Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Stress and time to enjoy it

Work is slow right now. Very, very slow. Part of it is just the time of year. The episodics are on hiatus, the pilots are over and nothing will really start happening for another month or two.

I’m feeling it more than usual, though, because the show that I worked on fairly steadily for over a decade is gone. Done, over, kaput, never coming back, sets in the garbage, misty-eyed ‘remember when’ Facebook group formed.

I didn’t really realize how much of my income came from said show until I started wondering why I was so broke in April. I should be doing okay this time of.. oh, wait. That.

So now, because my expenses are now above what unemployment will cover, I’m worrying. Not just about the slow month, but about a potential writers’ strike.

If they strike, all production will grind to a halt and we’ll all be unemployed – potentially for months.

I simply haven’t got the cash reserves to survive extended not-workingness.

Sure, I could get another bunion surgery, but it might be better to get a job. A real job.

Except what I’m able to get via temp agencies won’t cover my expenses, either.

So I’m waiting. And breathing deeply, while trying to quell the rising panic about something that hasn’t happened yet.

But it’s hard, because the last extended work stoppage was bad. I barely squeaked by, and ended up with a shitload of credit card debt that I do not want again.

Today, I went to the Actor’s Fund and did the intake meeting so I can go to the resume classes and get career assistance – mainly in the form of resume classes, financial planning classes, and job listing.

I found myself in a room full of people just like me – all panicked about different things, and all wondering how we were going to survive.

I was the only jerk in the room to actually mention the strike, and everyone around the table tensed up.

At the end of the meeting, we all shuffled out, planning which workshops to come back to – I’ll have to ride my bike, though, as I’m not sure I can afford to pay the parking, or buy gas.

It’s better to knuckle down sooner rather than later, right?

 

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

I’m glad someone’s working!

Today, as I came out of swim at 8 am, a PA stopped me as I was about to exit the pool.

“I’ll have to ask you to wait, miss. We’re rolling.”

I was so delighted that something – anything – was shooting in town I forgot to ask what it was, but as soon as I could leave the building I sauntered over to the set (a lacrosse game on the lawn of the park next to the municipal pool) see if I knew anyone on the crew who might throw me a pity day (or three).

I didn’t see anyone on the grip or camera crew that I knew, but I did see a stand-in that I remembered from the last TV show. According to  her, the electricians were all off frantically trying to rig the next location before the company moved (ahead of schedule, of course. When we need the time they’re always ahead), which meant that any attempt to introduce myself would  just garner ire and ill-will, so I chatted a bit and then headed home to make a valiant (but futile) attempt to scrub the itch off my chlorine-soaked skin.

I’m still unemployed, but I’m very heartened to see a shoot here in town. Let’s hope that a decent number of the record number of pilots shooting this year happen here. We all need the work.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , ,

Here’s to another year

20130103-100016.jpg

My garden might be one terrible mess, but at least there are some flowers to look at while I tackle the weeds.

My first January project is to clean up the apartment, which is almost as much of a disaster as the garden.

I also need to get the desktop back together – it’s currently in pieces under the desk, a pre-movie project that got sidelined.

I need to get the computer back together because typing on the phone really sucks.

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

Good News / Bad News

The good news is that since I haven’t been working very much, I’ve been  able to take in Southern California’s wildflower bloom – I normally miss it since those fucking inconsiderate flowers pick one of the busy times  of year (pilot season) to bloom and I’m usually working six days a week while I hear about the glorious flowery-ness of the area.

Then, when work slows down and I’ve got some time all the flowers are dead.

Not this year.

This year, I’m able to go see said flowers while they’re still relatively colorful. Although the really spectacular poppy reserve isn’t quite ready yet, I went up to Vasquez Rocks (which used to be very heavily used as a film location but not so much anymore) and saw some lovely flowers and a disturbingly lush green desert.

The bad news is that there isn’t going to be a pilot season this year – in Los Angeles, at least. Most of the pilots are shooting out of state (and I’m guessing the TV shows that get picked up will also shoot out of state), so it’s probably not going to get busy again anytime soon.

The good news is that I’m working tomorrow. Yay!

The bad news is that I got a ticket on the way home tonight.

The good news is that I had my proof of insurance with me (if you don’t have this in California, you get a very expensive ticket and have to go beg a judge for mercy).

