Oct 20, 2012
There's No Place Like Home
I am terribly sorry I have been away from the blogosphere for such a long time. It's really because I had run out of gas...energy...enthusiasm...passion for script supervising. I had gotten so beaten up over the past few years working on projects that all claimed would go somewhere and all landed flat on their ass. I found myself continually working on lower and lower grade projects and with each one feeling more defeated. I could see my career in a downward spiral, I was no longer rising up and playing in the sandbox I had once grown custom to but rather, swirling into a cesspool of work that was in no way professionally satisfying.
So, I left. Walked away. Placed my stopwatch on the counter to collect dust.
The last job I did prior to my departure was an infomercial. Which is cosmically funny because the first job I lied to get on as a scripty was also an infomercial (yes universe, you have a demented sense of humor). We started the project with the obligatory script reading and watched as the no name infomercial "star" began to go all Christian Bale and completely changed the script, throwing production into chaos, making the writer change everything while the AD and I sat and ate chocolate. We had been in this situation before, lived through these tantrums, nothing new. We knew taking notes was futile as this clown would change it again overnight anyway. So, we just sat, grinned at each other and compared notes on the quality of the chocolate crafty had brought in. He thought it had a heady bouquet with a hint of cinnamon, but with a little too much bitterness. I agreed it was a bit sharp, but the texture was velvety and finished well. It would have paired nicely with a glass of port or maybe a bottle of Pinot Noir. Mmmm...Pinot Noir...
Oh! Right, the shoot...
Shoot day: I'm ensconced in my all too familiar spot next to the teleprompter operator, and the "star" begins the day by flipping out at the teleprompter operator. Again nothing new. It's always the crappy actors that seem to yell at the prompter operators. Our operator made a feeble and failed attempt to bark back but the director cut him short. "Don't you dare yell at the talent!" the director screamed. I nodded to myself; yup, another quality production experience is under way.
As we began to shoot, the "star" freaked out over the sound person, the prompter, the live audience, and anyone else unlucky enough to fall into her cross-hairs. Meanwhile our director kept continually yelling at the camera operators terms that were more live stage than film terms so there was a serious break in communication. As this went on and the director revealed his ignorance, I could tell the camera ops were just phoning it in. As was I. What hand was the "star" holding the product in? At what point was the product picked up? I found I no longer cared. Did it really matter? It's an INFOMERCIAL people! Anyone watching is either senile, high, or an insomniac. I sat in that uncomfortable chair for 12 long hours. Taking notes, acting like I cared, and inside my heart ached.
My first love. I remembered those old film days on the big features. Proudly walking on set, feeling the link of Polaroids bouncing against my hip as I passed by the catering truck. I remember the amazing feeling of working a long overnight and how the first glimpses of purple on the horizon meant only 15 minutes more until daylight and wrap. I remember the sweet moments shared between myself and a fellow camera operator as we worked long hours together and bonded over red Twizzlers. I remember being in locations that were far to beautiful to believe and hanging out with actors, some famous, some not, that are but a distant memory now. But most of all the moments I treasured above all else was when I walked up to the monitor, took my place beside the director opened my book and I felt my heart say "home".
I longed for that. That feeling of being at home. The knowledge I am succeeding and not failing. The feeling of peace. People spend their entire lives looking for that thing, that profession, that activity you know you were born to do, and I had found it. I was the luckiest person on earth. Was.
And as I stared at the crazy infomercial "Star" and listened to the idiot director I realized I had come full circle. Here I was so many years later in the same exact spot where I started with no chance of a second lap around the track. It was a crushing blow. No feeling of "home", no inner peace, just frustration and immense sadness.
When I read Blood Sweat and Tedium's posts they are often so sad and thoughtful, and I believe he got to this point sooner than I. We all know those magical moments that only a film set can produce. They are fleeting, amazing, sadly temporary and I long for them every day.
So, when the infomercial wrapped. I did not pause to say goodbye and thanks to the producer, director and crew as I usually did. I just turned in my notes to production, gave a half-hearted smile and walked out the door not looking back. Done. Finished. Over.
Maybe I had a mid-life crisis? Maybe I just needed a break from the insanity, who knows? So, for those still scripting hang on tight...never let go..and for those just starting out I wish for you the best. And as for me and the blog? Not sure....