Sunday, November 28, 2010

USED AND ABUSED TO THE TUNE OF THE PRODUCTION BLUES

Now this is a real kick in the face for having an impressive Resume. I have been working in film production as a PA for more than four years now. It seems I cannot go upward regardless of the projects I have undertaken on my Resume. No matter how many times I work with those who repeatedly hire me, I cannot seem to go any higher than the corner lock up PA that they all think of when things are tough and near to impossible; or the job that no one else will do. For example, I just recently got called and booked to do a job as a walkie/communications PA however, the "Ahaaaa..." is that in addition to being responsible for communications, and doing Lock-ups which I will no doubt be called upon to do, I have to drive a 31 ft. "Camper?". I mean, what kind of shit is that!!? This is the first I have ever heard of such a thing; a PA driving a 31 ft. Camper...Typically, on "Big Shows"(that is, major motion pictures) Teamsters or unionized drivers usually have that job and it is their only responsibility to get the truck/trailer/campers and all the contents therein to the set on time and ready without delay; and this is no easy task taking into consideration that these vehicles need to be parked and in most cases driven on specific commercial routes which itself can add hours to your day. This type of misuse of PA's is found rampant in what I refer to as "Indie Truck and Fuck" feature films; meaning quite simply that you must drive a truck and then bend over and get fucked on the set to wrap to truck again.
In a time like this when people are loosing jobs and going belly-up, I should be thankful to have, and I am. Just wondering when, or if my level of employment will ever increase and will I ever begin to get the pay that I am qualified to receive? Is it wrong for me to want better for myself? Am I somehow showing lack of appreciation by desiring to make more money? Should I give up my pursuit of climbing to the highest heights I can climb and be content with the work all others refuse? These are all questions that any person with any ambition and motivation would ask. How is it possible for one person to work on so many clown town projects? Should I consider these types of jobs a favor, an opportunity, or just a plain swift kick in the ass? God knows I have never been a lazy person, but this is ridiculous. When I got the call, I know this particular 1st AD(1st Assistant Director) called other people who turned the job down because of the ridiculousness being asked for the pay. He will most likely not take it personally and call those people again when he has something "better" for them by THEIR standards to work on and not call me although it was me who did not turn him down. I am willing to go as far as to speculate that the entire production team had made calls to their people to see if they could get any takers for the job before remembering my name and calling me. I am constantly expected to pull these types of jobs and work near 24 hours/day exhausting myself on these bullshit projects. I have heard it said that he who does nothing is idle, but so is he who is underemployed also idle...
When in school, I was always told that my Resume was my ticket to better employment. Work hard, and your record will earn you the pay and position you desire. What a load of bullshit that was...If that were the case, I would be a studio level producer. There is a positive side to this that cannot go unnoticed. I feel that it is because of my experience, that I am for better than those who turn this work down or are "too good" to work on these shitty, test your mettle feature films. I am better as a producer, an AD(although that is not what I want to do), and all around production personnel due to my experience on various sets and enduring many projects that others turned down. Although I gave myself a timeline of ten years to become the producer I want to, I wonder if I will ever break through this apparent glass ceiling?

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