Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Indie blues

So a couple days ago I applied to be a PA for a indie feature on Craigslist. The film was low budget, and the position was unpaid, but I didn't see anything else on the horizon, so I figured, what the hell. Got a call the next day from a very chipper production manager lady who rattled off a laundry list of Big Names that were involved in the project. Apparently, Hollywood professionals sometimes like to get together and make little side films on their own, paying for the expenses out of pocket, and this was one such film. So while it was low budget and unpaid, it sounded like a great networking opportunity. I told her I could make all but 2 of the days. I pointed out I didn't have a car, but I had mastered the art of Taking The Bus To Where I Need To Go, and they shouldn't fret about my ability to make it to any of the shoots (I once left for a shoot on a 4AM bus, got 5 miles from the shoot location, and walked the rest of the way…and still arrived early. I will move heaven and earth to get to a shoot on time - by which I mean, early - to make up for my lack of a vehicle). I expressed my relief that this wasn't some rubber-mask horror film done by amateurs (as one often finds on Craigslist), and we hit it off and she put a star next to my name.

Flashforward another day and the Key PA emails me about my availability schedule. I basically typed what I had told the production manager lady - I was available all but 2 days… no, I don't have a car… don't worry, buses and subways haven't failed me yet…

He emails back… having booked me for only 4 days. Out of a 3 week shoot. When I said I was good for all but 2 days. I'm kind of insulted here. I get that there are days where they don't need a ton of extra crew members. But I can't help but think this has something to do with my transportation situation. Like they don't trust me to be there on time. In fact, those 4 days they did book me for are all late morning start times. Like they're babysitting me. Awww the poor, little, incapable PA can't get to set early, so we'll schedule him for the late morning shoots, to give him extra tiiime. I feel like I'm an AP student that's been stuck in a special ed class while the rest of the school laughs at me.

Again - if I say I'll be there - I'll fucking be there. I'll jump through hoops. I'll arrive the night before and sleep in an alleyway if it means being there on time the next morning. When I say I can do x amount of days I AM COMMITTED. I WILL BE THERE. ON TIME. FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. It felt…amateur of them. This is supposed to be a professional production, and it's already shaping up to be like one of those backyard slasher films I worked on in college. The one where they just up and decided I was no longer a necessary member of the crew and instead of telling it to my face, they just shunned me and gave me insultingly pointless tasks to occupy me. It's like when a rumor spreads in high school and all of a sudden your "friends" at the "cool kids table" ignore you instead of just speaking up. It's amateur. I haven't got time for this bullshit. If this film doesn't need me to work most of the days, they should just tell me that. "Hey, it's a small intimate scene, we don't need a dozen crew guys for it." Cool. Thanks. Seeya later. Again, I get it: there are many instances where you don't need all the crew people. And if not having a car is a deal breaker they should just be sincere and tell me that.

That professional reality show PA gig I did didn't jerk me around like this. I said, hey I don't have a car, will that be a problem? Not as long as I'm there at 5:30 AM on the dot? Okay. I'll be there. And I was. And it was great. So my faith in the level of professionalism in this project is going downhill fast. I mean, they wouldn't even give me the shoot days in Oakland. Oakland, a big city with plenty of public transit running all hours of the day. Oakland, which I told them I was only a stone's throw from. I'd have no problem getting to set. Again: Insulting.

Fuck me. I need a car.

Update 2/20: ...and guess what? They never got back to me regarding even the 4 days they said they locked me in for. They blew me off. Unprofessional fuckers.