Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh, The Places You Will Go...

It’s a gorgeous evening in Southern California. The kind where the air is cool and crisp without being chilly. The sun is slowly but surely creeping towards the horizon and while L.A. may be known for its smoggy air, you have to admit that all that haze sets the stage for some pretty magnificent sunsets, often turning the sky ablaze into a plethora of fiery reds, oranges, and cotton candy pink as night approaches.

To make the sight even better, I’m enjoying the view while lounging next to the rooftop pool of one of Hollywood’s swankiest, overpriced hotels. And the best part is, someone else is footing the bill while I'm here. As I lean back and take a sip of my drink*, I’m feeling like a rock star. Ah yes, this is the life…

How did I end up here? Two words: Music video.

Some band I’ve never heard of  was shooting part of their video here and guess who got called to be on the crew? Me. Luckily, it wasn’t a very strenuous day, which lead to ample time for my cohorts and I to enjoy the location. How often do you get to spend the day in the VIP lounge in one of L.A.’s most exclusive clubs? I don’t know about you, but I don't get to do it very often. And as I watched the sun disappear and the night lights of the city start to twinkle on below, I realized that damn, I’ve experienced some pretty cool shit because of this job.

I’ve been in the middle of the desert with a flame thrower. I’ve ridden around in pass vans with actors I've admired. I’ve climbed on the walls of City Hall. I’ve helped make it rain in the middle of summer. Hell, I’ve even made it rain indoors. I’ve been in bars past two in the morning. I’ve seen some amazing musical performances while standing less than ten feet away from the band. Mansions in Beverly Hills? I’ve been in quite a few of them. I’ve had in and out privileges at an airport, explored closed down historical buildings, and had free reign in one of Malibu’s hot spot restaurants. I’ve been in prisons, both working and abandoned. I’ve seen circus acts up close and personal, horses inside a house, and a fat guy squeeze into footie pajamas. I’ve walked around a zoo at night. I’ve “surfed” on dollys in empty parking lots. I’ve been in Porsches, buses, trucks, RVs, ambulances, cop cars, and Santa’s sleigh. I’ve stood, by myself, in the middle of the road on a bridge in downtown Los Angeles without a single car in sight. I’ve seen the sun rise and set over mountain tops, sky scrapers and the ocean. I got to do all that and more because of this job.

Thanks to the locations being called for in any given script, I’ve had the opportunity to go, do and see some pretty awesome things that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. No one in my family has ever set foot in a $10,000/night suite, and I’ve spent a few days in a couple. None of my (non-industry) friends has ever seen Christmas in July. I have.

But on the flip side to that, there are some things that I wish I didn’t have to experience. Like lugging heavy gear up the fire escape in the rain. Or shivering in the cold while fifty feet up in the air. Or working in a place so vile that you’d rather face the bums and drunks peeing on the sidewalk outside.

And as I sat on that roof top, admiring the skyline below, I thought about all the places I’ve been and things I’ve gotten to do all because I work in the film industry. Despite the long hours, back breaking work and bad pay with the occasional shitty (sometimes literally) location, it’s times like these when I’m reminded why I love what I do and how I’m glad I didn’t settle for a better paying office job somewhere.

Eventually, as the band got ready to shoot again, I snapped out of my thoughtful state and got back to work. But this time, with a slight grin. Because let’s face it. While I may often bitch and moan about this business, this job can be kind of cool.

*Non alcoholic. I'm still at work, after all.


Michael Taylor said...

Great post. You put it very well: we eat a lot of shit in this job, but every now and then comes a sweet moment of grace -- a gleaming diamond in the mud -- that makes it all worthwhile.

Nathan said...

Nice reminder of why, just every once in a while, we find ourselves wondering why we didn't have to pay a cover charge to get on the set.


D said...

Great post. This was brought home to me a couple of years ago when I found myself at a party in new York city standing between al pacino and Robert deniro talking to deniro's wife. pretty cool. Of course the next day I was still humping track through the rain.

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