehow my t-shirt and jeans were deemed "inappropriate and too revealing."
Do they talk about your sexuality? Do they assume you're gay, just because of the job title you hold? Or assume you're a lesbian because you shoot down all the co-workers who ask you out? Because, you know, you're a single woman and therefore the only reason you'd turn down a date is because you play for the other team.
Do they talk about your personal life on set, unprompted?
Ask you why you're single or when the last time you had a boyfriend was and how long the relationship lasted? As if your worth was determined by how much you were wanted by a man. Like you were defined by whether or not you're in a relationship. Or maybe even called asexual because of your singledom. As if any of this is any of their business or plays a part in the job I do.
I've been told I'm a distraction to the crew despite behaving like any other co-worker. Apparently, I'm considered to be a distraction no matter what I do. I'm constantly watched and criticized when those around me often fuck up unnoticed.
Someone is always watching me. Watching me sit at staging. Watching me move a light. Watching me at crafty. Multiple times, I've caught men staring at me as I lift a piece of cable or set a light, saying they're "just watching me work." I often have to be sure my back's turned to a wall before I bend over to tie up a stinger or to plug something in.
I've been assigned to "light duty" jobs because I look like I can't handle the "real work" and then chastised for not being able to do the "real work" I was never given a chance to do. Does anyone ever assume you can't lift something most of your other colleagues can? Is "oh, you're stronger than I thought you were" something you hear often?
If I smile and laugh at the Driver's jokes, they consider me a flirt. If I don't I'm considered to be cold hearted, or a bitch, and our truck ends up parked a quarter mile from set.
If I'm seen at Crafty too much, I'm told I "sure do eat a lot." If I'm not seen at Crafty enough, I must be a "typical girl", watching my weight when I'm anything but "typical".
They send me in to talk to the expendables guy to see if they can get a discount or their order put though faster because I'm a "pretty girl" that can be whored out. And then they get a smug look on their faces when I get the job done, as if they finally found a use for me. Sometimes, it's the sole reason why they keep me around. (Ps. The expendable guy you keep sending me in to "work my womanly charms on"? He's GAY. I get the shit done because take the time to learn their names and I ask nicely.)
I can't stretch my stiff muscles during a long day without feeling self conscious and worried about people staring. If I stretch my arms, will they stare at my breasts? If I bend over to stretch my legs, will they see that as an invitation to stare at my ass? It's normal to see the other guys stretching in the middle of staging. If I do it, I get catcalled.

Unfortunately, there is a difference between me and the other boys on set.

Whether you notice it or not, there is a difference.

And that is why we still have a long ways to go.

*This is the only video of the clip I could find that I could embed. To see a higher quality version, go here. In fact, you should probably take a minute and read the article.
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