Thursday, February 28, 2013

You Know You've Made It Big When...

... you agree to help out a friend on a low budget thing, and when you're wrapping the gear, you have trouble fitting the correct pieces into the Kino Coffin. You wonder why you're having such a hard time with such a simple task* when you realize it's been years since you've packed one because most shows you've been on recently have Kino carts instead.


* Simple in the sense that it's common knowledge for those who work all the time in low budget stuff. In reality, it can be like a game of Tetris just to get everything to fit back in there, only less fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Freelancer Justice.

I was poking around the internet the other day, catching up on my reading, when I stumbled upon an article about how a web developer hijacked a client's website and publicly shamed them because they didn't pay him for his work. 

(Click to see it in a readable size.)

While I know there's two sides to every story and the client's saying they did pay him and blah blah blah, a little part of me couldn't help but do a fist pump after the first couple paragraphs because what freelancer, no matter the industry, hasn't wanted to do something like this? But the difference between us and a web designer is that we can't take back control over our work like this guy did when we get stiffed.*

And then it got even better. Further down the page, our little industry got a shout out.

 What really got me was this line:

"You don't get to sleep for days on end, but you do get to wait on your money forever."

 That definitely hit close to home on more than one occasion.

Previously. And previously.

* Although I did hear of a guy who hijacked the camera truck until the Producers finally paid everyone something, but that's another story.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Am Alone, But I Am Not Lonely.

From PostSecret.

"So," my co-worker started, trying to fill in the time between set ups, "how come you don't have a boyfriend?" This question was then followed by "When was the last time you went on a date?" and "Do you want me to fix you up?" [Note: He's totally serious.] and then followed by the even more embarrassing and infuriating situation of him explaining to me the importance of "getting out there," the miracle of online-dating and, believe it or not, how my biological clock was ticking.

Thanks, dude, for the biology lesson about my own body.

And I wish I could say this was just a one time incident, but sadly, it happens more than you'd think and way more often than I'd like.

It'd be bad enough if I was a regular on a crew and just had to face the same people everyday, but at least there's the hope that they'd tire of the topic sooner or later. But I'm not a regular on a crew. I'm a day player, working on different shows all the time and I feel like that kind of "conversation"* happens on any show I've been on for more than a day.

It's worth noting that none of these guys are bringing up my relationship status because they want to get in my pants. Oddly enough, the ones usually bringing the subject to light are either married, have a girlfriend, or I'm obviously not their type. They're bringing it up because they're "concerned" (their word, not mine) that I'm going to end up shriveled and alone.

But what I don't get is that if I'm not worried about my perpetual singledom, why are they so concerned with it?

No, I'm not dating anyone right now, and no, I'm not actively looking for a boyfriend. I have more important things to deal with in my life right now. And yes, I am alone, but more importantly, I am not lonely. I do not wish I was married right now. I do not wish to be barefoot and pregnant right now. I am okay with not having a boyfriend. And I do not need a man in my life to help define who I am, be it a significant other or a "helpful" colleague offering unsolicited "advice."

And no, I'm not a lesbian.

I did not think any of this made me a freak, but apparently, it does in the eyes of my male co-workers. I guess to them, if I don't have a man and I'm not desperate to get one, I must need help.

But all these "Why are you single?" talks don't help at all. Instead, they make me feel like there's something wrong with me. Like it's now or never if I want to have a kid. Like I should date an asshole because dating anyone is better than not dating at all. Like not being in a relationship is unhealthy.

But it's simply not true. And I hate that I have to remind myself that it's not true after every single one of those conversations.

I don't ask my male counterparts if they own or rent, and then promptly tell them that they need to buy a house. That time's running out and they must act now if they ever wish to own property and that there are even websites to help them with the search. I especially don't mention these things if they've never even said anything about real estate or wanting to stop being a renter. It's their life. They're adults. And who am I to tell them what they should and shouldn't do with their personal life? Is it too much to ask that they extend me the same courtesy?

