Thursday, October 09, 2008

Of late, [no work then cursed work]

Work, of late, is non-existent.
Nothing, as in none, as in no-calls, as in nada.
I've texted and called and emailed everyone I've ever worked with, to no avail. Either I dont hear back because said people are in just as dire straits or I hear back that nothing is doing or I hear back with condolences, the economy is bad, hang in there, deal with it. Ok, no one says deal with it.
And sooo... on to Plan B.
what is plan B? I.. was hoping you'd tell me. But since you feel the need to keep it a secret from me, I reckon I'll have to find it out for myself.
I'm guessing, hoping, coming to the realization that it is probably this, writing. I'm guessing, hoping, coming to the realization that I have little else to fall back on, other than typing-related temp jobs and/or my herculean physique. Since my definition of herculean differs from that of reality, that is probably not as much an option as I'd hoped it'd be.
What to do, where to turn, how to do that which I do not know what is what.

[update] probably three days after writing the above, I got a job on a show not-quite-but-close-to named The U.S.'s - Soon To Be - Uppermost - Person-Paid-To-Be-Beautiful-Displaying-Things-You-Can-Buy .. ok a little a lot switcheroo'ing of words for more sensical words should now be employed. Alas, the equation wherein my lack of work + worry about it = finally getting work that you end up regretting taking... read on
[update] [update] The job was jinxed from the start. I really should have seen so from the get go. I was told over the phone that I would be a "set dresser / set decorator / driver" - quite the wide variety of duties and skill levels. Set decorator is often a position commanding much higher pay, respect and responsibility and being that I didnt sleep with anyone, have not been a set decorator yet and am not connected to those people in the industry who give jobs to their friends despite no qualifications (ohh yes, it happens), I should have realized that what was actually meant was "set dresser / the driver for the set decorator" which, ok yes, was a let down but hey, I actually like driving in NY (see reference notes: Reasons Why I Am Insane) and working with an experienced set decorator can be fun and depending on how cool they are, you can sometimes learn a lot and help with choices they make, shop on your own and interfacing with the rest of the art department to help get all the necessities for the show checked off. This was not one of those set decorators or jobs. No, I was the driver, my set dresser title lost somewhere in the back of my minivan full of purchases the set decorator made from BB&Beyond, C&Barrel, Pottery.B, Macy's, etc, etc while I waited in the car, trying to avoid meter maids.
[update] [update] [update] You take what life gives you, change what you can & be nice about the rest - finding the time to read three books and occasionally helping out when purchases were too heavy to get to the car. Getting assigned a few solitary shopping assignments helped offset realizations that I was, despite the niceness of all that great reading time, a not-at-all-glorified cab driver.
And this should probably bring me to an explanation about the apparent bitterness in my discussion of the work I do. Much as with probably all industries, the lower rung or two or three of workers are the general, catch-all worker-bees that make the ladder not slip on banana peels or be made of things like packing peanuts. You see the ladder but someone had to go get it, set it up & then let people walk all over us it. Being that many things are reachable from the lower rungs, we it get walked on quite a bit, taken for granted and sometimes overlooked in the drive to become higher rungs. (this is an amazingly dynamic ladder built by fairies in the Cloud Village of Bad Analogies) But I digress... Luckily, I am not the bottom-most rung. Sometimes I am mistaken for such but usually, I can see the rung below me and putting my self loathing in perspective, I feel sorry for said lower rung, re-evaluate my place in the entertainment universe, at this point in my life, wonder about the relative worth of working 10-12-14 hour days for sometimes half or a quarter of the pay of a lot of other people on the set and then resume anew a completely reinvigorated sense of self loathing and doubt. Jealous? Yes, I know you are. It's ok, you can work through it.
What makes a job good or bad? Almost two years into the business, I can confidently say, it is the people you work for (and sometimes with). It comes down to personality flaws and the lack thereof - specifically, how people talk to eachother, regardless of station in life or industry. What makes life good or bad? It seems to be the same, most often. Can you communicate the same, or different things to different people without being a jerk about it? Honestly, that's really what it's all about. In the entertainment business seemingly every industry, a lot of people cant. (Those who can huddle and comiserate about those who cant). And so, simple requests, easily asked turn into passive agressive bursts of insecurity and subjugation. Most departments will be a mix of good and bad communicators, hopefully yours has the good ones near the top.
[update] [update] [update] [update] Long-story-short, the job lasted a month & praise be to [random deity here], another job came along to save me from the low(ish) pay, the snippy, unpleasant people on the job and the bad luck. Did I mention I got the minivan towed on the last day of the job? No parking 4-7pm means 4:01pm, no matter how many other cars are parked (and then towed) from the same block. There are no enforced traffic laws in NYC, just parking, as that's where the money is and will always be. It was my first time ever dealing with a towed car and, this being New York, it was just as soul sucking as you'd imagine it to be. A few other unfortunate happenstances left me more in doubt about my future in the industry than should happen on any job really. Maybe I'll talk about it more after the show airs & finishes it's run but this one truly felt cursed from start to finish.

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