The bad news is that my insurance bill  has doubled because of the new car.

The good news is that I haven’t had a ticket in so long I’ll be able to go to traffic school so my insurance won’t go up any more.

The bad news is that now I can’t take the cat to the vet, because now I have to pay the ticket and traffic school.

The good news is that now I can’t take the cat to the vet, so I won’t lose any blood.

The bad news is that this morning, when I was swinging open the garage door, I got a splinter rammed right under one of my fingernails.

The good news is that the neighbor’s kids learned a new word!

The bad news is that I’m going to have to have that bunion surgery.

The good news is that while I’m recuperating I can collect disability, which pays more than unemployment.

The bad news is I have a date over the weekend. With someone I met on Facebook.

Oh, wait. That’s good news.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

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

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat….

Observe…

Nothing up my sleeve. Nothing up my other sleeve. Now, with one stroke of a pen I’ll make a day of work disappear!

Poof!

Tada!

I was supposed to work Tueday and Wednesday, but the second day cancelled – so I’ve only gotten one day this week (so far, but it’s slow so I’m not expecting anything else).

As of late, this seems to be happening to a lot of my days – I get called to work, get excited about the possibility of paying some bills, and then because of whatever’s passing for logic in the production office, the promised work gets pulled out from underneath me.  

This sucks, but all I can do is shrug and make a mental note to start using pencil on the calendar.

At least I’m getting a little bit of work – I know a few folks who haven’t worked at all this year.

And my internet’s down. Again.

The bright side is that instead of sitting at home while I’m unemployed, obsessively reading crap online (speaking of a fucked-up excuse for logic), I have to actually do something to occupy my time. Like work in the garden, go to the gym or do my taxes.

What I need to not do again, though, is make Chicken Vindaloo  at home – not only did I burn off most of my taste buds (too many chili peppers), but the Indian place down the road does a much better version and I don’t have to clean the kitchen.

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

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 the days keep slipping by.

 Part of the problem of being totally unemployed with no work prospects coming down the pipe is inertia – seems that the less I have to do, the less I’m able to do. I sink into a sort of slug-like state where it’s a Herculean effort just to haul myself up off the couch at all, and going to the gym feels like a grueling expedition to some far-off place.

When there’s work, I get a lot of stuff done because I know I only have the one day (or two days) to squeeze in everything – I get up, get moving and start going down the list of stuff (gym, laundry, projects, etc…)

Since my immediate future is a blank slate of nothing there’s no urgency to do anything. That, and I’m broke.

Well, not completely broke yet, but unemployment are dragging their feet about cutting me a check so I can’t even go out and do anything that costs any money (a great source of amusement which costs money is hanging out in Z-list celeb infested holes on weeknights. It’s way more entertaining – in a train wrecky kind of way – than anything that’s on TV. Really, now. Who raises these people? Wolves?). I’ve got some movie passes to some theaters, but everything I want to see is playing somewhere that doesn’t take the passes I bought at Universal the last time I worked there. Dammit.

At some point the awards season screenings will start, but I’m not even sure how many of those I’m going to care about enough to haul my ass outside.

I’d start squawking about a deal between the writers and the producers needing to happen, but honestly at this point it doesn’t matter – by now just about everyone’s scrapped the remainder of the season (it’s just a 4th quarter loss, after all), so I, at least, am completely fucked and not in a happy way.

Speaking of fucked in a happy way, the only romantic prospect on the horizon is a guy who… get ready for it… is in jail for DUI.

Him: “Can I call you when I get out of jail?”

Me: (heavy sigh) “Sure, why not?”

Friend (after hearing this): “Are you insane? He’s a drunk!”

Me: “Yeah, but he’s got all his teeth. That counts for something, right?”

On the vacation recap, the next couple of days consist of us getting hopelessly lost and swearing a lot. Someone – and I think it might have been me – actually burst into tears at one point.

Here’s some photos:

This was the first sunny day of the trip at the Chateau Chenonceau

Clouds above Chenonceau

View of Chateau Chenonceau

This is the town of Montrichard. Everything was closed because it was lunchtime in November.

Montrichard was closed

Montrichard Fountain

Montrichard Roses

On the bright side, I just did all my holiday shopping by ordering prints off Flickr.

Filed under: Nikon, Non-Work, Photos, travel, , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , ,

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