Workaholics go to Meetings

I was shoo'd out of the office yesterday. After the fourth consecutive day of fourteen and a half hours my boss told me I had to go home, "before I became a liability." Mind you, at one point or another over the course of preproduction she's done this to everyone on the staff, usually after less time than it took for me. I presume this is because I never complain about how long the days are and I never ask to go home.

There's just so much to do: travel documentation, purchasing, accounting backup, shipping, provisioning, clearances, rentals, housing, transport, tax exemptions, insurance certifications, deal memos, crew lists, vendor lists, paper distro, day files, read-throughs, scouts, camera tests, fittings, catering to talent in town and to producers back on the west coast, and is it all worth it if, in the toss and tussle, you forget to do your time-card. Even sleeping six hours a night and skipping meals, there literally aren't enough hours in the day.

A new intern starts on Monday and principle photography starts on Thursday. The workload will spread and the days will be whittled down to a piddly eleven hours.

This is how movies are made. This is the life I have chosen.

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Do Not Read this if You are with the Press

"What the fuck are you talking about?" is probably the question I hear most often. While it comes in response to approximately a third of everything I say, it comes most often in regards to a particular far reaching topic that I am going to take a few lines to explain for the sake of the vulgar masses.

My friend Kitten, who shall remain nameless, and I once hatched a plot to conquer the world. As everyone knows, global domination is impossible without a stranglehold on the international vanilla trade. Madagascar, the large autonomous island off the East coast of Africa, is the world's largest supplier of organic vanilla. Naturally, my nameless friend Kitten and I stole Madagascar. It is currently folded up on his desk and thus the fate of our future world oligarchy is secure and I can feel comfortable explaining all this to you.

We were also able to secure the glass skull from Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which makes us nearly invincible. As you can see, all that leaves is to secure the cooperation of the Semite Eating Gorillas of South Congo[TM] and the world will be ours.

It is important to note that none of this would have been possible without the gospel stylings of John Kerry's campaign staff, the insight of Brian from Vancouver/Boston/London/Tokyo/Lhasa/Melbourne, the nano-football that created walled city and lots and lots of coffee.

Please be advised that once the domination has been completed, the following will be required of all people of Earth:

1. All men must get haircuts akin to a young John Travolta or have their scalps implanted with microfilaments that will all stand directly vertical. All women must adopt hairstyles equivalent to Lita Ford c. 1986 or shave their heads.

2. The word "Cyberpunk" will replace all curse words and most common adjectives and irregular verbs much in the manner of the word "Smurf" in its respective fictional setting.

3. Drum Corps exhibitions will replace Monday Night Football and DCI championships will replace the super bowl. Additionally, a distinction between 'games,' competitions which do not require a significant degree of athleticism: bowling, baseball, shuffleboard, golf, Statego, poker, racecar driving etc and 'sports' which do: gymnastics, football (erroneously called soccer in the US), synchronized swimming, Iron Man etc. Anyone who plays a 'game' for a living, barring chess or go, will be limited to an annual salary of $15 and a case of Charmin.

4. The owning of stock in a corporation by which you have never been employed will be outlawed as it is patently immoral and has gone on way to long.

5. The annual compensation of any government or corporate employee not employed in education will never exceed that of a first grade teacher. Moreover, thirteen compulsory years of education will be used to actually educate the youth of the world in a critical and meaningful way.

6. All male nurses will be required to find other gainful employment as the only thing a man should nurse is a bottle of scotch.

7. At designated weekly sessions, everyone will boogie.

This will all wait, of course, until Kitten comes to acknowledge that my Wife is not, in fact, a figment of my imagination.

I hope this clarifies the situation for everyone. Please make a note of these things and remember that no one is to talk to the press.

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Why is it that no one can seem to engage their brain while grocery shopping?

Does something about institutional lighting and badly waxed floors inhibit higher function in everyone but me?

It seems that when most people attach themselves to a shopping trolley the things they once knew about piloting other wheeled craft whisp out their ears as if propelled by the mist-makers in the produce aisle. Steering, right of way and the base idea that one doesn't simply abandon the vehicle when something shiny catches one's notice, are all gone. Children run wild, uncontrolled and unsupervised up and down the rows of neatly arranged merchandise. How someone can meditate over a shelf full of tuna for a quarter hour, I will never understand.

This is why I prefer to do my shopping late, late at night, when the store is functionally deserted.

Finding a cashier at that hour, that's something else.

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Hawking Mayonnaise

It happens every time. Not usually in the early morning and rarely late at night, but in the afternoon, around the time schools let out, it happens. We're all calmly working our way down the call sheet from each scene to the next. The AD barks; the grips and electrics wrangle; vanity primps and PA's scurry. We're all just doing our jobs and it happens every time.

We acquire spectators. A group of onlookers, anywhere from a gaggle to a crowd forms at the periphery of set, held at bay by the words and glares the production department's junior members. They stare. They gawk. They mumble. They ask useless questions. They ask to be extras. They demand to meet whoever's famous. Most of all, they distract the crew and waste the PAs' time.

Now, I can forgive people for being curious. A location shoot is a big deal. There's trucks, strangers and all kinds of unfamiliar activity. I can understand wanting to know what movie it is that's shooting on your block. What I don't understand is why people will stand at the edge of a set and watch the ongoing work for hours and hours.

There's an old joke in the industry, "What do movies and sausage have in common?"

"You may love them both when they're done but you never want to see them being made, and largely for the same reason."

Watching a movie being made is probably the most boring activity in which one can engage. You'd be more entertained if you hung out at the football stadium when they put the logos in the end zone. Then you at least to get to watch paint dry and grass grow at the same time.

And, if you ever ask someone on location what it is that they're shooting and they reply, "Mayonnaise commercial," please understand that that you are the butt of an inside joke. We tell people that because, no matter how fascinating a shoot might seem, no one is going to hang around to watch a mayonnaise commercial being made.

More succinctly, "Mayonnaise commercial" is industry parlance for "Fuck off."