Sunday, August 28, 2016

60+ hour workweek and a weekend later...

I know y'all who do Not work in the entertainment industry don't understand. When you have to work more than your standard 40-hour workweek, you end up complaining about your boss being a dick or what-have-you. I've worked in other industries and rarely had an opportunity for overtime, so I guess I'm #Blessed in that regard. When I was a tour guide at Warner Bros. last summer, there were occasional 12-hour shifts or six-day weeks, but you pretty much always had to be the one volunteering for the overtime. If it was going to be available, you put your name on a list, so they'd know who to ask. And I get it; not everyone has the time available to them to put in extra hours or maybe they just don't want them.

But since I arrived in California, back in 2002, I have never held a regular, "9-5" kind of job. Okay, I take that back. Near the end of '02, I had been temping here and there (not full-time, of course), and I went to an audition to be the "face" of an alternative healthcare company. Very Hollyweird. I was the first auditioner they saw, so I helped them set up the video camera. Didn't get the part, but I was offered the "role" of Office Manager. The office was a shared space with a laser hair-removal business. My "role" would be to Reception any potential new clients, either over the phone or in person as they walked in; Sales them any of the myriad of snake-oil products we were carrying; Clinical Assistant them to make sure they got an appointment with our Doctor on staff, kept it, and did whatever follow-up he'd "prescribed" for them. This company was Incredibly Hollyweird, and my schedule was such that, even though I was supposed to take a "get away from the front desk" lunch hour, there was never anyone else around who could cover the phones or the front door, Just In Case a client appeared for us rather than hair-removal. We're talking toning creams and shit like that, each one specifically designed for a specific problem area (facial toning, boob firming, cellulite erasing, etc.), but probably all of them containing the exact same formula of ineffective goop. Ennyhoo, we had no clients, per se, so the company went under and laid me off at Christmas. That was my last "9-5" gig, and after I took my unemployment insurance benefits to bartending school, I found my way into my real industry.

I've done a lot of different gigs in the last decade-plus. Lately, the three things that have kept me financially stable have been background acting (a.k.a. "BG"), Script Supervision (a.k.a. "Scripty"), and Unemployment Insurance (a.k.a. "UI" or "every actor's real job"). Lately, I've picked up quite a few gigs that have disallowed my collection of UI, and as you know, Working Makes Me Happy. I'm currently heading into Day 6 of 18 as a Scripty on a YouTube-style webseries. The creators of this show are hoping to "sell" the completed first season (only 7 episodes, but a complete story-arc season) to one of the "big boys" and pick up multiple seasons (which will all, of course, have higher budgets so we can really do it "right"). The season of episodes we're IN is So Much Fun to work on. Yeah, it's 12-hour workdays, and last week was five of 'em, so we're all grateful for the wind-down time of weekends. But in the next two weeks, we'll only shoot 3 of the 5 workdays, giving me an opportunity to maybe pick up some BG work or just chill out.

I obviously can't tell you anything at all about the show. When they release the episodes to YouTube (or elsewhere), I'm sure they'll send us a link so that we can help with publicity. For now, know that it's gonna be fun, when you do get to watch it. and that I Feel Good about my contribution to this project. I have the skills and mindset for Script Supervision, but to give you an idea of why this is "not a job for everyone", it tends to be much more analytical than creative. On most sets, I'm relegated to taking notes and grabbing screenshots of the monitors, so I can prove that the angles match appropriately, the audience won't be confused by what they see, and if someone loosens his tie in one angle, then the damn thing is loose in the other (matching) angles! But on this show, I feel valued for contributing. I help the director, who happens to be a bit of a newbie, understand what "matching" should entail, and I offer suggestions as we go, and I always feel appreciated. I would work with any member of this cast or crew again, in a heartbeat.

In other news, Stephen's been awarded a rather large Target gift card for various "attaboy" contributions at his job, so since we recently killed our blender motor, today we did the Costco walking/sampling lunch and then spent some of that Target gift card on whatever he felt like carrying home. Got the blender, a new remote for the PS4 (so I don't have to fight with a game controller when I want to watch a movie on disc), and The Martian on Blu-Ray, among

other things.

Cocoa's got a big 'ol scab on the back of her neck, so we're keeping an eye on it. Smokey's fine. They both are pretty unhappy with my long workdays, but they'll get over 'em. We haven't found a new place to live, but I desperately want to be able to give notice here, sooner rather than later. The smokers in the building are really getting to be annoying. Burbank has very strict smoking laws, and smoking in shared/common areas of a multi-family housing building or within 20 feet of any building entrance is Against The Law. All of the friendly "please take your smoking outside" requests have become fodder for smoking-taunting. We're ready to call the law on 'em. It ain't pretty. I'd honestly rather just fucking move than deal with it anymore. I bought frozen cut okra last weekend, and this weekend, I've been adding it to my crockpot pulled-pork-and-collards. Yummm. Oh, and French Press MMMMMMocha all week, as well.

And you're caught up! Time for some tv or a movie and a glass of wine. Three days of guaranteed work for me this week, so maybe I'll check back before Sunday! Have you done anything of note in the past week?

