Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BBQ Heaven

So it's not every job that you get to do something you really, really enjoy.  I enjoy BBQ.  I'm from the south, and BBQ is one of those things that just seams to grow on trees here.  This show that was supposed to be a 4 day thing in Decatur, Alabama, turned into a 5 day thing with a free road trip to Carbondale, Illinois.  And from there it turned into a two week gig!

It's all happening very last minute but overall I got to say it's well worth it.  We modified the original plan a bit so I could go back up and rejoin the crew on Wednesday.  I drove back to Decatur Monday.  After eating dinner with my mom in neighboring Huntsville, I drove back to Birmingham.  From there I have a day to pack, wash clothes, and get all my loose ends tied up before the following day.  

It's pretty exciting stuff.  Next week we'll be in Kansas City.  I've never been there so I'm pretty stoked. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Picture Finish!

It's over!  The first feature film to shoot in Alabama since the state passed its film incentives act is done.  We wrapped production September 5th and now, as of last night, the office is done too.  However, of the 48 days I spent involved with the movie only 18 of them count towards my DGA goal. While  I was still a PA the rest of the time, no official call sheet for those other days means that they're not valid in terms of the DGA requirements.  

It sounds silly, and it's not meant to be easy, after all, a day is a day right?  Well, kinda.  A day on set is way more important than an office day in the eyes of the DGA.  Or at least that's the feeling I get.  

A really strict confidentiality agreement prevents me from spilling the beans regarding this finished project, but what I can say is that it was a lot of work, stressful, but fun.  Doing a feature film in 18 days is a bit like trying to run a marathon without stopping for water.  Despite the difficulties, meeting a ton of really awesome people who all had some really cool stories and tips to share made it well worth the effort.  

Where to next?  Just got booked for a four day reality tv show shoot in north Alabama.  We'll see how that goes.  Hopefully I'll get some more days to scratch off.

10:4.  Switching back to channel 1.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Film Slave

I am a slave to film.  Why?  I don't really know where or why or how it all started but the course is set and here we are. What I do know is that for the next several years I have decided to dedicate myself to the goal of collecting 600 on-set call sheet days as a production assistant (PA), the lowest ranking member of the totem poll, until finally I can one day apply to the Directors Guild of America and start making the big bucks.  Before going any further though, I think we must first understand what is at stake here.

1.  No life.  First and for-most this task is going to require a ton of time.  Having already collected my first 18 days off a feature film shoot in Birmingham, Alabama, I'm now beginning to understand what that means.  It means getting to set at 5:30 AM, busting your ass for fifteen hours, going home at 9:00 at night, getting six hours of sleep, and the doing it all over again.  There's very little room in here for anything like your family, girlfriend/boyfriend, pets, friends, much less things that you probably do everyday like watch tv, go to the movies, or video games.  The only friends you'll are set friends.  And they're exactly that, set in your life for a few weeks at a time and gone when the show is over.

2.  Not much pay.  Anyone working any job could probably complain about this.  Piled on with the fact that working in the production industry means you have to stretch your check out in between jobs, it can sometimes make life really minimalistic, especially in these times.

3.  Unsteady future.  The film industry is glamourous and everyone wants a piece of it.  I mean, who doesn't want to wake up at 4 in the morning and be on set for the next 20 hours?!  I know I do!  Of course there's lots of competition over the same job, always will be, that's a no-brainer.  What's most unsettling right now is what's going on in the realm of distribution, ie: how everyone makes money so we can keep making films.   Movie theater attendance is way down and with so many fingers in the pie is getting hard to see who's to blame.  Maybe a new crew needs to take over the film industry.  The old guys seem to be running out of ideas.  That's what my generation is here to fix. 

And that's why these 582 more days are going to be worth it.