Saturday, May 12, 2012

Demoted Means They Can't Fire You

They say that there are no rules in filmmaking. But there are certainly rules for filmmakers. Sometimes you can find yourself in political hot pot. And if you are a newbie, you may walk straight into the fire.

I was fortunate to land a job on a TV series, when I first started in film. I was working as a Scenic in the Paint Shop. My boss loved me. He quickly took me under his wing, and he wanted to make me his protege. I was very fortunate.

But the film industry is a volatile place. He was let go. It was a battle of wills. It was above me. He left, his wife the Paint Foreman left, the Lead Hands left. I stayed with my crew of Scenics. We were to be re-hired with the next Head Painter. It had been agreed.

The next Head came in with hiis crew. We were immediately demoted. We were either given the worst jobs or commited to Labouring. The new crew took over our sets. Our half painted brick walls, our murals, our granite, our art...

It was purely political. We still had our paychecks, but we had lost our groove.

Needless to say, at the time, I was upset by it. Later I understood it better, and understand it now as being part of what makes the industry so tough. You gotta have a thick skin. Think blubber, too. Now, as a rule, if my Head quits, or gets fired, I leave too. I'll save myself the heartache.

The powers that be had agreed for us to keep our jobs, out of kindness, duty and principle. However, it was in our best interest to leave, and find a new pasture.

It's the Wild West. Always get back on the horse, and know when to gallop away when you need to.

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