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, October 7, 2012


                                   I've got... nothing...

It was a hard week, folks.  Given the extremely low budget of my show (pretty much the bottom of the multi-camera barrel), the ambition of our writers never ceases to amaze me.  Week in and week out, they send scripts down from the Writer's Room with scenes requiring ever-bigger swing sets and flashier visuals.  This approach makes a certain sense given that our show is essentially just a live-action cartoon written to hold the attention of young, easily-bored children, but it poses endless challenges for those of us who do the heavy lifting required to bring those visions to life.

Then there's the matter of the four day week...  I've never been on a show that worked so many four day weeks in one season.  Most of these were due to holidays, but last week -- for reasons best known to those in the executive suites -- we were given only four days to crank out a show that is normally extruded over the course of five days.  Since most of the crew works on a daily rate, this translates into doing the same work in 20% less time -- meaning 20% less pay -- and this while working under a cable contract that's already paying us 20% under union scale.

I'm sensing a pattern here -- and where some might see this as a sterling example of "greater productivity," I see the crew getting fucked.  Again.

The Gaffer and Best Boy did the cranial work of figuring out the logistics, but it was up to the juicers -- the ground-assault infantry of set lighting -- to climb the steep and rocky slopes, then plant the flag atop Mt. Suribachi.*  As always, that's what we did, keeping everybody above-the-line happy.  In the end, it worked out for us as well, since a decision was made to move one of the main sets big trans-light backdrops several feet back -- which meant we had to move several big lamps on the pipe grid and add another half dozen lamps to cover the wider area down below.  Rather than do the work on expensive overtime after finishing the show, production opted to bring us in for another eight hour day.

So we got our five days after all, and with the weekend finally here, I'm fried.  I've got nothing.  Zip, zero, zilch, nada, naught, bupkis.

Maybe it's time to take a break.  I sense the need to catch a second wind here at BS&T, because when I'm fried, I get grumpy, and when I'm grumpy, I've got nothing good to say to or about anybody. So rather than shout "Get off my lawn!" at the rest of the world, I'm just gonna shut the door, pull the drapes, and sit here in the dark for while to let the batteries recharge.

I'll be back...

* If you don't understand the reference, you should.  It's an important piece of your own history, kids.  Google it...

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