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, December 15, 2013

That's a Wrap...

...on 2013

                        Working the Christmas episode for Disney

Maybe it's just me, but this holiday season felt a lot more compressed than usual. Whether due to a quirk of the calendar or the ever-accelerating crush of modern life, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas have been a blur -- and it'll be 2014 before we know it.

Although I'd prefer the passage of time to slow down a bit, I won't be sorry to see 2013 disappear in the rear-view mirror.  For a number reasons -- and at times, the oncoming black tide took on the biblical proportions of a tsunami -- this was one rough year for me and many people I know.  On my end, the only real blessing was work, and lots of it.  In the sheer quantity of days worked, this was my busiest year ever.  It was all cable-rate, of course -- of the 190 and-then-some days I logged this year, none were at full union scale.  Zip, zero, zilch, nada.  Last year was nearly as busy, but only two of those work days paid full scale -- the rest were under one sub-scale cable contract or another.

I did the math, and it's depressing: 99.5% of my work over 2012 and 2013 was at cable rate. That's a lot more than a trend -- at this point cable-rate seems to be the New Normal.  I don't like it, but there are a lot of things I don't like in this ugly new millennium. This is just one more cold lump of coal in the Christmas stocking.

Still, quantity can help compensate for quality, and I'm lucky to have enjoyed such a consistent roll of employment these past two years -- almost (but not quite) a Tuna Run.  Having toiled long and hard as an itinerant day-player in the cinematic vineyards of Hollywood, I know very well how it feels to wait for the phone to ring in the hopes of scraping by for one more month on just-enough-money.  Not all my fellow Industry Work-Bots managed to get enough work this year, so despite the ongoing insult of cable-rate, I have to be grateful for my good fortune.  All any of us in this business can do is take the good with the bad and pray that it all evens out in the end -- but in the meantime, I'll kiss 2013 goodbye with an eye towards a better year to come for us all.

Thanks to everybody for tuning in this year, and especially those of you who took the time to comment on what you found here.  This blog is meant to start a conversation whenever possible, not simply serve as a soapbox for my wordy, meandering pontifications. Pro or con, your comments and e-mails mean a lot.

I wish all of you the best in this holiday season, and hope to see you back here in the New Year.

Merry Christmas.


Austin said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Michael,

It was a pleasure to read your blog every Sunday for another year, looking forward to do so in 2014 again.


k4kafka said...

Your blog is that "gift that keeps on giving" all year-round. Please stay at it...especially when it all seems so hopeless...

Penny said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for acknowledging your less fortunate fellow Work-Bots such as myself.

Isn't it interesting how the production companies can always find money for Christmas decorations, yet never the budget to adequately pay the workers who hang and light them, and break them down after the important people have had their share of free wine and food? Just a thought...

Wishing you a kinder New Year in 2014,

Michael Taylor said...


Thanks for the good wishes and kind words -- it's always gratifying to hear from readers who like what they find here.

Kafka --

Thanks for tuning in -- hope to see you back on set soon.

Penny --

I hear you. The fickle Gods of Hollywood gave you the bitch-slap back of their hand this year, no doubt about it. That you managed to get through such a brutal year in good spirits says a lot about you -- all of it good. So onward, into a better New Year for us all...

12pt said...

Michael! You're a joy to have in the blogging community. A much better member than I. Indeed. Good things in 2014 are coming. I can feel it. It's either that, or I'll die in a plane crash over Christmas break. Not sure which yet, time will tell.

I hope my site's not still giving you 504s. If so... fuck me, man. I don't know what to do about it.

Michael Taylor said...

12 pt --

I hope you're right -- about 2014 being better, not the plane crash. Thanks for the kind words... but unfortunately, I'm still getting the 504 rejection on your site. I just tried it again using the 12 pt link in your message, and got the same old "timed out" message. I cleared out my computer's history and everything, but no dice -- which is a bummer, since I like your blog a lot.

It's a digital mystery, and one more straw on the camel's back of 2013...

12pt said...

Hey Michael,

I don't know how'll you'll comment, but you can at least read the articles by using my RSS feed on feedburner.

It will show the latest posts.

I'm thinking of changing hosts sometime next year... I haven't had any luck trying to figure out this 504 problem.