Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the jobs, they rain down, like the manna, that rained. down, I mean.

Pronunciation: 'fa-m&n Function: noun
4 : a great shortage


Pronunciation: 'fEst Function: noun

_____After the Verizon commercial, it seemed as if the jobs would be rolling in. Not so, it turned out. A week of waiting for calls I thought would come and then another week of making calls to folks I'd worked with or had helped in the past (my oh-so extensive "past" of .. what? 2 months doing PA work?). And... cue famine. nothing was happening. I knew there was a Macy's commercial in the works for 2 weeks from then but I obviously didn't feel like sitting around waiting for it. Calls, emails, online job searching (which is a 100% waste of time, by the way. I've gotten 1 call back to about 100 or more jobs applied to - which is perhaps a sign that I shouldn't be trying for anymore office jobs, video/film archives or not).
_____Then, as luck or fate or both would have it.. more jobs than I could handle started coming in. First was the last day of a set of Macy's commercials.. "returns" days, they call them. The stuff you've rented, bought, borrowed, whatever.. all gets returned whence it came (ya, I just said "whence", deal with it). Next came the Honda commercial.
_____There's early, and then there's early. As in, the A.M., as in, the very definition of unreasonable. Yes, my call times to be on location were 2:30am for Saturday, and 1:30am on Sunday. Yes. 2:30 and 1:30. Me. ME, getting up at .. well, more importantly is me going to sleep at 7pm and 5pm respectively. Yes. 7pm and 5pm - and that still didn't get me 8 hours sleep. The shoot itself was fine and sort of fun - we shut down 5th Ave at 56th and had a few cars driving through the same intersection, supposedly for the lead car (a Honda Oddessy) to pick up his waify blonde toothpick of a shopper girlfriend with her expensive shopping bags. The unreasonable part was that we showed up at 2:30am, took about 40 minutes to set up... then sat around for 3 hours till the light came up enough to shoot. The same the next day. Among other things, I was in charge of walkie talkies for the first time. Sounds simple, right? Pssh. No one wants to be in charge of walkie talkies (except me, 'cause I'd never done it) because you have to sign out about 100 walkie talkies to every different department on location noting what extra equipment they take (headsets, batteries, mics) and then at the end of the shoot, make sure you get it all back. If you lose anything, the production company is charged for it all, walkies typically costs $450, a battery $100, headset $100, mic $150. The second day, I was also in charge of shutting down 5th Avenue at 18th St (other PA's shut down 5th on down to 13th St) - luckily I had a traffic cop to help but 5th Avenue is .. well.. 5th Avenue. People dont like being delayed (as much as .. oooh, 4 minutes!) for a commercial shoot. Oh, I also almost got to drive a NY Taxi.. in a commercial no less. One of the drivers took a bathroom break that lasted longer than the assistant director had alloted for everyone and "we need someone to drive that taxi.. Kory, jump in that cab!" - umm.. you bet your freakin' arse I will. I'd no sooner got my hand on the cab's door than I heard "heyy, sorry. I'm back" from the cab driver. (I briefly thought about clubbing him unconscious and stuffing him into the back of the cab). There is a chance I might be seen in a white cube truck parked so as to block a Trump Hotel sign, in the first day of shooting. Alas, you will not see any of this. Unless you are in Japan, watching television. Yes, it seems the Japanese love to shoot their commercials in NY. With waify, toothpick blondes.
_____A day later, I started work on two weeks of Macy's commercials at Steiner Studios. 12 commercials in all, I think. They'll be airing up through Christmas, keep an eye out for 'em. For these, I got to drive around one of the set dresser / shopper as we went from store to store to store buying stuff. And more stuff. And more. And this is perhaps where I should warn you that all of this stuff that we buy for commercials... umm.. gets returned. So when you are in your favorite store.. let's say it's Macy's or Bed Bath & Beyond or West Elm.. and you buy that set of bed sheets, and you get them home, and they look .. used? Right. A (true) story from the set goes like this: "you know the movie Short Bus? the orgy scene? ya, those sheets got returned. unlaundered". [you may shiver now] So ... word to the wise.. do not take anything home if it looks like it's been opened already.
_____Shopping is.. how shall I say this.. the most awesome thing in the universe. I was not only getting paid to shop, I was getting paid to spend, with near reckless abandon, someone else's money. "When in doubt, get at least two different styles of the same thing so the art director can buy off on one of them" That is the mantra of the "shopper" (also called the buyer or purchaser depending on what job you're on). If you know me at all, or dont - I love shopping. How much? what's more than "a lot"? k, now what's more than that? cool, now multiply that by .. a lot more. There have been many, many, many a weekend where I've done little else but go to Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond, the Container Store, etc.. just to window shop around, seeing what new stuff is on the market. I am a fan of housewares and bedding in the same way that some people like to keep up to date on what the current state of electronic gadgets are, via magazines & whatnot. It's a little ridiculous and something I probably never would have admitted to you all except that it helps explain my future calling. Kory Dayani - shopper / set dresser. Seriously, I want to and will be a shopper in the nearest future possible. At this point, there's nothing I'd enjoy more.
_____Hmm... so.. what else? the studio was amazing.. a 747 or two would easily fit inside. The shoot was massive - the crew numbered about 100, easy. Wardrobe took up about 200 feet of clothes rack space. Our purchases & props probably rang up to at least $50 or $70 thousand. Big. So big, they "locked" the set, partly to keep a snooping union rep out (trying to catch any union workers on set, working a non-union job). Catering & craft services was amazing as well.. delicious and plentiful food, whenever you wanted it. I got a double day (2 days of pay, ..sorry if that was obvious) for working 16 hours on one of the days - that was sweet (most days went 12 - 13 hours, so getting an extra $200 for 3 more hours than that? suuure). All in all, it was a great gig and while I was on the set, I got a call for ....
_____A Martha Stewart special that starts tomorrow! running for a month! Yes, the same Martha I semi-jokingly had a crush on 10 years ago. The same Martha that has helped hone my sense of style and all things proper. The same Martha that I've been saying I'd love to work for (her main studio/offices are in Chelsea, 3 subway stops from my apartment). The special is called Easy Baking and I have no idea when it will air or any more information on it really except that it'll have more regular hours (8am to 6 or 7 or 8pm, tops) and I'll get overtime after 10 hours! which is almost unheard of for non-union production work. I .. cant .. wait. The only part that sucks is that I got a crick in my neck saturday morning and it's now (monday afternoon) about 70% gone. Tomorrow will be a light day with the following day being more lifting and such. I'll be careful of course but hopefully the neck will be in much better shape by then. All I know is, like being pepper sprayed, having a neck crick is sooo all consuming of your focus, it's hard to enjoy or hate anything or do anything really, without thinking about what a useless invalid you are at that moment. This weekend, we drove to Cape Cod to scout wedding locations - thankfully, there wasnt too much neck movement needed. If I'd had to work? And lift stuff? forget about it.
_____But I digress... in fact... I .. have been typing for too long now.
_____and so I'm signing off.

Happy Kory Who Is Fulfilled By His Employment

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