Monday, October 29, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Secret To Success.

This couldn't be more wrong...

I'm at work. Typical day, blah blah blah, when one of the regular electricians on this show sits next to me and strikes up a conversation. I haven't worked with these guys in a while, so we do the usual industry small talk dance ("How've you been?" "Keeping busy out there?" "What other shows are you working on?" etc,). However, one of his questions did kind of stick out during our pleasantries.

"Do you fee like you've improved a lot in the past few months?"
"Um, what?"
"Well, between you and me, I was just talking to the Gaffer and the Best Boy and they both said they feel like you've gotten a lot better at the job than the last time they worked with you a couple of months ago."

I really didn't know what to say to that. Truth be told, I haven't noticed any major "epiphanies" when it came to doing my job recently, nor have I encountered any jobs bigger than the ones I have been doing that requires me to "step up my game" so to speak, but I kind of didn't want to tell him that. If they think I'm a better juicer than I was despite me being exactly the same, then I wasn't about to open my mouth and change their opinion.

"Well, I dunno," I replied, sidestepping the question, "Why don't you tell me? You worked with me a few months ago. Do you see any difference between me then and me now?"

He doesn't even have to give it any thought. "Yes," was his immediate reply, "Not that you sucked before, but I do have to admit, you seem better at the job than you did the last time I saw you."

"Hm... Interesting..." And I wasn't lying either. I did find it interesting. Because I was doing one thing differently: I stopped giving a crap.

While I enjoyed working with this particular crew, the amount of overturn was slightly unusual. As Michael has said time and time again, crews in this business are a tribal thing; you may tag along with one for years before they'll finally give you a spot as a full-time member. However, this group was a little different. I've day-played with them for a little while now, and barely anyone is left from the original group of guys I met the very first time I worked with them. But with that, came hope. Each time they crewed up for a new show, I'd cross my fingers that I'll be upgraded from a day-player to a regular. These guys knew me. They liked having me around. The choice would be a no-brainer. But for some reason or another, I never got the call. Instead, they'd go with an odd combination of guys from the previous shows mixed in with people they've never met before.

I still held on hope though... And during the last show, I busted my ass whenever I was lucky enough to get a call from them. I was attentive. I followed instructions to a tee. I stuck through the long, mind numbing days, as well as the long, grueling ones. And I never once complained about it. I was on my "A" game every day I was on that crew, knowing that a number of these guys wouldn't be here on the next job* and that the Gaffer and the Best Boy would be looking for people to fill in the void. I pretty much did everything I could to prove myself worthy  besides jump up and down with a sign that said, "PICK ME! PICK ME! RIGHT HERE!" Even all the other guys were saying I was a shoe-in as a regular for the next show.

But as that show ended and the next one started, I wasn't on the list. I didn't make the cut. Instead, I was to resume my faithful position as a day-player. And not only that, but I was now even further down that list, learning that first calls were going to guys who's never worked with this crew before.

That's when I gave up. I didn't dwell on their choices. I didn't drive myself crazy wondering "Why not me?" I learned long ago that I may not always want to know the answer to that question. Instead, I just threw my hands up in the air and said, "Whatever." Sure, it hurt, but I took it as a sign to move on. I'll take their calls if/when they make it down to my part of the list, but in the meantime, I need to work on diversifying my list of Gaffers and stop hoping that this one will call me.

And when they did end up calling me to come in and day-play, I came in and did my job; no more, no less. I decided that trying the best I can and busting my butt for these guys 14 hours a day wasn't worth it. But I'll do my job because I'm a professional and I need the paycheck. I just won't be the one who's on set all the time or knows where everything is. And damn it, bring on the "she's always at crafty" comments because I'm getting a snack whenever I feel like it. I've already made my peace with not coming back.

But apparently, not giving a shit is what gets you hired.

"Anyway, keep up the good work," my colleague told me as he got up to get another cup of coffee, "I think you might be one of the regulars on the next show..."


* ...due to leaving of their own volition. They had another show lined up as soon as this one wrapped. I wasn't poaching their spot!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Warning! The Lights Get Hot!

I'm on a stage for a fairly simple shoot, surrounded by "old timers" in every department. Guys who have been around for ages and have the balding heads and beer guts to prove it. Most of them give me curious looks throughout the morning, but for the most part, leave me alone. But I could tell that a few of them think of me as nothing more than a newbie; someone they'll have to annoyingly keep an eye on. Granted, I'll be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn still about this business, but I can tell my ass apart from a Tweenie... Despite these guys assuming otherwise.

Whatever. I was there as a favor to a friend more than anything and didn't give a rats ass to what these grumpy guys thought of me. I just wanted to do my job and get the hell out of there when the day was done.

Since this was such a simple set up and most of the lighting was left up from the day before, I spent most of my time sitting by the dimmer board, keeping my distance from the herd. I got the distinct feeling that these guys didn't think much of me, so I returned the favor and left them alone.

I still did my job, though. I am a professional, after all. I panned the occasional light and flipped switches off and on when requested. And since I was the only one there who knew how to use a lighting console, most of my tasks included pushing buttons and bringing up channels. Yeah, it was just that easy of a day.

Then the Gaffer asks for a double to be taken out of one of the lights. I glance around and realize that I'm the only one on this side of the stage, so I "copy" the Gaffer and head towards it.

I'm only a few feet from the light when I hear rapid footsteps behind me. But I think nothing of it and continue on with my task.

As my hand reached the top of the light, however, I hear a voice screaming, "Wait! Wait! Wait!" But it was too late. In one swift motion, I had already taken out the double scrim from the light as requested.

I turned around, with the offending scrim still in the jaws of the needle nose pliers I had used to pull it out, and faced my colleague who had beads of sweat forming on his face from chasing me halfway down the set.

"What?" I was starting to worry I had done something horribly wrong since he had so urgently tried to stop me.

"Oh..." He now paused, catching his breath and looking at the scrim dangling from my pliers. "I was going to stop you from pulling the scrim out with your bare hands."

"Um... What?"

"Yeah. I saw that you weren't wearing gloves and was going to stop you because the scrims get hot."

" ' The scrims... get hot...?' " I was desperately trying to understand where he was going with this.

"Yes. The scrims get hot from being in the lights. I didn't want you to burn yourself. But I see you used pliers. Good." And with that, he retreated back to whatever corner of the stage he was at before.

All I could do was just stand there, scrim still in hand, watching him walk away in disbelief...

Did he really think I didn't know the lights get hot??

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