Thursday, March 26, 2015

And It All Comes Down...

Recently, Michael Taylor, big brother to Hollywood blogs everywhere, had a show end. It's no surprise. We've all been there. If you're working in this industry and have never been on a show that ended, then congratulations on what must be your first day/show in the business.

But while getting laid off is inevitable in our line of work (the camera assistant on the very first set I was ever on told me, "I get laid off every day.") that doesn't mean some endings aren't harder than others. And this seemed to be one of those times for Michael. He knew he'd never work with this exact group of people again. And he knew the chances of finding magic like that on another show were slim.

But what he didn't know was that I was watching. I had figured out which show he was on long before he announced the title on his blog (after all, how many shows end a season with a bathtub crash?) and some time after (a long time after, actually) I found myself on the same lot, stationed ridiculously close to the stage with "Melissa & Joey" emblazoned on the elephant doors.

The next few months had me drifting in and out of there as is the life of a perpetual day player, but my eyes would always linger a little longer than necessary whenever I passed by those open doors on the way to or from my own stage. A long time reader of his blog, I wanted to catch glimpses of the lights he'd precariously/carefully hung and then wrote about, despite it looking just like every other sitcom rig I've ever seen.

Then news came of the show's inevitable end and I watched as it all came down. Day by day, every time I passed by those elephant doors, which were now perpetually open to facilitate the process of wrap, the stage looked emptier and emptier. Set walls were gone, lights came down, and soon, even the scissor lifts and carts that were the only constant during the whole demolition process were gone, leaving only piles of miscellaneous items on the stage floor.

At that point, as years of work was dismantled in just a matter of days, I was on the lot almost daily and wondered how odd the stage I had stalked from afar would look once it was completely empty and hollow.

Only that day never came.

As the stage became emptier and emptier each time I passed by, I had walked by expecting this glance to by my last as I was sure it had to have been totally cleared out by now, only to find that the piles I saw on my previous pass had grown instead of diminished. And they grew again when I passed by once more a little later. And before I knew it, a whole new set had done up.

I couldn't believe it. Melissa & Joey hadn't even been out of the building a full day before another show came and took its place.


I wasn't naive enough to think that nothing would inhabit that stage ever again. After all, a piece of property like that sitting around unused looses money for the studio, but it was a little odd to witness another show moving in before the last owner even got a chance to shut the door behind them.

It's just another reminder that Hollywood doesn't care. Stage 14 was a place 120+ people had called home for the past five years, but as the saying goes, "the show(s) must go on." No time for mourning. No moment of silence for what once was. No adjustment period. Just an unending stream of disassembling and re-assembling. Of acquiring and releasing. A constant cycle of out with the old and in with the new.

That, is the core of Hollywood.

It doesn't give a shit. It don't got time for that. It doesn't care that you spent five or ten or twenty, or even fifty years here. It has no loyalties to you or anyone else. It's an unstoppable force that churns out hits and flops, one right after another. And it'll continue on whether you and I are here to help it or not.

Eventually, the show I was on called it quits for the season, only I didn't feel the same melancholia as Michael did when his show ended. I wasn't around this season long enough to form an attachment to any department other than my own, and I knew I'd see those guys around the corner. This was one of the times I wasn't too sad to see a show end.

But as we were in the middle of wrapping out our stage, we had to suddenly stop what we were doing and move everything we had on the ground to the other side of the stage. We had a few more days of wrap left, but the new show scheduled to come in after us was moving in today and they needed some room.

Just like Michael's show, Hollywood couldn't wait to get us out of here so it could get a new one in. Our cable wasn't even cold yet.

Hollywood can be such a bitch.

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