Saturday, August 20, 2016


So I'm still getting notices from WestSide Rentals, but I haven't been out to see anything new lately.

  1. I fucked up my knee, either from running on set on Wednesday, or possibly only exacerbated by the running, after stepping into what felt like a bottomless hole while out apartment-hunting on Monday. I've been to see a doc about it, but by the time I actually saw the doc, most of the swelling had abated. This is not the fault of "the system" or Kaiser Permanente. It's my fault. I'm the one who waited to do anything other than ice/elevate. Spoke with the doc two days before I saw her, so she also gave recommendations re: NSAIDs (vs. aspirin) and the use of my brace. Her rec's worked well enough that the issue was nearly resolved when she finally got to palpate me. Nothing major on the x-rays, either.
  2. Stephen submitted his resume online for that supervisory position with his company, and he immediately got scheduled for an interview! I was available to take him that day, so I walked my steps in a nice neighborhood we'll never have a reason to move to, and when his 'view was finished, we came home and he packed his bag. Cocoa tried to help him pack. At least she left her scent on all of his socks and underwear!
  3. I sent Stephen to Idaho for a visit with his mom and his brother's family. His mom has been experiencing memory-loss issues, and Stephen needed to see for himself if it's as bad as all that. His brother takes after his mother, you see. They are worriers, and so situations can tend to be blown out of proportion, and Stephen and I can tend to just believe that things are as dire as they say. So he's there, seeing what's what. From what I can tell, he's having a good visit, but there are times when his eyeballs leak a little. Must be the potato fields are dusty or something.
  4. I got paid for my rush-call day with the TARDIS but have yet to receive my pay for the day I exacerbated my knee. Maybe today. I've done a little cleaning. I'm prepping for a big Scripty gig that starts Monday. I called Daddy to get instructions on using my single-serve French Press (because I'd forgotten), and after tweaking the instructions somewhat, I have had two cups today. I'll probably have two cups tomorrow. I'm using the Jose's Vanilla Nut beans, coarsely ground, and I'm heating milk, not water, to which I add chocolate syrup before I press it into the beans/grinds. YuMMMMMMMMMocha!
  5. Had to uninstall and reinstall Twitter in my phone, because it just kept crashing on me. It works so well now, that I was basically on it all morning, interacting on my timeline to the point that I had just enough time to get to "the beginning", read the 100+ notifications, re-check the beginning, and plug in the phone because it's now Dead, Jim.
It's Saturday, and even though I know that I have been productive, I'm feelin' okay. I'm not rushed to do anything "real"; I don't have to feel badly about my online time or my game time or my just-chill-with-the-furbabies time. And I still have Sunday ahead, to do more of the same!

What's going on in YOUR world this fine weekend?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Catching you up

This was supposed to post on Thursday, but I got in from my day a bit too late to hit publish. Pretend it's Thursday, while you're reading. ;)

Since last we met, I've abraded the side of my tongue in the hole left by the broken tooth, and healed. The tooth is still inside my jaw, and it still has a hole in it. I have not had any dental work done, and I really only notice the jagged nature of it when I'm eating. So, no big deal.
I really don't get why it's so hard to show you that the front molar is MISSING a big chunk of actual tooth!
{Oh yeah, speaking of "missing" - the other day, Daddy went "missing". His sister-in-law started texting me to see if I'd talked to him that day, because she'd been trying all morning, and hadn't reached him. I texted back the gist of the last convo I'd had with him (namely, that he'd left his cell in her car), and then I tried calling him on his landline and cell, and when I got voicemail for both, I sent him an email that she was worried about him. She and her husband (Daddy's brother, my uncle) went out looking for him. They found him at the doc's office, essentially stranded, because he relies on the medical transport service that's available to him, but he'd also left his cell phone At Home. So they took him to a meal, informed me that he'd been "found", and I passed that info on to my big sis, whom I'd called to see if she'd been looped in (she hadn't). We all laughed a little and were grateful, but I think we may also have all cried a little, too. Aging is not for the weak. #GoMarinesorsomething, whatever a non-Marine would say in this sitch to a tough guy whose primary weakness is paranoia. #LoveYouDaddy. <3}

We also received notice that our apartment building is raising the rent again. Last year's rent increase was more than $100/month, and this year's is nearly $100/month. Our apartment, with the management caring more about the cosmetic aspects than safety or comfort of the tenants, saving money, or enforcement of (smoking) rules, is now TOTALLY not worth the cost of living here. It was GREAT when we first arrived; we really needed it, so we could get out of our pet-friendly hotel in Whittier; it was a BLESSING. But now, not so much.

Which means we get to move again. So Stephen did the thing he always does, which is check the craigslist housing ads, find appropriate apartments and send the links to me. I made some phone calls, and what happened next is what always happens with LA Craigslist. Nothing. No one who advertises on Craigslist (at least for apartments) ever calls you back. Okay, 99% don't call back.

