Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Just in case you all were having a nice weekend

More articles about Axium and associated tomfoolery:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-axium27feb27,1,3609000.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Enjoy!

The upside of my bank account being at crisis level is that it’s officially not worth suing me. For anything. This morning, the lady who picks through my recycling bin every week (technically, this is illegal but since the city of LA is broke I don’t see them doing anything about it, and really I don’t mind. If folks want to get up at the crack of dawn and dig through other people’s garbage to make a buck or two, they deserve that money and probably need it more than the city of … wait. LA’s broke. Nevermind.) threatened to sue me.

She’d cut herself on a bottle that had broken when I threw it in the bin, and I happened to be rolling my bike out the front door right as it happened. “Look what happened to me!” she yelled as she held up her bloody hand, “I’ll sue you!”.

I shrugged, said something about not being able to get blood from a turnip and rode off into the foggy morning which then turned to rain so of course I got soaked.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After a long weekend, more rain.

This holiday weekend was especially good to me since the antibiotics finally got the better of the upper respiratory infection and I managed to walk three steps without breaking into the horrible rasping cough (although I have to admit it was fun watching people scatter like cockroaches the second I started. One guy even got up and moved to a different seat in the movie theater despite my assuring him in between wheezes that it wasn’t contagious) I’ve had for what feels like forever.

Thankfully, it’s mostly gone now. I even managed to go for a bike ride Sunday and only had one coughing fit right after I accidentally inhaled a stray bug (that’ll teach it to mind it’s own business).

Good thing I got the ride in, too.  It’s supposed to rain for the rest of the week, which of course means the entire city has descended into a panic about wet Ugg boots and the local news is doing a feature about the horsemen spotted running across the sky somewhere in the San Fernando Valley. Or something.

In other happy news, I finally got my Axium tax paperwork – it was sent out by Avalon in an envelope from PAV (both Axium subsidiaries – guess they’re using up the office supplies that weren’t looted).

Which brings me to this years “How many W2 forms do you have?” contest:

W2 forms

The person with the most forms wins the can of champagne I managed to weasel out of drinking!

I have 17 this year, but I don’t count, of course.

Filed under: life in LA, Photos, , , , , , , ,

A week of cautious optimism

Right in the middle of this week full of highly amusing election snark (bye bye, Rudy! Bye bye, Romney! Also, sadly – bye, bye Edwards – the only really pro-labor candidate) , there are rumblings that the WGA might have reached a deal.

Admittedly, this would be totally sweet, but do remember that most of your friendly crew people will continue to be unemployed for about a month after the official end of the strike – it takes time to get a production of any size moving, so although it’ll be over for the WGA, it’ll still be rough for me for a while longer.

Especially since unemployment seem to be stalling me – guess it’s their way of dealing with California’s budget shortfall.

Also, there are now multiple offers on my building (all from developers, of course), so tomorrow’s project is to find a lawyer. I have a feeling I’m going to need one if I don’t want to get screwed.

Also, I still have not gotten tax paperwork from Axium, which doesn’t really surprise me.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , , ,

Mid-week random updates

The anklebiter (the small dog I found) was kept by her ‘foster’ home – so I still have visitation rights and I don’t have to pick up poo! Best of both worlds!

The toilet is fixed.

I’m appealing my unemployment denial, and when I got the statement from unemployment about contributions, I saw that Axium reported none of my earnings to them at any time last year. Fuckers. Interestingly, a subsidiary company of Axium called Pax did report earnings.

All of us are really hoping the writers take the DGA deal – pilot season is when I make a significant chunk of my year’s income, so losing it would suck even worse now that I know over half what I made last year wasn’t reported to unemployment.

Over the weekend, I decided to go out for a long bike ride (I know I sometimes make it seem like I use martinis to cope with my problems, but I really use my bicycle to cope with problems), and when I was about 15 miles away from the house, I managed to get two flat tires. Basically, what happened was this: the city of Los Angeles will sometimes try to put stop signs right in the middle of the road (in the lane dividers), so motorists can see them better – of course, it takes about a nanosecond for the sign to get run over, so then the city comes along and cuts off the signpost about an inch above the pavement – also of course, they don’t bother to mark it so anyone can see it, so it just sits there until either the road gets repaved or someone important shreds a tire.

After I ran over the thing, I went back and looked for it and I could barely even see it when I was looking for it. Awesome.

The good news is that it just tore up my tubes, so I won’t have to replace the fairly expensive road slicks I’ve got on the bike.

Also, I only had to walk about a mile to reach a bus line that went to my neighborhood. Normally, whenever I put my bike on one of the bus racks, I’m completely freaked out that someone’s going to grab my bike at a crowded stop – this time, I figured if they did try to steal it and ride away, they wouldn’t have gotten very far so I was able to sit back, relax and listen to the guy next to me talk to himself all the way home.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, mishaps, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , , ,

Okay, I promise I’ll stop freaking out. For now.

Today I got a very important piece of mail – the statement from the pension and health plan which tallies my qualifying hours for the previous semester.

As previously mentioned, we have to work at least 300 hours every semester in order to keep our health insurance – we can ‘bank’ hours in excess of 300 (up to 450), so we have an emergency pad just for times like this (although just about everyone I know desperately wants to avoid having to pull hours out of the bank).

