Tuesday, June 26, 2007

tuesdays with jeff

anyone who's been to the movies with me knows that i stay for the credits, and this is for several reasons. respect to the people who worked on the flick, to see what city they actually filmed in, and sometimes there's a little surprise at the end [this helped pacify our group at 'pirates 3']. when the camera crew credits go by, i wonder what life is like for them. who are the people who get the call, 'hi allen. we need a second a.c. for august through september; yeah, rodrigo prieto's shooting it.' or, 'hey, marty [scorsese] is crewing for his next movie; want to come and load for us?'

as far as i know, all changing tents are the same--there's no magical tent that really makes sure your film doesn't get flashed. is it their tape measures? do they lay their marks with a flair or class that i don't have? if i wound my film cores differently, would steven soderbergh hear of my work and call me some morning, demanding that i load for his next movie?

the same thing happened last year, only worse this year--spring blossomed with work, allowing me to pay off the credit card debt that had accumulated over the barren winter months, and now work has dried again. i saw a friend at a church meeting a few weeks ago and he asked me if there was anything going on. he's a great assistant, ambitious, and personable, so hearing that he was parched, too, made me feel better.

this morning i got up and kept the attitude i had last night--i would get going with my day and be productive. a bowl of malt-o-meal honeynut cheerios with a dvr-ed 'seinfeld' episode had me off to a great start. somewhere around 11 i was at 'screenit.com', reading the specific reasons that made 'saving private ryan' rated R [this included 'many people who are shot are bloody' and 'extreme disrespect/bad attitudes from the german soldiers'] when i got a phone call from an unknown number. the caller said he got my name from a couple of guys i haven't seen in a while and identified himself as a grad student from the l.a. area planning to shoot a music video and needing a 2nd a.c. he prefaced by saying that it seems everyone in utah is working right now [what the--?? who are all these working people and why haven't they called me?], but if i was available, they would like me to help out. the shoot days were this saturday, sunday, and monday, and when i told him my day rate, there was a bit of hesistation, followed with a re-affirmed tone that they could pay for my travel expenses and food and could pay me a day rate, though not what i was used to.
it didn't matter though, because i knew from the start that i wouldn't do it--with few exceptions, i don't work on sundays, and this was not making any sort of an argument to change that. and so i politely declined, citing just such reasons, feeling bad that i had asked about pay when i already knew that i wasn't going to take it. but i did give him the names of some people who may or may not be willing to work on sundays.

i set the phone back on my desk and continued to browse 'screenit' to if 'the departed' really deserved its R-rating. at least i was now not working by choice. 'yeah, i've had some work offered, but i don't work on sundays.' passing on this job certainly wasn't going to make or break me, and i had kept my integrity. i was hoping this would turn into a story i could send to the 'ensign' at some point: '...and then steven spielberg personally called me to load for his next movie, saying he'd heard how accurate my numbers are.'

i remember hearing the morning radio show host talking about all the movies being shot right now; usually when these things happen, i get a call when all the 1st string guys are unavailable. did i insult the wrong guy somewhere?

my room is still an undying mess: like the heads of the hydra, where a head must not only be severed but the neck then cauterized by fire, lest a new one grow back, the piles of stuff--my fourth grade teacher never let us use that word, declaring it to amorphous, yet that is what i have: piles of papers, clothes, books, yes, but there is more that can only be properly classified as 'stuff'--will reform and grow back stronger. the piles must be completely eradicated. a notepad lying next to a film can and a deck of trick cards will soon encompass binders, notebooks, a holey pair of jeans and a japanese flag. we went to ikea on saturday and i spent $15 on two sets of small designer swedish cardboard boxes. i think i may have found the weakness of my personal room-hydra.

i genuinely planned on carving out a severe victory in my room/quagmire today, but opted first for the shower, declining to style my hair out of anything more than moderate apathy. i like the way my hair looks and even smells when 'done', but for some reason the 70 seconds that it takes to rub tea tree pomade or hair wax through is a battle that i only win about half the time.
instead, i relaxed back in my director's chair and read the final few essays in my david sedaris book. i've blazed through all 257 pages rather quickly, leaving me excited to again attack my 'collected works of jane austen'; if i read five short chapters a day, i can have 'sense and sensibility' done in a week and a half.
as i sat reading, my japanese bracelet broke. i wasn't doing anything. my wrist was on the armrest, where it had been resting for five minutes, when a couple of the pink beads made a successful escape. not used to having things just leap from me for no given reason, i moved my hand to see, and, sure enough, the rest of the buddhist rosary beads scattered. i just sat there, not so much saddened by the loss of my favorite little token from japan as i was puzzled as to how this happened--do bracelets really 'just break'?
of course they do. mine just did.

this was my second such trinket and i knew how fragile they were. i was a bit surprised it had lasted for a full year. in japan, they're available from the moneychangers at every shrine and temple, so i picked up two, knowing that east asian religious artifacts are a little harder to come by in the states. my current debate is whether to open up the new beads or to allow a period of mourning first.

somewhere in my last batch of sedaris essays the phone rang again. there is a certain benefit of not keeping very strong social relationships with people i work with. i think it would be a sort of psychological torture to see rich's name on my phone and get excited about the prospect of an intermountain health care commercial, only to be crestfallen as he suggests we go see 'die hard 4' this weekend.
thankfully, the people i see movies with are not the same people i make movies with, and so my hopes rightfully went up as i answered brandon's call. we exchanged pleasantries and mutually admitted that there isn't much work right now [me feeling somewhat validated now], then he asked if i would tentatively be available to work as a 1st a.c. a shot-on-video, straight-to-dvd movie he'd MIGHT be shooting. i considered passing on it, as the shooting dates would mean i'd miss the midnight showing of 'harry potter 5' and also the midnight book release of 'harry potter 7'. perhaps if i hold to what i really want, an even better job will come along later this evening.
call it a lack of faith, but in the end, i decided not to risk it.

heck yes.
while it is 'singles ward 2', work with brandon is always good, feature work means three weeks of work, and being a 1st a.c. is better than being a second or a loader, and i will have an assistant. should it all go through, someone will be calling me in a few days.

it's time to get to this room mess.

who knows, maybe martin scorsese will be impressed with my focus pulls?


Em said...

Darned "who-you-know"ness.
Would accountability help? What if I insisted you post before and after pictures of your room?
I just might.
And I laugh at (with?)your pommade hesitation....if you only knew.

Leith said...

Three whole weeks of work sounds too much like commitment to me. Today is the first day of my new "unemployed status". It feels fabulous - at least until tomorrow. I know by tomorrow the panic and insanity will hit and I will run screaming through the streets looking for another job.

-->jeff * said...

leithal, give me a call when you go running and screaming. i'd like to come.

Anonymous said...

martin scorsese is on my list of people to meet.. when you get the chance to work on one of his films, send me a text! spread the joy!