Here be a story from a couple days ago. Too exhausted since to finish it…until now…
I’ve been getting some pleasantly surprisingly great responses to these lengthy stories as of late, so now that I’m all confident about it, this one will probably suck.
’T’was my first day as a P.A. A.K.A. Production Assistant. Keyword: Ass.
It was a volunteer “for the experience” sorta thing. I earned zero dollars. I helped others make money, all of whom were strangers I’d never met before. I did not get laid. Sooooo it wasn’t a PERFECT day. But it’s the kinda day I live for. Constant spontaneity from wake til’ pass out nearly deadlike 23 hours later.
Earlier in the week a good buddy, who’s been working as a P.A., forwarded me a request from a contact of his asking for volunteers to P.A. for free (and be a FREE-A.!!!!! huh!?!? RIGHT?!?!) for the day. I have no experience doing it so I thought FINE… yaay new experiences.
I got the call time the night before at 9 PM…: “6:30 a.m. ok?” To which I lied and responded “Sure! no prob……” Got this email right before heading to rehearsal for “The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever,” opening December something or other, that was set to last from 10:30-12:30 that night. Got out at 12:40. Did other work stuff when I got home. Roomies made wonderful food that I stole. Went to bed at 3 a.m. Woke up at 5……
P.A. location was 20 minutes away, no traffic. Had no idea what to expect in the morning so I decided to leave in plenty of time. Good thing I planned to leave in plenty of time, because I ended up leaving at the last possible minute and made it just early enough to calmly say “Totes here on time!” Been totes using totes a lot lately, if it totes bothers you… that’s totes okay with me, really.. totes really.
I always thought P.A.-ing was like.. holding a boom mic or something awful like that. Turns out it’s kinda worse. Pretty much an errand boy (or girl) for the entire production. I ran errands, both in vehicles and on foot, stood around confused about what to do a lot, judged people without them knowing, complained to myself internally about learning to say “no” to things, tried not to fart when people were around, ya know, the uszhh (short for “usual” .. uzh? usz? Youzgh?)
One of my tasks was setting up for the cast and crew lunch. I had to load up a van with as many tables and chairs as I could, drive it to the 6th floor of an empty 7-floor parking garage and set it all up. They asked if I wanted help to which I responded, “Nahh i can handle it. This way I get full artistic control.” Truth was…. a friend of mine told me long ago that when on the job, if you’re given a duty that you don’t mind doing, try and really take your time with it. So that. However, looking at this picture below, I think I did a lovely job:
The caterers soon showed up. I was called to get them situated, however they arrived in a midsized U-Haul-type truck that was kinda sorta ridiculously too tall to drive into the parking garage. I was instructed to have them load up this 12-course gourmet meal into the back of the minivan I was driving. They were not happy. They started cussing me out and promptly apologized with sexual favors. Then I woke from my daydream to see them diligently loading everything into the minivan. Most of it fit:
Then it was my job to drive this hastily packed minivan full of food for 50 people up 6 spiraling parking garage floors. I drove at about 5 mph so as not to rub more salt in the wound by spilling the soups or salsas or veggie plates or EVERYTHING. Meanwhile joking with the caterers, “So this doesn’t ALLWAYS happen?” “No…never,” they responded. “Well at the top it’ll be a lovely view.” We get to the top and I reveal the view and say “See??? Worth it right??” To which they responded with silence. Then they laughed because as far as they knew they were working for ME. You LAUGH when the boss makes a joke….. artificial, perhaps. but made me feel great about myself.
I left them to set everything up. They had a lot of work to do. I went back to base camp.
My next job was to start shuttling actors and crew up from the film location around the street to the lunch area high up on the 6th floor of the parking garage. Lunch was delayed. Then more delayed. Then ridiculously delayed, but not more ridic than what happened next… I got a call from the boss: “Sooo these people need to eat but we’re not breaking for lunch. I need you to go somewhere and find about 50 to-go boxes, take them up to the caterers and pack 50 lunches and bring them back down to the cast and crew ASAP. Here’s $140.” I think I nearly shat myself.
First things first, get the boxes. I ran across the street to a little restaurant to ask to buy some of theirs. I explained what I needed. The cashier said something in Spanish to her co-worker, gets a pen and paper and said “this is the number to call our office..” to which I responded “Thanks anyway by bye now.”
I ran to Walgreens, didn’t have em. ALMOST talked a burrito truck guy into giving me his, but they were all he had. Found em at the bargain store. Paid for them. Then got a text “Get forks too!” HAHhaaahaha… ooh man.. Hollywood RIGHT?!?!
So now the part I’m dreading, going back to the caterers, who are ALL SET UP waiting patiently for people to arrive, with the place looking immaculate, and tell them “Sooo… we gotta bring it all back down. In tiny to-go box increments…. Good view though, right?!?” Before I did this, I gave the crew one final call for confirmation that this is actually going to happen. They said “Hold on..” My heart raced. I finally got confirmation that this no longer needed to happen and I was then summoned to drive down and pick up the first load of eaters. Thank… moses… that was a good stressful 45 minutes for nothin, but at least.. umm.. actually no good came from it.
