Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thank Your Crew.

I just finished watching the Oscars and while this year's telecast wasn't too bad, the most memorable moment that stood out to me was actually from a commercial.

Sure, it's a little unrealistic and undoubtedly glamorized (not to mention such a blatant ad), but I thought it was nice to have us little thought of below-the-liners acknowledged on a night that's usually so focused on actors and their movies.

In a way, I also guess it's a smart move for Diet Coke to make an ad that pulls at heartstrings of often forgotten crew members. After all, while I may not personally drink the stuff, I can't remember a set, no matter what the budget, where a can of Diet Coke wasn't available at crafty. I think the company owes our industry a big thank you for being such a large part of their revenue stream.

And if any of you reading this win an Oscar one day, don't forget to thank your crew.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Who Gives A Fuck About An Oxford Comma?"

Hm, I'm starting to see a pattern with these guys...

They like to abuse their Dolly Grips.  :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Are You Worth It?

Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it.

Sometimes I'll sit around and think about old friends who aren't in this business. The ones who seem happy getting engaged, getting married and having kids. The ones who have a steady, predictable job that lets them have a life when they want to instead of working all hours of the day.

Sometimes I'll think about the older guys I work with. The ones who've been in this business for decades and are still doing the same job they were when they started. Will I still be "just a juicer" twenty or thirty years down the line? Some of them seem content (for the most part) with where they are. They count down the hours left in the day until they can go home to their kids and understanding spouse.

But some of them have loved and lost. Divorced papers have been signed, child support has been paid, and "I get the kids this weekend" is what they're excited about come Friday night. Lovers and family have come and gone, but the only constant in their life is work. Sometimes I look at these men and wonder if I'll end up like them.

And I wonder, if it's all worth it.

People come from every corner of the globe with a sparkle in their eye, just begging for a chance to work in this business. And most of them get their asses handed to them. It's a tough town, but for some reason, I seem to be defying all odds and surviving. I'm making an okay living at it with no sign of slowing down.

But as we all know, things can change in an instant in this industry. What if this is as good as it's going to get for me? What if I never get to where I want to be in this business? What if I'm so busy trying to climb that ladder that I wake up twenty years from now and realize that I haven't gone anywhere. That life has passed me by because I was unwilling to give up a moment of work? Am I better off just bailing out now, get a regular 9 to 5 job and pop out some kids so I'd at least have something ten years down the line?

To get where you want to be professionally, I've been told that you need to put your head down and work hard. And in this crazy, fucked up business we're in and love, you're supposed to take every job that comes your way because you never know when the next one will come, and more importantly, you never know where it might lead. I've taken plenty of seemingly bullshit jobs over the years that have surprisingly ended up being some of the best decisions I've ever made for my career.

Right now, it seems like all I do is work. All I think about is work. Because, let's face it, besides the fact that I'm trying to work my way up as fast as possible, I love my job. I love this industry. I love what I do. Some of my co-workers may think of me as "boring" since I don't have any exciting hobbies to go home to over the weekend, but while they work to live, right now, I guess I live to work.

But a small part of me, just a tiny little piece, believes there's a chance that sometime in the future, I'll look around and realize I didn't make it. That I'm still doing the same job, only now I work to live instead of the other way around. That I sacrificed my youth for a dream that didn't pan out. That I've been so busy working on a go-nowhere career over the years that I forgot I was supposed to get someone to come home to.

And that I'll sit around and wonder, was it all worth it?

Happy Valentine's, Y'all!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fun With Non Sequiturs.

From XKCD.

"Did you just feel that??"

I look at my colleague, who's now wide eyed, standing a couple feet away from me, wondering what the hell he's talking about.

"No... Feel what?"

"The ground shake!"

"No... Really?"

"I'm tellin ya, the ground just shook!"

Well, we are in California after all and the occasional earthquake is the price we pay for living in perpetual sunshine. Still, I was standing right next to the guy and hadn't felt a thing.

We both instinctively look at the ground, and I notice his foot's on a piece of 220v cable that's powering up the 20K light we had just set up. While such a thing isn't enough to make the ground tremor, there's enough current flowing through that cable to make it "hum" a bit, and you can definitely feel the vibration through your shoe if you're standing on it. I was just about to suggest to him that perhaps it was the cable he felt and not the earth moving, when he shushed me.

"Do you hear that?"

We both stand in silence for a moment.


It was faint, but it was a sound any juicer worth their salt would instantly recognize. The paddles connecting the cable to the light was arcing.* Easy fix. I just pushed the two connectors in more and the sound stopped.

"You didn't notice that before I pointed it out, did you?" asked my co-worker, in a somewhat accusing way.


"That's something you should've noticed on your own if I wasn't here." His voice and body language now oozed with smugness. As if somehow, I had failed the test in detecting the non-threatening situation on my own and thank goodness he was here or else the whole building would've burned down and we would've had to stop shooting.**

At that point, I was completely confused on how this conversation turned such a sharp corner.

"No. I didn't notice it." Honesty. Yeah, let's try that for a second here. "I was more focused on wondering why you felt the ground shake."

That's when things got weird and he gave me a quizzical look.

"What are you talking about?"

"You said you felt the ground shake a second ago."

"No I didn't!"

Uh... WHAT???

He continued on. "But you didn't notice that loose paddle, did you?"

I stood there, even more confused than I was before, trying to figure out what the heck I could even say in a situation like this. But before my brain could even form the words, "You said you felt the ground shake!" the guy gave me look along with a "you better shape up" finger point as he walked away towards crafty.

The only thing I could do then was just stand there and wonder, "What the fuck just happened??"

*Long, electrical mumbo-jumbo short, the pieces of copper in the paddles weren't connecting properly, but electricity was still "jumping" from one connection to the other, which we call "arcing."

**Not all arcing on set is non-threatening, but this one was. The worst damage it could do if it was left like that for a long period of time is maybe wreck a replaceable paddle. Granted, it's much better if it was detected before that happened, but this was also on a show where we were basically disconnecting, moving, and reconnecting the cables every half hour or so, which doesn't leave much time for any damage to be done before it's repositioned again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It Sucks When...

... You're finally feeling super comfortable at your job now. You know the crew well and get along with everyone. The big, intimidating looking pieces of equipment you were once worried about handling, you're now making your bitch. You know your gear and know how to use it quickly, efficiently and almost effortlessly.

Basically, you get the feeling you're no longer considered to be "green" anymore and are slowly working your way to veteran status.

But then your boss, during a casual conversation, describes you as "new"... and your colleagues nod in agreement.

Damn. Talk about an ego check...

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