Monday, August 27, 2012

Courtesy Is...

...not blinding the stand-ins every time you turn on a light.

...moving out of the way when someone is carrying something heavy and trying to get by you.

...opening and/or holding the door for someone who has their hands full.

...spreading the word to your fellow colleagues when something good is put out at crafty.

...not taking half the chicken wings in the serving pan before anyone else gets there.

...not using a chair as your own personal bag holder when there's no where else to sit.

...not asking the caterer a million questions when there's a long line of hungry people waiting behind you.

...not yelling into the radios. And while we're at it, it's also not hitting the "talk" button when someone else is clearly talking.

...telling someone they're laid off as soon as possible to they can start looking for work.

...calling out "flashing" when you take a picture using a flash.

...returning stingers you've borrowed instead of leaving them in a pile who-knows-where.

...not wrapping said stingers if you don't know how. Really, it's okay. It's easier for us to do it ourselves the first time than to re-do your attempts.

...helping someone push along a cart; especially if it looks like they're struggling.

...returning pens you've borrowed when you don't have the good sense to carry one of your own.

...throwing your trash away and not leaving it on the truck/carts/shelves/etc.

...checking in on the person up in the condor every once in a while to see if they need anything.

...not disappearing when a major set up is about to happen.

It's amazing how rare common courtesy is these days.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And Then There Was None...

For a brief moment, I had it...

Thursday: I get a call checking my availability for next week. Three days of work for a pretty decent rate. Sweet!

Friday: I get a call from a different show, asking if I'm free next week. Five days of work. The rate isn't that great, but I'd have a little extra spending money in my pocket after five days with them than the previous offer, plus the bonus of solidifying myself with a semi-new contact. I tell them I'll take it if it's five days for sure. Best Boy says he'll double check and call me back.

I hang up, a little proud of myself for being such an in-demand juicer. 

Saturday: I finally hear back from the Best Boy about the schedule. It is for five days, but apparently the Gaffer wants to bring in his buddy instead. You know, the one who's been out of work for a while and can't find a job on his own, blah blah blah. Great.

I'm a little disappointed, but not too much. Being the smart cookie that I am, I never told the first job I was planning on bailing, juuust in case things changed. Which means that despite getting dumped, I still had three days of work at a good rate to look forward to.

I love it when things work out that way.


Sunday: I step out of the shower to find a message on my phone from Job #1. "Sorry kiddo, but the schedule changed..."

And that was how I went from being an in-demand lighting tech being sought after by multiple shows to being unemployed this week.

Gotta love this industry...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just A Day Player.

"Hey A.J.! Where've you been??" Crafty asks me, "We had quesadillas and that salsa you like yesterday and you missed it!"

"Aw... Damn!" I replied, bummed that I missed out on some good eatin'. These guys knew their way around some tasty snacks and had quickly become my favorite crafty.

"So, where were you?" Crafty asks again.

"Uh... no where. Just sitting around at home."


"Yeah," I knew where this conversation was going, "I'm just a day player on this and I guess they didn't need me here yesterday."

"What?? How are you a day player on this? You work harder than most of the guys here!"

I shrug, give him a smile and go on my way. I've been day playing with this crew for a while now, and nothing more. I come in once every couple of days. Sometimes a little more often; sometimes a little less. Sometimes just enough to fool the other departments into thinking I'm around all the time before laying me off again, which was the case now. And no matter how much my co-workers like me or how much I get along with everyone, something tells me that my status as a day player isn't going to change anytime soon with these guys. Which is fine if it wasn't for everyone else reminding me of that fact.

A few minutes later, I run into the On Set Decorator.

"A.J.!" she says, patting me on the back, "Where'd you disappear off to yesterday?"

(Here we go again...)

"No where. I was just at home."

"What? What happened?"

"...Nothing. I'm a day player on this and they didn't need me here yesterday."

"What? You're a day player and not a regular?"


She gives me a puzzled look. I shrug and offer a smile as I continue on my way.

I don't get very far when a P.A. known for his friendly banter catches a glimpse of me.

"Hey, you!"

I stop in my tracks. "What?"

"You're back!"


"Where'd you go yesterday?"


"What do you mean?"

"I'm a day player. They didn't need me yesterday so I stayed home."

"Oh... Wait, what??"

I shrug and smile at the boy as I continue on with my work.

Sometime later, I find myself sitting by the Key Grip waiting for the next set up to start.

"Hey, look who's back today!"

"Hi, Key Grip. How are you this morning?"

"I'm good. What show did you leave us for yesterday? Something good, I hope!"

"Um... No show... I'm just a day player on this and they didn't need me yesterday."

"Wait, you're only a day player?"

"Yes, sir."

He stares at me for a second as if he's trying to figure out if I'm pulling his leg or not. "Bullshit."

I smile at him and shrug.

"You could've fooled me. I see you on the set working more than I see any of the other guys... Why aren't you a regular?"

I offer him another shrug. "Your guess is as good as mine."

He nods, understanding my predicament.

I do work hard for these guys. I'm the one on set, never letting the Gaffer out of my sight while the other guys are at staging, staring at their phones. I've known the Gaffer and Best Boy longer than any of the regulars. One of them had even commented to me before about how the Gaffer seems to be less stressed whenever I'm around. And yet, I'm still only a day player.

I have my own theories and speculations as to why that might be. I won't get into the details of what they are, but the rational side of me kind of understands the hiring decisions that were made. Or at least, I've accepted it. I can't make someone hire me.

What does bother me, however, is the constant reminders from people every time I'm out for a couple of days about how I shouldn't have been the one to be gone at all, and the awkward conversations that go with it. Conversations, that despite nicer wording, essentially reads between the lines like this:

Them: "Where have you been?"
Me: "I've been sitting at home, not doing anything because I'm a loser and not good enough to be here full time."*

This. Multiply by several times a day. After a while, it starts to get to you.

But what can I do, other than reply with a smile and a shrug...

* This is not to say that all day players are losers who can't hold a regular position. I'm just saying it sure seems/feels that way sometimes a lot of the time.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Break!

To say I've been busy this past month and a half would be an understatement. I've been slammed with work. The hard, grueling, fourteen hour days of non-stop labor kind of work. And just when I think it's over, my phone rings with another round... And now, another.

Not that I'm complaining. I've been doing this long enough to know that I should just smile and take the hits sometimes. Work is work and when you're in an industry as fickle as this one, you take the jobs while you can. Especially since there were some change ups in the crews I roll with, leaving me with an uncertain next few months. And top that off with some friends of mine who've been moaning and groaning about how they've been out of work for a month or more, I know better than to open my fat mouth and complain.

But that being said, I've been busy. And tired. And for some reason, the pile of unread mail (or more accurately, unopened bills) on my kitchen counter keeps growing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be surprised if posting here is a little lax in the next couple of weeks. I'll post when I can, but between the 7am call times and midnight wraps, it might take me a while before I build up enough energy to pop out a decent post. Meanwhile, take solace in the fact that me working means oodles of stuff for me to bitch about when I finally return.

Or better yet, go to the beach. It's sunny and blazin' hot out here.


Ten Things I Did Last Week.

1) Ate nothing but potato chips from crafty one day because catering was horrible.

2) Struggled with a ratchet strap for a few minutes while the rest of the department watched me.

3) Got hit with sprinklers more times than days worked.

4) Ate pizza three times.

5) Ate tacos twice.

6) Ate three hot dogs.

7) Re-packed a truck a few times because everything wouldn't fit.

8) Lost my right glove. Found it. Then lost my left one.

9) Gained a farmer's tan.

10) Turned night into day.

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