Two justifiably blogless months have fluttered past us, lost beneath an avalanche of work, life experiences, and whatever is considered one notch above social drinking. At this point, trying to recount everything from the beginning feels like going to a high school reunion.
Ten days of my life were dedicated to that Lifetime movie I mentioned last time. Yeah. Feature film. Ten days. Da fuq, right?
We did it, but with excruciatingly long (and unpaid) overtime. Our craft services was a fold out table with 4 bags of Doritos on it and I worked several hours I wasn't compensated for, but a lot of good did come from the experience. Making friends is the quickest way to make any gig suck less, I've found. Get along with the people you work with and you've automatically converted a major burden into a saving grace.
There was the added bonus of being able to work under a production designer and art director. Our PD was a fountain of information who was gracious enough to feed me constant tips and tricks. He also showed me how to load and fire an AirSoft gun which was... exhilarating.
Other highlights of this production include: rolling prop joints in the pews of a church, high-energy Baptist church choir scenes, taking a photo inside a casket, dressing the inside of an ambulance, smashing a breakaway vase over my lil' head, and hardcore bonding with the house cat at one of our locations.
"Jessica!" you vociferate to the heavens, or seemingly to no one in particular, "Why do you work when you know you're not getting paid? Why do you stick around when by the time your hours are broken down you're making less than minimum wage? Why don't you refuse to be paid less than you're worth? Why don't you just walk off the set? Why do you just complain about the shoddy craft services and then go ahead and eat it anyway? Where is your pride? Where is your sense of moral responsibility to the vast and complex working microcosm that is the film community?"
All very good questions that I don't want to answer. On nearly everything I've worked on, people are overworked and severely underpaid. My initial stupid answer, coupled with a despairing shrug, is this: this is the nonunion fish bowl I was plopped into, and I'm awfully used to swimming around in it.
But I also want to briefly talk about the word "deserve," because I'm a millennial and people love using that word when they talk about my generation. I don't think I deserve to be paid the same as somebody who has been doing this 10 years, 5 years, or even 6 months longer than I have. I don't think I "deserve" to be paid less per se, but I certainly expect and accept it. NOTE HAÜEVER: accepting does not mean resting on laurels. Accepting straight up means having faith and knowing that for as long as I continue to kick ass there will always be progress. The only reason I have faith is because this has proven to work time and time again for me.
WELP. IT LOOKS LIKE I ACCIDENTALLY HIT A NERVE AND SEVERELY DERAILED MY OWN BLOG. MORE ON THIS SUBJECT AT A LATER DATE. DOOP DA-DA DOOP DA DOOP DA-DOOP.
On Day 10 we wrapped out at 1am, and I was on to my next set at 7:30am with my newfound art soul sister (or ASS for short). I helped her dress and decorate a biblical wedding scene, which was kind of fricking magical.
Then, 2 baffling days later, I was suddenly the art director on this new feature with my ASS. It would take the literary volume of the Chronicles of Narnia to go into detail about this movie... and that will certainly be its own blog (or fiction series). The baseline details are that this is:
- the largest thing I've ever worked on
- the most I've ever been paid
- the hardest I've ever bonded with my department
- the most disorganized jambalaya of easily avoidable chaos I've ever seen
The one glossy little detail I'd like to pick out of the rubble is that this is a union project! I repeat, this is union! My ASS brought me onto the holy grail of productions-- a non-union show that flipped and became union, meaning all of my days working on this beast are days towards me becoming eligible to join Local 44! That is straight MONEY, my friend.
I wish I could continue but if I do we'll be here all night. Go enjoy your Netflix and your crackers or whatever it is you eat and tune in next time. I'll be back. I promise.