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The Reel Deal and Other Bad Jokes
Saturday, December 18, 2004
 
"Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation."
This one's a gimme. Previous one was "Mallrats." I need to watch some more obscure movies or get some more obscure quotes.
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Well, I've got one member so far. I don't think that's quite enough to initiate a discussion yet, but don't worry Sam--when I get just a few more volunteers to participate in this little experiment, it's on.
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I was on a paid crew recently. Here's the lowdown.

I was working on my wardorbe project last Thursday, an attempted replica of the coat from Equilibrium (quoted in previous posts), when I recieved a phone call. I didn't recognize the number. I went out in the hall and answered it. Those magic words:

"I've got work for you."

He was looking for a PA at $150 a day, which is pretty much standard unless you're unionized like those Charlotte boys at $200 a day. In fact he was looking for two PAs.

"Hey, Dollar. Want a job?"

Derrick "Dollar" Brown was the person nearest to me, so he got it. In retrospect I feel that you should only bring someone on a show if you trust them implicitly to work hard, know their shit, and not have an attitude. Also in retrospect I made a good choice with Derrick.

What it boils down to is that when someone does a bad job, they make you look bad, because that shows that you have bad judgement. No shit. Derrick and I worked together on the school project, "Uriel" (what happened to the fucking link button on this damn thing?) as Gaffer and Key Grip. I believe I've mentioned I was Key Grip. We worked together quite well. Derrick is a hard worker with something between his ears. Now that I think back, we made a good team on Uriel. Likewise we made a good team on the commercial (it was a warm-and-fuzzy spot for a hospital).

Some people know their shit, but they have an attitude. I'm not even going to attempt to disguise that I'm talking about Red here, because he'd know who he is. He knows his shit, as far as I can tell. I'm not the Grand Grip Poobah or anything, so maybe someone like Greg (gaffer on the commercial) would judge better. Red likes the gaffer position.

Red's problem is that he has an attitude. His dad worked as a camera op and 1st AD. The 1st AD is the set boss. Isn't that the director? No. The director is the set god. The AD greases the wheels of the production so the director doesn't have to, and has considerable power. After you do it for a while you're used to the power, and maybe it can go to your head. Maybe you tend to take charge in the wrong situations at the wrong times. Whatever. All I know is, Red's dad took a teaching position. Last resort? I don't know. I'd like to teach a few young bucks (more on that phrase later) a few tips of the trade...when I've done enough to prove that I know 'em in the first place. But I'd much sooner work. My point is that Red has the exact same tendancy. He bogarts shit incessantly. My computer; my camera; and my kitchen, by not cleaning up, which especially pisses me off. On set, that kind of behaviour could get you fired, or at least not invited back, since once you're on board it's often too late to hire someone else, especially on a three-day commercial shoot. In Red's defense, he was 2nd Assistant Camera (AC) on Uriel, and he had his shit together and didn't step on anybody toes. In rebuttal of that, I wasn't around him that much, and more importantly I wasn't in his department. So...

The jury is out on Red. I'll keep thinking about it. I'd rather he prove himself one way or the other without my reccomendation.

Working on a shoot is a harrowing experience, most especially if you're a newbie. Every time you fuck up, no matter how minor the fuck up, you die a little inside, expecting the guy forking out the money to come over and tell you that the crew is actually "overmanned" and that you can "take the next three days off." Then the only option is to move a few states away, because no one will hire you now. So you see, freelancing is by definition unsteady work, if well-paying. So if you fuck up, you've fucked yourself.

Now, punctuality especially is prized in the film business, and by my dad as well. So, I too consider it a fine thing indeed to be punctual, since it was badgered into my tonker at an early age. With all the preceding information in mind, imagine how I felt when I pulled up a whole fifteen fucking minutes late.
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