Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Down the Stretch

Working, and then some...


















On the long walk back to my apartment after another late Friday shoot-night, I came across this ancient Cathode Ray Gun -- apparently still in good working order -- left on the curb for the first willing taker. The image sums up my current situation rather nicely.



We're heading down the stretch on my little cable sit-com now, shooting the final episodes of Season One while keeping our collective fingers crossed that this is just the first of many. Four or five more seasons would work just fine for me, but right now I'd settle for Season Two.

One step at a time.

For reasons I don't understand (not that the "why" really matters at this point), our producers juggled the usual three-weeks-on/one-week-off cycle in favor of shooting the final five episodes straight through, with no hiatus weeks off. Once accustomed to working the normal sit-com schedule, anything else feels like a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which means nobody on the crew is happy about this -- but the reality is we're mere playthings of the Gods above-the-line who control our weekly destiny. When they say "jump," the only acceptable response is to ask "how high?"*

One of our core cast members probably had a conflict of one sort or another, so we took two hiatus weeks sandwiched around one week of work last month, and are now slogging through the Death March towards Episode 30. It hasn't been much fun getting our asses so thoroughly kicked the past few weeks. The scripts are more ambitious lately, with more and bigger swing sets, all of which must be treated to the usual level of lighting, tweaking, re-lighting, and yet more tweaking before being shot-out and torn down. My work days have been starting earlier and ending considerably later than normal, leaving me dragging my ass like a three-legged donkey by the weekend.

And that's my excuse for such a short and relatively content-free post this week. It's all I have the time/energy for, and with the next show's script calling for a similarly bruising load of swing sets, we're in for another long week.

So bear with me, people. No doubt I'll be back to my usual long-winded bleating eventually, but not until we finally crawl across the finish line marking the end of Season One. At that point I'll commence the burning of incense, chanting, and ritual sacrifice of small helpless animals in an effort to entice the Gods of Hollywood to grant us a Season Two.

Whatever works...


* Anybody toiling in the Killing Fields of episodics or features will snort derisively at this, and with good reason. But I've said it before and I'll say it again -- life in Hollywood is graded on the curve of one's own experience and expectations. Having done my time in the long-hour/late-night trenches over the past 34 years, I've got nothing left to prove.

6 comments:

boskolives said...

In the land of the un or under employed, the guy who still has an actual gig, even if it's one that's in the final death moves, is the king.

All Hail the only working dude I know of!!!

www.boskolives.wordpress.com

Penny said...

I hear ya Mikey. Few people outside our working environment can appreciate that after three weeks, nothing seems funny! Actors are tired, writers are exhausted, crews are pooped, and from this magical recipe we must create the soup that is comedy?

And yes, may we still manage to pull it all together for at least five more seasons!!!

D said...

"Snort" :)

Michael Taylor said...

Bosko --

A ton of pilots are happening right now. Maybe with a little luck -- and a few dozen phone calls -- you can land one.

Penny --

After yesterday's beating, I'm convinced the writers are trying to kill us this week. And they seemed so nice...

D --

Snort away, my friend -- you've earned the right. A week working on your show would probably put me in the grave, which is why I am where I am today.

Anonymous said...

"leaving me dragging my ass like a three-legged donkey by the weekend."

But I'm sure you look hot doing it....

A.J. said...

I feel ya, Michael. I've been so busy with work myself that I have little time or energy for anything else. But pilot season is winding down, your last episode will wrap, and it won't be long before we're both itching for something to do...