Last semester, I worked 760 hours, so even if half of them are retroactively disqualified due to our good friends at Axium, I’m still okay, and since my bank’s full I’ll at least have insurance for the next year, even if the unthinkable happens and I don’t work until June or July (remember SAG? They have contract negotiations coming up in a few months and they’re also tired of getting screwed by The Man).

Thank heavens. Of course, possibly losing 400 pension hours is going to matter a great deal to me when I’m 105 and running out the clock while trying to avoid the jobs which will require me to pull cable 14 hours a day*, but for now it prevents the total meltdown that I was working myself into.

On a happier (if unrelated) note, last night I went to a free screening of the movie Once (which I really liked), and then on the way out of the theater, stopped by the Virgin Megastore which is closing (word on the street is that the landlord jacked up the rent – there seems to be a rash of that happening all over Los Angeles these days), and took advantage of the half-off sale to pick up the new Radiohead CD. I don’t normally buy CDs because of that thing that they do where there are only two good songs and the rest are crap, but Radiohead (if they’re your thing) seem to be consistently good.

I figured I could spare the 8 bucks because I haven’t driven the car in almost a week, which means that I’ve not spent 50 bucks on a tank of gas.

*Actually, since I didn’t get into the union until I was almost 30, the chances that I’ll be able to work enough to qualify for full retirement are slim to none.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , , , , , ,

Well, this is depressing, but it isn’t a surprise.

Today’s LA Times hit me like a hammer*, and it wasn’t so much of a surprise as it was a confirmation in my not having much faith in humanity these days:

Go Here and Here

Of course the suits looted the company. Of course.

You know, if I lose my health insurance** and pension qualifying hours and have to double pay taxes because one of these motherfuckers wanted a tacky $100,000 car and a mostly plastic bimbo, I’m going to scour the earth to find the guy.

When I do find him, I’m going to do things to him that will violate every single clause of the Geneva convention.

That’s all I have.

I’m just too angry right now to be clever. Maybe later.

*I stood in the coffee shop (I’ve cancelled my newspaper subscription to save money) shaking my scavenged paper and screaming “You motherfucker!” at the top of my lungs. I think I was asked not to return. Ever.

** Crew people’s health insurance is dependent upon our working a certain number of hours (currently 300 per semester). If we don’t work enough, and don’t have enough extra hours saved in our ‘bank’ to cover the shortfall, we lose our insurance. If Axium didn’t pay into the proper fund, some of use could lose our insurance.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

An extra special link just for today.

One of the wonderful commenters left this link:

http://axiumclosed.blogspot.com/

Sweeeeet. I’ll continue posting what I know here, but since I’m just a toolbelty schmuck, the above link might be a better source of information.

Oh, and my unemployment claim has been delayed for six weeks – about a year ago, I made an accounting error that resulted in a $200 overpayment, so today I got the “fuck you, buddy” letter in the mail.

I’m going to appeal it – although there’s the argument that stupidity should hurt (as the only way to alter behavior), I think a six week ‘time penalty’ and a 30% monetary penalty is a bit harsh for an honest mistake. Of course, the appeals process takes about six weeks.

Dear gods… I think I’m going to have to get a job.

You realize, of course, that the whole reason I work in the film industry is because in the ‘real world’ I’m completely unemployable. You know, like a monkey that you can’t get to stop flinging poo no matter how hard you try.

At least this should be interesting.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , ,

And now for something none of us needed right now.

Over the weekend, the recent crash and burn of the Axium payroll company has been the subject of many panic-stricken phone calls and late nights spent rocking back and forth talking to oneself while clutching a bottle of cheap whiskey.

For tax and unemployment insurance purposes, when we work, we are technically employees of the payroll company instead of the production company. This is not a bad thing – it cuts down on the tax-season paperwork (16 W 2 forms instead of 138) and reduces instances of in-house rubber checkitis (back in the bad old days of tiny shows run by fly-by-night production companies, one would pick up one’s check at the office and then drive like a bat out of hell to the production company’s bank to cash it while there were hopefully still funds in the account. When everyone started using payroll companies, the checks, when they eventually arrived, were usually good).

Although I read the LA Times articles about Axium folding, I didn’t think much about it until this weekend, when we found out that they haven’t been paying the tax contributions on paychecks for “months and months”. Needless to say, these contributions were withheld from checks, but the money somehow just…disappeared.

As of right now, there’s some debate about if they’ve paid into the pension and health fund.

Did I mention that over half my work (and thus, over half my pay) last year was with companies that used Axium? Including the movie that I was on for months?

Which means, that although the taxes were deducted from my checks, as of right now there’s no way to know if I fall into the happy group who had the deducted monies actually paid to the gub’mint. Since I doubt the IRS cares that I had the money deducted, they’ll probably make me pay twice.

‘Cause that’s how the IRS rolls.

No one has exact numbers yet, so I’m desperately hoping to just get a little bit fucked instead of utterly and completely screwed sideways with sand in the Vaseline.

Great. Just my luck I’ll have to write the IRS a check right when I haven’t been working in months.

Filed under: cranky, mishaps, rants, Work, , , , , ,

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