It didn’t hit me right away. How could it. Such a profound thought. It needs to build slowly. It first came to me when I had three 18 hour days during a storm on a construction site. What do I do for a living? I work on film sets. Why were we on this construction site? So the “cops” can find the “body”. But what about my body? Was it not poisoned enough by coffee, craft services, and smoke? Was my mind not overwhelmed with logistics? Could a human being survive being put through such a meat grinder of producers, assistant managers, production assistants, grips, electrics, teamsters, location contacts, etc. Could someone juggle these things? The answer is yes.
And for a while, the answer has always been yes. Yes — Mr. Location Manger I’ll wake up at 3:30am to get to the building in Manhattan by 4:00am just so we can hang up signs with arrows. Oh — another 300 pound teamster clogged the toilet? Let me see what I can do. Ah, I see, you need someone to be here tomorrow by 7:00am and it is 2:30am. You know what? Old dumb ass over here will agree to that. Who needs sleep after 17 hours of work?
Seems like a fair trade. Anyone that ever did anything good in their life needed to sacrifice. So there I was, for four years, sacrificing. Taking pride in a 70-80 hour work weeks. Why not? I’m a man. Men love standing around and talking about how many hours they worked. We complain, but wear it like a badge of honor. We are fucking morons.
Day in and day out. I’m on set. Day in and day out I see the people who have the jobs I want. Most of them douche bags. Or do they only look like douche bags because they are being served sushi while I pick up trash. Sometimes I tell myself I won’t be a douche bag if I’m in their position. Any kind of coffee will do. Any kind of sushi. And maybe, I’ll even throw out my own garbage. But where is my candor? If I was them, I wouldn’t do shit either. Someone go get me a fucking taco.
Why do I put myself through this? It all started with something incredibly dumb. I wanted to be creative for a living. In fact, I still do. But right now — all I am doing is hustling in the “below the line” talent world. Overall, I’m just a spoke in the wheel. An expandable position. My input, means nothing to the overall wellness of the production. I could drop dead in a port-a-pottie and they would have a new person replacing me in a day. Literally, in a day.
So here I am, a weirdo, with 4 years of working on sets, who wants to be creative for a living. Telling myself sooner or later, throwing out all these garbage bags will somehow put me in a position to show someone important a script. “HEY – YOU SEE THAT ASSHOLE WHO HAS BEEN DRAGGING GARBAGE BACK AND FORTH? I WANT TO KNOW HIS STORY”
No you don’t want to know my story. You want me to be a dumb blond girl from Arizona State with her first PA job in NYC. That is what you want. What you want from me is long hours, obedience, and efficiency. Those guys who talk about their hours so proudly. That used to be me. I used to think that is who I was. Where I was going to make money… my success.
The problem is there is no success in this. Only slow painful death. I have chosen my poison. Death by production work. I will be the Dad who works all the time. Stress will overcome my personality. I’ll quit one habit only to pick up another. Depending on the season I’ll either be addicted to cocaine, coffee, cigarettes, or coca-cola. The four Cs of death in our business.
Then it hits me, like diamond bullet. It is so simple. So beautiful. Right stuck in traffic on the BQE. Right there — behind a milk truck. A car that smells like garbage. A brain that repetitively goes over the logistics for the next day of work. It hits me, behind a milk truck.
I could be writing.
Hollywood may never give me a contract. I may never win a screenwriting contest. Street Fighter may never be re-made with my vision! These dreams may not happen. What will happen is the writing. Stompy McNut will rip his opponents bottom lip off in Mad Battle X-1. Bobby Goodson will kill a man. A monster will dream of being famous… That last one sound familiar?
Unlike NYU graduates who never become the directors their parents paid for them to be. I can wake up at anytime of the day and do my favorite thing in the world. Write. I can write these fucking stories. I can write them till my finger tips bleed and my metacarpals rupture.
I can do whatever I want every day for the rest of my life.
So goodbye to the whores and the pimps of the dream. My wounds will be licked. My soul will be cleansed. I do not work for you anymore. This will not be my poison. Death by satisfaction is what I pick. It will be what I do. I choose to value the one thing that is more important than money, my time. It has become apparent to me it is much more important to spend that wisely.