So in case you're "concerned" about me, this Valentine's Day, yes, I will be alone. But I will not be lonely. I will spend the evening sitting on my couch, eating a box of chocolate while watching chick flicks and romantic comedies. I know that may sound sad and pathetic to some of you, but fuck you. Who are you to judge me? I love doing shit like that. And despite being single, I love Valentine's Day and what better way to celebrate than watching two people fall in love, even if it's just in a cheesy movie.

Please do not try to "fix me" or fix me up. Or recommend a website. I am fine. I'm one of the few people I know who can say I like where I am right now. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with me.

And for the record, my biological clock is none of your damn business, thankyouverymuch.

Ps. Happy Valentine's Day!

* Is it a conversation if I feel like I'm getting lectured?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I'm A Day Player. Not An Idiot.

Depending on what kind of show you're working on, and more importantly, who you're working for, the Standard Operating Procedure varies from show to show, set to set, Gaffer to Gaffer. In other words, there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's more than one way to crack a nut, and there's more than one way to light a set.

Some examples:

- Some crews prefer to "race-track" excess cable. Others prefer to wrap it in a figure 8.*

- Some Gaffers want you to turn on a light as soon as it's ready to go. Others prefer that you wait until they call for it. Some want you to wait for the Grips to put a frame of diffusion in first. Others want you to fire it up regardless.

- When setting up HMI Pars, some crews prefer the lenses be put in the slot furthest out while others want you to put it in the slot closest in.

- When setting up HMIs, some crews run it with double head feeders even if the light's only going to be fifteen feet away from the ballast. Some will just run it with a single head feeder.

- Some Gaffers want every light you bring to set to be on a dimmer, variac or hand squeezer. Others only want them brought with specific lights.** Some want none brought unless specifically called for.

- Some Gaffers want you to always put the diffusion on the inside of the barn doors. Others want you to always clip it to the outside of the doors.

- Some guys will call a Par Can a Par 64. Some guys will call Mole Par a Par 64.

Needless to say, it can get kind of confusing if you're like me and work on different sets with different crews all the time.

So if it's my first day with you on a crew that's new-to-me, please don't look at me like I'm an idiot if I ask you what the Gaffer meant when he says "Short-four." It's not that I don't know what a 2ft, 4 bank Kino is, it's because I've heard them called Twenty-Fours, Forty-Twos, Fat Boys, Squares, etc, but never "Short-Four."

Don't act like it's my first day ever on a set if I ask how you guys like to put the lenses in an HMI Par.

And don't give me a condescending lecture about what does or doesn't "always comes with the light" when I ask you if the Lite Panels came with batteries.***

I'm not asking this stuff because I don't know how to do my job. I'm asking because I don't know how you like the job to be done.

I realize that some guys spend most of their career with just one Gaffer and therefore, always does things only one way. That's fine. But to look at me like I just fell off the turnip truck and then gruffly say "There's only one right way to do things" just shows me your lack of experience.

I was on 36 different shows last year. (To put that into perspective, there's only 52 weeks in a year. That's a lot of jumping around.) And not one of them did everything exactly like another. Frankly, it's naive to think every set you go on will be exactly the same, and if you keep insisting to me that your SOPs are universal, I'm going to conclude that your grasp of the "real world" my be a little stale.

I'm a day-player. Not an idiot. I'm a guest on your set, and as such, I'd prefer to do things your way. As a courtesy to you. So please don't be an arrogant, know-it-all asshole about it.

And if you hand me a walkie-talkie that's set to a different channel that's not 7, don't roll your eyes at me if I ask, "Are we supposed to be on 7?"

* We don't leave heavy cable in a coil when there's a load in it because it might overheat.
** Usually a Leko/Source 4. 
*** FYI, you're full of shit if you give me that lecture. I've gotten them from rental houses as a complete kit with everything in it to just the Lite Panel itself, and every combination in between. So go fuck yourself.
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