Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm Used To Leaving Satisfied... What A Tease.

Since things have been so slow in terms of work, I decided to at least take advantage of the down time and go back to school. The cool thing is that I don't have to write papers or read X chapters by Tuesday, but instead, I'm taking a class on how to be an on set electrician. Because let's face it, I may know how to lay the cable and focus a light, but I suck at actually figuring out how much each cable can hold and troubleshooting a light with bad wiring.

Though so far, the class hasn't been all that informative (but then again, I've been on a few sets before) but I have learned something about myself: I love lighting.

I love laying down the cable runs. I love wrapping them all back up at the end of the day. I love the way a 1k baby feels right when you take it off the head cart. And I love the teamwork that goes into lighting every scene.

And yes, I've always loved lights. Ever since I was about 10, I knew I wanted in some way or another be the one to design the lighting for movies. But it wasn't until today, when after sitting through what seemed like hours of "on the set" anecdotes from a guest speaker, that I realized just how much I loved the craft.

It started dawning on me as I made my morning commute to class. I was actually excited about the day. It's been too long since I've been on a real set, lugging things around and driving home exhausted and I was looking forward to running some cable in class. And after a long lecture from out guest, we were finally ready to lay down some cable and do some lighting. My body was humming with excitement.

Unfortunately, I didn't get very far. Since I was technically a "beginner", I had to either spend my time shadowing a stiff, humorless "advanced" student or grouped with the other newbies who are just learning what a stinger is. What should have been a two person cabling job was done by ten of us and before we got anything really done, it was time to call it a day.

Talk about a tease.

I'm used to dragging my tired and beaten body to my car at the end of the day, and I'd leave the set feeling satisfied. There's no better feeling in the world than feeling like you were productive, and aching feet mean that you've definitely done your share. Barely laying out two sticks of banded before heading home? I've got so much energy to burn still that I have no idea what to do with myself. Ugh. There's no way I'm going to sleep well tonight.

But there's always tomorrow. I'm not due back in class until Thursday, but in the meantime, I get to day play as a grip on a friend's shoot. My body's humming with excitement already.


Anonymous said...

I just had to comment on this. I found your blog by Googling "Female Gaffer," or something like that. I was trying to find some information from women that are working in the industry and what it's like for them.

The way you described what it's like to handle the lights, working on a set, it nearly brought me to tears! (and I'm not an overly emotional female!) I, too, love lighting. But the practicalities of a woman working in this business have scared me off into more "practical" (read: BORING!!) gigs. I'm much older than you, so starting so late in the game, it all feels kind of hopeless...

Anyway, nice to hear I'm not the only geeky female out there that has an odd love for all things lighting.
I hope more work will come up for soon!

A.J. said...

Anonymous -

Thank you so much for your comment! Working in the lighting department can be intimidating when you're the only female surrounded by guys, but I think you just have to get in there and give it your all. I wish there were more women in this field of work, but hey, someone has to be the trail blazer, right?

And please don't feel hopeless! Trust me when I say you're not alone. It's never too late to pursue the career you love. Good luck!

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