Sunday, September 20, 2020

"You're Lucky You're Working." Part II.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I've got some news: I have returned to work.

I happened suddenly, and a while ago, and boy oh boy, did everyone have an opinion on it.

There were a few, "It's too soon!" and "That's great!" but the main one I heard was "You're lucky."

"You're lucky to be working right now."
"You're lucky to be working right now when no one else is."
"You're lucky."
"You're lucky."
"You're lucky."

But am I lucky?

Almost a decade ago, it was pilot season and to say the town was busy is a massive understatement. I was pulling in 5-6 days of work a week, all with good rates and good people, bouncing around from various show to various show. I finally had a day off with nothing booked and was just about to settle onto my couch for a glorious evening of couch potato-ing when a text came in from a phone number I didn't recognize. 

"Are you available tonight? Crew call is 6pm and we'll shoot until sunrise."
"Who is this?"
"This is [name of guy I didn't know]. I'm the Best Boy for [Gaffer I didn't know]. I got your number from [someone I met on another job]."

I sat there, looking at the screen with a groan, deciding what to do. 

Did I need the work? Hell no. I was in the middle of a really good run and I could really use the day off. I was totally looking forward to having a night of Netflixing and chilling, and the last thing I wanted to do was put on work clothes and be all the way across town in an hour. Plus, factor in that it's a night shoot, a one day call at that, and anyone in their right mind would have said, "Thanks, but no thanks."

But this was with people I didn't know, and in the freelance world, that meant this could be a potential new contact for future jobs.

Still, I was on the verge of being overworked and had started my day early enough that I knew I'd be up for almost 24 hours by the time wrap would be called on this new gig. Plus, I never heard of these guys before and I only vaguely remembered the guy who passed him my number. Given that cold-calling acquaintances of friends is usually the last resorts of last resorts, the chances of me getting called back once their hiring pool wasn't dry anymore was pretty slim.

I looked at my phone and sighed. Random night shoots with strangers when I'm already tired is not my idea of a good time. Then I typed in the words, "Yes, I'm available," and hit send. 

Was it a stupid choice? Probably. Would most people have turned it down? Yup. Was I thoroughly exhausted and too messed up afterwards for me to have a decent weekend? Absolutely. 

But was that job with the same Gaffer that not only managed to find work in the middle of a global shutdown but also brought me along for the ride?

Also yes. 

So I guess the question now is: Is it fair to say that I'm lucky? To equate my employment to just a game of chance? Or did I get here because I saw and opportunity took it, even if it was the hard road?

"You're lucky."
"You're lucky."
"You're lucky."
"I'm glad all your hard work over the years is paying off right now," said no one, to me.


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