Friday, August 5, 2016
I have tried to get in with this crew for years. I like the Gaffer. I like the projects they choose to do. I like the way they run their ship. And I patiently waited my turn as just a day player* while they went through a revolving door of lamp ops, show after show, always wondering why I wasn't offered a spot on the team over bringing someone on that they didn't know.
Eventually, and finally, that day came and I found myself not only a full time member of their crew, but an invaluable one at that. I fit in better than I thought I would. Long story short, after years of day playing, I finally felt like I had found my people. I had found a home. I belonged.
Not only that, but when the days were busy, I got to bring on people I knew to come and day play with us. Bringing some of my old contacts onto my new job for a day here and there was a great way to keep my friends working and see the occasional familiar face, which brought me comfort. It was kind of like when you move off to college and a friend from back home comes to visit. You're in a new place with new people, so it's super good and revitalizing to see an old friend from your past who knows you so well. But at the same time, you don't want them hanging around too long because you know you really need (and want) to explore this new life on your own. It was a pretty sweet situation I had going on.
So imagine my surprise when my very good friend that I had previously brought in to day play told me that he was offered a full time spot on my Gaffer's next show and he's going to take it.
Wait. Hold on. I need a minute here.
After day playing for five days on the last show, he got offered a full time spot while I had to wait FIVE YEARS for mine.
And not only that, but while my friend and I obviously know some of the same crews, this one was mine. It may sound weird and petty, but this was one crew I had worked for where he didn't know everyone. The stories that happened here were mine and didn't involve him. Sure, this may make us sound like an old married couple, and he's the friend I swap set stories with on a semi-weekly basis, but I liked the fact that despite me often venting to him, he didn't know everyone and everything that was going on. This little piece of Hollywood was mine.
His presence also puts my rank into question. Despite me taking half a decade to earn my spot, once I was in, I quickly excelled, earning myself the position of Gaffer's right hand man (so to speak). And as such, I was gaining some footing in the ladder of moving up in this business. I was now privy to decisions and conversations I otherwise wouldn't be allowed to listen to, and covering for the Best Boy, and even sometimes the Gaffer, in their absence. With my friend there, I could very easily be knocked off my pedestal. He's very good at his job and is often offered better positions before me. Who will my bosses now turn to for things when he's around?
And to top it all off, despite me considering him to be a good friend, I do need some time away from him. He's a great guy, but there are some things about him that make me roll my eyes or exhale in frustration. Our work past together mostly involves one of us either day playing and/or the other being in a Best Boy position, leaving a nice buffer between us for breathing room. We didn't see each other five days a week, or if we did, we weren't in the same room for over 12 hours a day. Being around each other for 60+ hours a week on set might put a strain on our friendship... and my sanity.
Do I realize how petty this all sounds? Yes.
Do I know whether or not he's on my new show isn't my decision to make? Yes.
Am I happy to have such a good friend with me everyday?
I am the kind of girl who likes to keep work and my personal life separate. I'd prefer it if I could embark on this new show, and wherever it would take me, on my own. But like a friend from back home, know that the support is there if I need it. Key word being "there" and not "here." He's a friend I share almost everything with, but I like to keep some things for myself. Something that's "mine" and not "ours".
And while some may see this as a plus, having such a good friend be a possible ally on a new show, I don't want an ally. I worked hard to get in with this crew. On my own. And I want to see how much further I can take it in this business, and with them, on my own. At the end of the day, and at the end of my career, I want to be able to stand there and be proud of how far I made it, on my own, and not have to think, "but thank goodness he was there to help me every step of the way."
But me not liking the fact that he'll be on my show is my own hang up. Not his. He really is good at his job and deserves every offer he gets. He doesn't need my permission to join a crew. I may not like it, but it's just something I'll have to figure out how to deal with when the time comes.
* A "day player" is someone who isn't there every day but brought on as needed, whether it be because they need extra people that day, someone got sick, etc.