Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

So now I’m out of a job along with everyone else.

Today marked my last day of work until all this strike business blows over.

The show that I was working on is an unfortunate victim of the downsizing that’s been happening all over town – a lot of shows are getting the axe because, well, because it’s an excuse to cut some fat and cancel expensive shows that are not expected to do well for one reason or another, so we were completely wrapping out the stages – which meant having to return all the equipment and tear out the rig that’s up in the perms so as to leave the stage ‘clean’ for whichever show comes in next.

As we dropped the cable out of the perms, the talk turned to what we’re all going to do if this strike outlasts our unemployment checks. I’m at a distinct disadvantage here because I’m single – most of the guys on the crew have wives that work in other industries, so they’ll get by on one check.

After spending my entire adult life in the film industry, I’m not sure exactly what it is that I’m qualified to do in the real world. I’ve been making jokes about supplementing my unemployment check with the occasional spot of pole dancing, but the reality is that even if I could find someone to pay money to see me in a bikini my knees would probably give out and I’d make an ass of myself.

Even more so than usual.

The upside was that I was working at Sunset Gower studios, where it’s way easier to park off the lot and walk in (the parking structure fills up super fast) – which meant I was able to make  a face-to-face apology to the writers for crossing the picket line (something I’m deeply uncomfortable doing, but I have to bank every cent I can right now).

Filed under: Work, , , , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. John Krill says:

    As for a job you could always join the writers union and collect strike pay.

  2. Ron says:

    For what it’s worth, as a WGA member and a strike captain, I’m not mad at you for crossing out lines. (Although I’ve also been picketing at one of the more peaceful locations.)

    While we all appreciate it when below-the-line crew refuse to cross our lines, most of us recognize that our fight isn’t with you, and we regret the fact that we’re putting the squeeze on you. If we could get a fair deal without inflicting any collateral damage, we would.

    Those words don’t put any food on the table, but they’re sincere, nonetheless.

    I think most writers would love to see better relationships between ourselves and btl crew. To that end, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have about why we’re striking.

    Among the writers I’ve spoken with, anger has exclusively been directed at AMPTP execs, writers who cross our lines, and a few high-profile actors who could easily afford to help us without facing serious repercussion. And in the later case, 99% of the time it’s expressed in terms of gratitude for people who are choosing not to cross (Steve Carrell, Eddie Murphy … thanks) rather than anger at those who do.

    Believe me, we’re all hoping for a swift resolution to all of this.

  3. GroovyBrent says:

    Maybe you should just sell nekkid pictures. Much easier on the knees, and you don’t have to worry about the face-to-face embarrassment that is affiliated with pole dancing.

    Just trying to be helpful! ;-)

  4. Kevin says:

    The show I work on finished our last episode script on Thursday night. At 2AM. So my whole crew has joined th rest in unemployment.

    In our case, most of us did not cross picket lines. This was due to the picket line not appearing at our front gate until 9AM the first week, and then when the gate got picketed at 6AM the second week, the lot opened up another door to allow people to not cross a picket line in order to get to work. This of course violated the whole “reserved gate” idea, but for some reason, the picket lines never sent anyone to that door.

    One day on location, we had a picket line set up at our base camp/crew parking in Malibu. The picket line was peopled with our own writers and headed by our showrunner. The picket line started at 4AM and was clearly intended to stop the Teamsters from driving in, if they were going to follow through on what Leo Reed said last month. Instead, the Teamsters drove through the line, and most of the crew drove through to get to parking. A few people parked outside the line and refused to enter, including myself and the rest of the DGA crew on the show. I spoke to the picketers and told them I couldn’t cross the line but that I would still need to do my work – without crossing the line. Rather bizarre and ironic to wind up in that situation with the person who runs your show…

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