Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Very Telling When...

... the town's ablaze with work and there are certain people who keep asking you for job leads. And not the "Hey, I just got off a show and I'm looking for a new gig" kind of calls. But the ""Hey, I haven't worked for months" kind...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Awesome = Happy."

Another page from my journal. When I look back at this entry, my first thought is how naive I was. My second thought is that sometimes, I still feel the same way...

Spring, 2007

I've been pretty happy these past few days. Even though I'm out in the middle of nowhere with all those bugs in the hot sun,* there's a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And honestly, despite all my bruises and complaining, what else would I be doing? Sitting by myself at home, wasting whatever money I have left in my bank account?

Plus, this month has been really good for my career... Or ego boost. [Producer #1] fought really hard to to keep me as part of the crew for [music video], and although I do feel bad for bailing on [Producer #2] it felt really good to be appreciated even for a little bit. Plus, [DP for Producer #1] is awesome.**

And [project where I was a department head for the first time] shot this month as well, and I totally rocked that shoot!*** I was so on the ball and authoritative sounding on that first day that I even surprised myself!

Plus, I'm getting kind of excited about [Producer #3's] project, although it is kind of scary and very intimidating. But hopefully, when the time comes, I'll rock that one as well. ****

Despite my apartment being a mess, my dirty dishes sitting in the sink, and my clothes being smelly, I really like it when I open up my day planner and see my schedule booked up day after day.

That = Awesome. Awesome = Happy.

*That's where we were shooting.
** I ditched a gig from Producer #2 to work for Producer #1 because Producer #1 seemed more legit and promised me paying jobs in the future. It turns out that while I did make the right choice (according to my sources, Producer #2's project was hellish and then she was never heard from again), Producer #1 was nothing more than a sweet talker. He knew all the right things to say to lure me in and gain my loyalty, but he ended up turning his back on me when he got those better gigs. However, I still stand by the statement that his DP is awesome.
***I totally did.
****It was another job where I held a key role. I was awesome during pre-production of the project and totally rocked the shoot... But like so many projects, it all fell apart in post.  :(

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Kind Of Surreal When...

... you realize you've been working more these days than the people who you looked up to when you were just starting out.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Psycho Girl."

I've been keeping pretty busy these days and haven't had the energy (creative and otherwise) to actually sit down and write some new posts, so here's another page from my journal...

Spring, 2007

Yesterday, I got a live demonstration on how NOT to act on a set.
While I was working on day two of a [student film], a girl from [overpriced film school] came to work in the g/e department. She was kinda cool at first, but then started to call me names like "cunt," "whore," "slut," etc. A good ol' fashioned derogatory name calling is amusing every now and then, but not when it goes on all damn day! And then she started either hitting, kicking, or throwing things at me. That shit gets old fast.

Then, when she was wheeling in the nine-light, she didn't pay attention to how tall the stand was and ran it SMACK INTO THE ROLLING DOOR!* Of course, she was probably running with the wrong leg forward,** and the whole thing came crashing down. Then she wanted to just walk the whole thing back in, but hello! The thing's on wheels! It's just going to keep rolling forward when you try to prop it up unless you lock/block the wheels!

And the constant bitching! ALL fucking day she was bitching about how she either wanted a sandwich or some milk. Uhh... Why don't you stop your whining and get some already??

She was all anxious and ready to work and everything, but she was also playing the cutesy-catty-little girl role,*** but OMG! You're fucking 20! Stop acting like you're 16!

*We were shooting at a warehouse.
**On a rolling stand, it's best to have one leg lead so if you hit something (like a piece of cable), the whole unit doesn't topple over.
***I'll admit that playing the cutesy-little girl roll has a time and a place (ie: getting certain grips off their lazy butts and give you a hand) but a) it better have an off button and b) you still have to be good enough to justify your presence.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Practice What You Preach, Asshole.

"If I caught you doing that on my crew, I'd fire you."

I look across the set we were rigging to see who those words were directed to. They were coming from a day player* whose usual gig was being a Best Boy and directed towards a hardworking newbie who was assigned to work with him. The poor kid was holding a cell phone, obviously in mid text.

Now, I can understand where the guy was coming from. A cell phone at work used at the wrong time can most definitely rub some people the wrong way.

But as the day wore on, I noticed the kid working by himself a lot.

And while he was working on a two person project by himself, the day playing "Best Boy" would be outside on a cigarette break... Or talking on his cell phone... Or checking something on his phone... Or nowhere to be found at all.

In fact, it wasn't uncommon for the guy to disappear for ten or fifteen minutes at a time.

