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, September 25, 2011

The Gears of Karma

C’est la vie say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

(Chuck Berry)

The gears of Karmic Justice generally grind with maddening deliberation in this troubled world, offering little satisfaction for those of us who would rather see wrongs righted with a little more alacrity. Villains usually do get their comeuppance bitch-slaps in the long run, but such justice can take a while to unfold. Meanwhile, bad things keep happening to good people for no coherent reason at all.

Every now and then, though, those cosmic gears manage to produce a very satisfying -- if unexpected -- justice in a more timely manner.

A recent post here discussed the sad side of my show getting picked up for a second season: those crew members who did not rejoin us on stage. Some left by choice, others due to an unfortunate cascade of circumstances, but two of the stand-ins were let go – fired – for stated reasons none of the crew could understand or accept. They were both professional stand-ins who knew their job and did it well, but the Powers That Be way up the production food chain ordered them gone, so they disappeared.*

Hollywood has never been known for loyalty, but this was ridiculous. Those two stand-ins just got hosed, which pissed off everyone on the crew – including, as it turned out, our lead actor, who didn’t learn that his stand-in had been fired until our first day back on set. To this actor’s everlasting credit, he hit the roof, then called the execs responsible on the carpet and demanded that his stand-in be re-hired. The following Monday, that stand-in was back with us on the show.

Stand-ins occupy a unique and awkward position on a production. Neither fish nor fowl, they’re not really part of the technical crew nor are they actual cast members, but they are an essential cog in the machine of a television show. If “their” actors aren’t willing to go to bat for them, they’re shit out of luck – which is why we were all very glad to see justice delivered and this stand-in return to the fold.

But that left the other stand-in – who subbed for our lead actress – out in the cold. Still, those Karmic Gears don’t always grind in a linear fashion. Being very good at her job, she quickly found a new home on a much bigger broadcast network sit-com, where her real talents were soon noticed. Last week she got a major break in the form of a speaking role as an actor on her new show. Finally, this hard working stand-in got a chance to spread her acting wings and fly on screen. For her, this is huge – a major increase in pay for the week and a big boost to a late-blooming acting career that must have seemed like it would never come.

And if she hadn't been fired from our show (however unjustly), none of this would have happened.

Which just goes to demonstrate that in Hollywood, opportunity can come in many disguises. Anything can happen at anytime, and what feels like a soul-crushing disaster can in fact be the sound of a golden door being unlocked and opening wide. If you keep pushing, doing a great job, and showing people what you’re capable of, good things can happen. This is a useful lesson for everyone in this industry -- young or old -- to recall.

Sometimes those Hollywood dreams really can come true.

* If you think that job is easy, you don’t understand what they really do...

1 comment:

Penny said...

Thanks for bringing Devs and my story to light, Mike! I think you're quite right about the gears of Karmic Justice. Whilst being booted hit a new level of crappy treatment in my world, at least I'm now with people that actually appreciate what I do.

And that feels really good...! ;)

My best as always to you,