6/30/2011

Job vs Calling



I just got a resume that highlights the PA applicant's "flexible schedule."

Talk about just not getting it.

If there's one thing that knocks people out of this industry, it's the hours. Your schedule is from when-we-tell-you-to-be-there until sometime after when-we're-done. There is no wiggle room on this. Once you've been around for a while and you're part of an established team, you can work it out where you get to attend family events like weddings. We're not so big a bunch of assholes as to tell you that you can't attend your mom's funeral but taking the evening off to go to a concert or to celebrate an anniversary just isn't in the cards if you're a rank and file filmmaker. You just have to learn to make life accommodate work because the reciprocal won't happen.

It would be nice to go do the things that everyone else gets to do, like have drinks on a Thursday evening, arrive at or leave work while the sun is up or know what my nieces and nephews look like. But, that's just not how this works because the culture of shooting-unit film makers is much more akin to that of presidential campaign staff, deployed Marines or lifetime missionaries than it is like that of the modern office professional. We do this, all day, every day and, as long as there's still days until picture wrap, everything else is secondary. Frankly, that's the way we prefer it. Life is just simpler this way.

The very notion of a "flexible schedule" gets snickers of derision because it smacks of someone unprepared for the lifestyle and you have to be prepared for the lifestyle if you're going to be any good or at all happy doing this.

4 comments:

nursemyra said...

I laughed at your tag. I always sit through the credits, I like to see the creative names of the catering companies and the insurers

peony said...

Playing Devil's Advocate, and not knowing exactly how this applicant highlighted the idea of "flexible schedule", is it possible you misinterpreted? In writing a resume to become a PA exactly how would you explain you understand and could work easily in the required flexible schedules..early morning to late at night, overnight, whatever? In the cover letter no one reads, perhaps? Should you write "I'll work anytime, anywhere, doing anything just to break into this industry I've dreamed of being a part of since I was 8 years old"? I've already heard how the cognoscenti react with hilarity to that kind of open neediness. Maybe the applicant for this entry level position was just telling you they were aware of the rigors of the trade. You were all beginners once...and smug doesn't suit your personality at all.

Michael Taylor said...

Very true. Signing on to work a feature or episodic television show is a lot like being handed a prison sentence for the duration of the production. You'll have time to work, eat, and sleep -- although never enough of the latter -- and that's all. Your social life, such as it is, will be limited to your fellow inmates on the show. The food and money is a lot better than what you'd get while stamping out license plates, and the ass-fuckings dispensed during those long hours on set are metaphorical rather than the all-too-real variety behind bars, but the comparison holds.

And when the job is finally over, you walk out of that prison blinking in the harsh light of a brand new day...

John Myste said...

I have a flexible work schedule. I work from home. I am blessed.