Friday, December 30, 2016
My parents were watching the local news when they featured a guy and his very ambitious Christmas light display. After hearing the house was just an eight minute drive away, they planned to take me when I did my annual holiday visit.
After spending a half hour in front of a stranger's yard with about thirty other strangers watching a plethora of Christmas lights rather impressively synced to music, we finally decided to head home so we can warm up and feel our toes again.
My Dad was still marvelling about the display long after we got home.
"You know, the news said it took him about four months to put that all together."
I, being the trouble maker of the family, of course, decided to play devil's advocate.
"Um, I'm pretty sure he didn't really spend that long on it. He may have started four months ago, but I heard he has a job at some tech company so really, he probably only worked on it maybe a couple hours a day or something like that when he got home from work. Or just on the weekends when he had time. That definitely didn't take a full four months."
"Really? How would you know how long something like that takes?"
"I... do this stuff for a living?"
"You can make lights move and flash like that?"
"But you can't program them to a piece of music like that."
"Uh... Yeah, I can."
At this point, I am more aware than ever that my father not only has no idea what I do for a living, but he also doesn't have faith that I'm very good at it.
"No. You can't. You're making that up."
"How do you think we control lights at work?"
"Okay then. Prove it. Next year, make my house like his and program lights to music."
"Okay. The going Union rate for a lighting programmer is $42 an hour. It'll take one person about three days, or twenty four working hours, to make a similar set up to what you saw. You pay me my rate and you have a deal. Oh, and that price is just for labor. Lights and equipment not included."
"Really? You'd charge your own father that?"
"Really? My own father wants me to work during my one solid break from work a year? ...And for free?"
He stays silent for a second so I continue.
"You want skilled labor? You'll have to pay for it."
"You can really make lights flash like that?"
He still seems skeptical but doesn't want to pony up the money to call my "bluff", so he lets the matter drop.
By the way, in highschool, my first job was running (and programming) the lighting console for a local theatre company. So not only does my Dad have no clue what we do at work, he apparently has no idea that I could've been programming his Christmas lights since I was sixteen and my going rate was minimum wage.
Hope your holidays have been more enjoyable than mine! Have a happy New Year's and I'll see you all in 2017!!!!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
"Can you believe the hair and make up people on this show?" my day-playing colleague vents to me at wrap. "They've been getting on my nerves all day."
I spent the better part of the last twelve hours rigging another set and therefore had no idea what he was talking about.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, they've been in the way all day. They set up their chairs right by our staging and every time we had to bring in a light, we had to maneuver around them. So I started making exasperated noises and sighing heavily every time they were in my way. I also started giving them dirty looks, and then they had the nerve to look at me like I'm the asshole when they're the ones in the way! Can you believe that??"
I let a good second pass before I asked my colleague, "Did you... ask them to move?"
Another long second passed as he looked at me dumbfounded.
"No. I did not ask them to move."
"I was making enough exaggerated noises and giving them enough dirty looks that they should've known to move!"
Now it was my turn to sigh and give him a look. I mean, really??
You don't have to be in this industry for more than a day to realize that some people are just oblivious to their surroundings. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't need to be calling out "points" and lift gate warnings all damn day. Nor would producers congregate in front of the coffee maker at crafty when everyone else is trying to get a cup of joe, and the DGA wouldn't be fondly known as the Door Guardians of America.
Granted, I've had worked with various wonderful people who knew exactly when they were in the way, but I've worked with even more who had no clue that their chair in the middle of a doorway was creating an obstacle for the rest of the crew. However, as oblivious as people may be, I've worked with exactly none who'd refuse to move when asked. In fact, not only do they usually immediately move when asked, but they do it apologetically and they'll even ask if their new location works for all involved.
I tried to explain this newfangled concept of asking people for what you want to my colleague, but he just kept saying how he was rolling his eyes enough that they should have taken the hint and figured it out.
I can't help but think of how ironic it'd be if he went home and his wife was pissed at him, but won't tell him why because "he should know." Maybe then he'd realize how ridiculous he was being.