So we joined Westside Rentals. Again. All the luck I've ever had with finding a good apartment in LA has been with a Westside Rentals membership. This is probably because landlords know that apartment hunters there are paying for the privilege, so they're (WE'RE) serious, not just lookie-lou's. We immediately found some appropriate housing, and started seeing places together (and separately, when I was available but Stephen was not). We've found some really great housing, but we joined right at the beginning of August, which means we can't give notice to our current landlords until we find one that we love, and we can't settle on one that we love if it's available now. Our other "problem" with this particular housing hunt is not so much a problem as it is a possible blessing.

Stephen's job has been grooming him for a promotion. They absolutely promote within the system, but never in-house. Meaning, if the Floor Supervisor position that just opened goes to him, he'll be transferred to the Pasadena store. If an Assistant Manager position opens up anytime soon, and they pick him for it, it definitely won't be in the Burbank/NoHo store. So we can't necessarily find a perfect NoHo apartment if he's going to be based in Pasadena or elsewhere. He doesn't yet have a vehicle of his own; most one-bedroom apartments only have one parking space included; he uses public transit like a CHAMP (but that will be a helluva commute, adding three or more hours to each workday).

So the apartment hunt is on hold. We'll spend at least one more month in Burbank. Dammit. No, trust me, I get that this place has been a godsend. I'm just done here. I'm done. Wah, I know. #FirstWorldProblems. It's so sad, I know, that Stephen's doing so well at his job that he keeps winning Target gift cards, and those suckers add up (to the point where he could go on a major shopping spree, and I wouldn't even stop him!), and that they want him to climb a little corporate ladder, and that he's Really Good at PetCare Sales.

BUT, I've also gotten to work a few times since last we spoke. I had a fitting for that show I got upgraded on last year, and then I worked a day in this new season. Yesterday, I worked on a very popular FOX show that some of you may watch (Stephen and I saw all of S1, and then S2 was interrupted with a move, and then we saw all of S3, and then S4 would have been interrupted with our last move, so we just didn't bother to watch after S3). I know, that description does Not Help You At All, but things are Just So kept "under wraps" in Hollyweird that they have you sign multiple NDA's and threaten you with bodily harm. Honestly, I understand the need to not mention any plot points or post photos of anyone, because you never know who's going to figure out the "Big Reveal", especially if we're not told ahead of time what that "Big Reveal" is. So we "VagueBook" or say nothing at all, just to be super-dooper safe.

Ennyhoo, yesterday was an interesting day, and Any Day On Set Is a Good Day, so there's that. Got home, hung out with Stephen, put myself on avail, went to bed.

THIS MORNING at 5:30, Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles Governor woke me,
and when that happens, I Answer. I booked a rush call! With my car! Can you be at the FOX lot by 8:48? I dunno what time it is NOW (5:30) - Yes, I Can. Okay, then, here are your details. Have a great day on set!

***Stephanie had gone shopping with me to help me upgrade my wardrobe to a bit more Moira Queen, and in the first week of August, I updated my photo at Central. So, because of my photo and being on the avail list, I booked today. I know for a fact that both of those reasons played in my favor at 5:30 this morning. So I packed my Navy garment bag full of my newly-upscaled wardrobe, got fully ready, and headed out. I arrived by 7 a.m. They didn't have me on the list, of course. I eventually made it onto the lot and found my way over to holding, where I could apply my makeup and fill my coffee mug. The morning, albeit half-asleep, was pretty darn good. The DGA trainee noticed my bag and we chatted all day, about the Navy (I'm a brat only, but he didn't hold that against me) and about the DGA Trainee program. He's the oldest DGA Trainee I've ever met, but I'm glad to know that AGE is not the reason they'll ever turn you down (neither is EXPERIENCE, if you believe Mr. From Today). The wardrobe department LOVED my stuff. Thank you, Stephanie! I got to wear both the suit you gave me and the new suit-dress I bought (on your and Stephen's recommendation), plus some other items you had told me were already upscale. Yes, we were told to bring 3 changes. I brought 6, I think. I don't yet trust myself. :/

Got to work. Made friends with the Craft Services dude. Made friends with ALL of the AD and PA staff. I was possibly the oldest member of the background there today, so I offered assistance as "Mother Hen" for the PA's (in wrangling the significantly-younger adult bg). It was Day 4 of their shoot schedule, so they didn't yet have a "groove" or rhythm in place. They're still learning each other's personalities, this crew. They all appreciated my willingness to participate wherever in finding a "flow". And the other bg followed my lead, in a very friendly way.

It was a good day. The TARDIS got to work. I got to work. They used me a lot, and will likely bring me back as an established person. As I was getting back into my car at wrap, I had a lovely convo with the 1st AD, about all that we had accomplished today, and how much we both want me to return. This is a new show, kids. I'll tell you more when they allow me to, but trust me when I say we'll probably all decide to watch it regularly, for whatever personal reasons we have. No, it's not another Mad Men or the muppets, but you may still end up seeing a lot of me (time will tell).

I LOVE MY LIFE, MY JOBS, THE POSSIBILITIES THAT EXIST AROUND EVERY CORNER. I'm sorry I've been gone so long. It's not that I've had nothing to say; I just haven't been able to say it, until now. I've been BLESSED. How 'bout you?