What else happened….. other stuff..
I think I really started hating the day when I realized I’d been working for them for 8.5. hours, with no official lunch or even break of any kind… for free. “Inhumane” I thought to myself. I found myself singing that “I’ve seen better days” song. At this point the whole cast and crew were eating, I looked at my fellow P.A. and said, “I’m getting food. I’m not asking permission. If they try to stop me they WILL fail.” I got out of the van, walked over… saw the 2nd A.D… and asked permission like a schmuck. He said “Of course!” I took full advantage:
After 20 minutes of indulgence I began the dessert. I feel fingertips on my back and hear “we need you” from the boss. OKAy.. let me just chug this slice of cake. The one part of the meal i was supposed to take my time to enjoy and I ate it in seconds. Might have well have just taken a fat pill. Should have thrown it away, but I deserved it…. goddamnit…
Back to work. More bullshit. Moving things around.. it wasn’t so bad. At the end of the day I thought “WELL… last time for everything.” But had I been getting paid I guess it would have been allright. But I didn’t get paid. ANYthing. I even drove my own car for one of their errands! AAAaand toward the end of the day my boss said “Hey can I get the change back from the to-go-box waste-of-time experience you had? I need the 20’s and only have 100’s! Teehehehhehehe.” I nearly shat in my hand and threw it in her general direction. After working about 10 hours for free at this point, I then handed her over a hundred dollars in cash. I just…. such a tease…
Anyway.. she owes me now so if I get an opportunity to get paid as a P.A. FINE… I’ll do it. That’ll be my 12th job occupation at this point now I think. I’m starting to feel like a member of that Jamaican family from In Living Color.. “He’s only got 9 job!..”
I was finally wrapped (Hollywood for “you can go home now thanks for working all day for free goodbye forever”) at 6:40. 12 hours and 10 minutes. And I lost money. But gained experience, met some cool people, and expanded my resume. I texted the boss (who had gone home at this point) thanks and all that fluffy bullshit. “Had a great time working for free all day! Please take advantage of me again!” .. not verbatim. THEN i remembered I’m a Jew, so I asked, “By the way, any way I can get reimbursed for my mileage?” (I drove 10.2 miles total… i have no shame). She said “Sure! You can come by my house and pick it up it you like, I live very close..” “Word?” my cool voice in my head said to me. “Word.” I said aloud in public. The night just got a little more interesting…
I went to her place. She was busy working on scheduling for the next day. (turns out she was working for free as well… showbiz huh?) And she gives me $5 for the mileage…… WOOHOOO!!!!! GOT PAID MODDAFUGGA!!! $5 for 12.167 hours of work. She also gave me a Red Stripe beer which totes made up for the rest. Aaaand she gave me a little head (referring to the beer not a sexual act). I ended up hanging at her place with her and her beautiful neighbors and this guy that brought over like three dogs. She had to hop in the shower and I just hung out with these friendly strangers and friendlier dogs with a Red Stripe in hand for the next hour. Life was good again:
Kept thinking this dog should be voiced by Joe Pesci:
She and they all had to leave so we bid our farewells. She gave me a promise of paid work in the future, so maybe it’ll all have been worth it.
I still had about 3 hours to kill (STILL ON 2 HOURS SLEEP MIND YOU) so I got my longboard out of my trunk and skated on down to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner. “Music Thai Cuisine” said the sign. Sounds annoying. Let’s do it. I walk in to some foreigners singing weird songs I couldn’t understand in a club/restaurant-type atmosphere. It was perfectly random. Ordered Pad Thai and Thai Iced Coffee and studied for rehearsal that night.
Went to rehearsal and did just fine.
Went home to send out the email-blast for my comedy show in Vallejo the following day.
Planned to write this blog from start to finish, toked a little something first, ended up talking to myself in the mirror for about an hour, wrote a few paragraphs and passed out promptly at 4:09 a.m. 2 hours sleep before a 23-hour day. And I felt great all day! Which worries me.. I’ve found that the more sleep deprived I am the more productive of a day I tend to have. Anyone else?
I slept that night for a solid 6ish hours. Got up, packed my things, went to Noah’s Bagels for a Nova Lox sandwhich on an Everything Bagel because it’s the best breakfast that exists, then drove 7 hours to the Bay. Took some alternate routes because that’s what Google told me to do. Nearly died a couple times. Traffic here and there. Trying to make it to Vallejo in time for my show at 8. I got home at 6:30. Ate a slice of pizza while talking to dad. Packed my comedy supplies, sped to Office Max, sped to the show. Got there at 7:15. Unloaded. The show was ready. About 75 beautiful people showed up. And life was good again, again:
Here’s my buddy John who did standup for the first time in 10 years and got an applause break because he’s just that good and I knew I could trust him, cool backdrop too, right???:
Today I rest. Hang with friends and fam. Try to be productive in some way. Catch up on Homeland with mumsy.
Tomorrow I drive back only to return two weeks later for another comedy show I’m producing.
I need a clone.
Gonna watch Multiplicity. It still holds up!
Michael Keaton. How does that name still have so much gusto?
They say you are what you eat …. i wanna eat Michael Keaton….