Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

The check is in the mail

Ten days ago, I worked a micro budget favor job for a friend of mine who is trying to move up the food chain (which, of course, necessitates moving down the food chain first) and shoot.

I don’t have a problem with favor jobs. I don’t mind helping out friends or people who need it, but since my landlord won’t accept good intentions, I usually expect to be paid the amount I was promised.

The amount I was promised for this particular job was relatively small, but every little bit helps, and I factored that pay into the monthly budget. Job was on Friday, we were told checks would be mailed Monday.

No check.

Then we were told checks would be mailed Thursday.

Mailed on Thursday means it should show up in my mailbox on Saturday, or Monday at the latest.

Monday: No check.

Today, I worked a day on a commercial (and thankfully I know they’ll pay), and figured I’d look again when I got home.

No check, although I did get a dividend for some worthless stock – it’ll buy a shitty bottle of wine. But at least they paid, goddammit.

This is even more annoying because this was supposed to be a cash job.

Some time ago, crews got wise to the ‘promise and then skip out’ tactic, and began to demand cash. Usually at the end of the night, but some production companies had to pay upfront, and then pay again if they wanted more work.

I know, that statement makes us seem like greedy assholes, but you can only get burned so many times before you stop trying to make people like you.

So at the end of the day, we walked up to the money man, expecting to be handed envelopes.

He looked shocked.

“I never promised anyone cash. I never pay cash! Who told you I’d give you cash?”

I think that’s when we all knew.

Knew we were going to have to fight.

I haven’t had to do this in a long time – hopefully I won’t have to go to the office and make a scene, but I won’t hesitate if that’s what I have to do.

Remind me to tell the baseball bat story. It involves a shady production company, a bounced check, and a baseball bat.

Or someone who is currently working micro-budget can tell it, since I’m sure it’s the same story.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Filed under: cranky, life in LA, mishaps, movies, rants, Work, , , , , ,

The four wheels of the apocalypse

Here in Los Angeles, we love our cars. Really, really love them. We do anything we can to avoid using our feet, our legs, or any form of public transit. Should we need to reach some far (or near) destination, we travel via our network of free highways (“freeways” for those of you not familiar with Southern California automotive nomenclature).  They’re clogged with traffic, marred with graffiti, strewn with trash and king-sized potholes, but eventually they get us where we want to go.

It’s a love/hate relationship, and although they make us miserable at times, we just can’t imagine life without them.

Until this coming weekend, when CalTrans will close – that’s close as in completely shut down – a 10 mile section of the 405, one of the busiest stretches of road in the country, if not the world.

To our car-centric culture, this is nothing short of a Biblical-sized catastrophe.

Carmageddon. The Sepulcalypse*.  We collectively flap our hands and hyper-ventilate as we contemplate the idea of not being able to drive.

The newsbots have been raising the alarm about this for weeks, and now the city of LA has resorted to the awesome power of faded television stars to try to calm the masses:

Said masses obstinately refuse to be calm and now hysterical panic is sweeping the city.

Many people are planning, like rats fleeing a sinking ship, to leave town.

“Yeah, we’re just going to drive up the coast Friday, get a hotel for the weekend and just chill out.”

“Wait. You’re driving to a hotel where you’re just going to sit around all weekend? Why not just stay home?”

“Stay home? What if we have to drive somewhere?”

And so it goes.

Unfortunately for me,  I now live west of the 405, and some surface streets in my neighborhood will be closed, making any sort of vehicular egress on my part impossible.

I won’t be able to make the union meeting (on the other side of town, of course) on Saturday or to the three parties downtown, so I plan to do my commuting to the beach on my bicycle.

And take photos of what will be either hilarious chaos or  eerily empty streets.

*The surface street alternative to the 405 is Sepulveda Blvd, which will not be closed, but might as well be, since no one has any illusions about traffic moving at anything faster than a painfully slow crawl.

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

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