What a mutherf''n hypocrite! I can maybe understand the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude, but if he pulled any of that shit on my crew, I'd definitely fire him and keep the newbie. I'd take the ridiculously annoying thirty seconds at a time texting breaks over a constant disappearing act any day.

* A day player is someone who works on a show for only a day or two. Usually because it's a particularly busy day or they're filling in for someone.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's Kind Of Embarassing When...

... you hear someone from another department over your walkie and you razz them for being on the wrong channel... Only to realize that you're the one who's off by a click on the dial.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Drive.

When my alarm goes off in the morning, I'll let out a groan, roll out of bed, and in a semi-confused and defeated state, look out my window at the pre-dawn sky. The sun won't be peeking over the horizon for another few hours, but that won't stop my day from starting.

I'll get the coffee going as I begin my zombie like ritual of getting dressed, brushing my teeth and other acts of personal grooming, and sometimes, I'll manage to down a full cup of coffee before it's time to leave for work.

And in the quiet of the early morning, while the whole world is still sleeping (or at least, my neighborhood), I'll get into my car, start the engine, and hit the road.

It doesn't matter where the location is that day. Culver City, Pasadena, Malibu... It's all the same to me. I'll glide effortlessly on the freeways, changing lanes with ease. It's usually too early for traffic. The radio will be playing the latest pop song by some tween, and I'll sing along, letting it's energetic and trendy beats wake me up. No one is aware of this guilty pleasure of mine. There are few cars on the road to catch me dancing in my seat, and even then, the city is still under the guise of darkness as I zip by during my commute. Despite having to drag my tired ass out of bed so early in the morning, I usually savor this quiet moment before the storm...

And then I'll arrive at my destination. A studio, a house, an empty restaurant... It's all the same to me. I'll spend the next several hours lugging cable, moving around hot lights and struggling with heavy stands, all while fighting my way through crowds of background actors, set dressers, hair and make-up people and every other department. Eventually, as it is inevitable that Production will fall behind schedule, the day will lag on and breaks will be few and far between. The Gaffer will get cranky and take it out on our Best Boy, which in turn, puts stress on those of us beneath him. The Director will suddenly have an epiphany that involves massive, last minute changes in every department and as we scramble to cater to his every whim, the AD will be barking at our heels to hurry up. Overtime will occur, pushing us to the limit as my fellow co-workers and I all wonder how much more of this we could take...

And then they'll call wrap.

After loading up the truck, I'll get back into my own car and hit the road again. The city is definitely awake by now, and people are bustling about and cluttering the streets. A far cry from the easy, flowing drive I had that morning. No more effortlessly zipping around on a nearly empty freeway. But that's okay. I don't mind being patient on the journey home. In fact, I'll cherish the minutes I spend siting in my own personal, air conditioned cocoon, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel to a familiar tune on the radio as I inch along down the road. My mind will wander as I start to make plans for the weekend or think about what I'll have for dinner. I'll look around at the L.A. skyline, and despite its often smoggy and dingy appearance, it makes me smile. It always reminds me that I'm in Hollywood. Making movies. And that's something that so many people don't get to do.

I'll think about how far I've come. How I came to this town knowing no one and how now I've got something that bears a vague resemblance to a career. Sometimes I think about the people I had to leave behind to get here. Sometimes I think about the people I got to know because I'm here. Sometimes I'll reminisce in my own mind about the stuff I used to do and sometimes I'll day dream about my future.

But if the traffic's too bad on the freeway, I'll opt to take the surface streets. Most of the time, the route I'll take puts me on auto pilot and I'll know which streets to turn on without even thinking about it. But every once in a while, I'll turn down a new road to explore the city a little. As I'm stopped at traffic lights, I'll look around me, taking note of the stores and businesses in the area. What restaurants look good. What boutiques look interesting. And every so often, it's "Holy shit! So that's where that awesome place that so-and-so was talking about is..."

Depending on the season, I'll even drive a little slower and marvel at the trees lining the streets. Sometimes they'll bloom into the most remarkable shades of pink and lavender. And if it's a good day, I'll roll down my windows, letting the cool evening breeze trickle in, ever so gently tickling the hairs on the back of my neck. It's a gorgeous feeling that always makes me smile as well.

Eventually, I'll find my way home again. I'll crawl into my apartment, shower, eat and sleep and in a few short hours, my alarm will go off again, and a little after that, I'll be thrown into another day of stress and exhaustion for little money under a Producer who stands to make a lot.

But the drive... The drive is mine.
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