TV vs Commercials (328th new thing).

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Day Three Hundred Twenty-Eight I worked the first shoot day on my first television pilot. I had worked as a Production Assistant on many commercials in the past year, but the only TV series experience I have is my one year at Whole World Theatre when they shot for Turner South. And I guess Gem Shopping, although that is an entirely different beast. Everything else has been commercials or promos. I suppose it’s been better for me financially (since commercials typically pay better), but I also like the range of work that comes with working on different narrative formats, even if I can usually be found doing office work.

The TV pilot I worked on was like Fight Club. We do not talk about Fight Club, at least until it airs (next January). However, I can spend a little time waxing about the difference (in my opinion) in working on on a television advertisement versus a television pilot. There aren’t an extensive amount of differences, but here are the ones that stuck in my mind:

The narrative. I liked reading the script of the TV show much more than any commercial. There is more dialogue, a plot, and developing characters. In a commercial the script can be an outline of movement, a suggested line, or even just an idea. Point one, pilot.

The activity. The activity on a commercial varies based on the budget, client, etc. I’m sure the same is true of a television show. However, being a PA on a commercial shoot that is longer than a day, it usually takes me about that time to establish myself to everyone, letting them know that I am not a slacker, but a smart, funny professional. It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough to where I begin to believe it. So I think the length of filming on a TV series would win in this battle, although I have worked on a few commercials for a week or more, so it’s kind of a toss up when comparing commercial and pilot.

The pay. Commercials pay better, across the board. So they win in a daily battle.

The titles. I was bumped up to a Production Coordinator title on the TV show I worked on. It’s a step up from Production Assistant, even though I was doing similar office work, just more of it. Resume-wise, though, pretty cool.

In all actuality, there wasn’t too much of a difference between my experience working on a commercial shoot and the TV pilot. The latter had a lower budget than a typical pilot shoot, which basically meant that I was working as a coordinator for commercial PA rate. And that the crafty selections were more limited. But I liked working on the pilot, liked the longevity that it could mean. And most importantly, I liked the project and the people I was working with. Which happens often on other freelance jobs, but this one just seemed cooler.


I can do anything (222nd new thing).

December 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

On Day (or rather evening) Two Hundred Twenty-Two, I had one of those drunken revelations that I could do anything. Not like an, “I-can-do-anything-because-I-am-delusional” moment, but rather my eyes were just opened to career possibilities other than the path I was on. When you have been given enough positive reinforcement and compliments about your work that you really do believe the world is your oyster. I always enjoy reflecting on these moments in hind sight. While the possibilities of what “could be” did (and still do) exist, I was also able to realize my limitations in the present day and sort through all the crap that was partly the whiskey and mostly my need to be encouraged. I am a Pisces afterall.

There was a point in my life where I was in a bad job situation. I was working in an office doing movie PR with one other person, my boss. We didn’t think alike, and she, although very good at her job, was kind of set in her way of thought. I felt stifled, bored, unfulfilled, and was generally depressed as a result. So epiphanies such as the one that happened late on the evening of Day Two Hundred Twenty-Two are always welcome as an alternative to the former job.

So the resounding new experience that day was to realize that, should I want to, I could probably sustain myself working freelance full-time. I’m not jumping into that boat of “Where’s my next paycheck coming from?” anytime soon, but it’s nice to have those moments where you understand that you could totally support yourself working for yourself. And I still feel that way. Maybe I’m finally “growing up” in my own way.

Business Travel (221st new thing).

December 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Although most business travelers would probably disagree with me, I’ve always thought there was something a little glamorous about working out of town. It probably has roots in the fact that most of my trips in an airplane are associated with some sort of a vacation or long-term journey with pleasurable experiences attached (like studying abroad or visiting friends/family). I finally got to fully experience a little business travel myself on Day Two Hundred Twenty-One when I was put up for a few days in the Wynham Peachtree City while I worked as a Production Assistant at the nearby Raleigh Studios.

The hotel was massive, a configuration of rooms in which to sleep and those to meet. There was a pool, an exercise center, and access to the paved trails Peachtree City is known for. I didn’t really get to experience any of those though, considering I was there to work, from early in the morning to late in the evening. Besides, although the teenagers lounging by the water might disagree, I found it too chilly to take a dip in the outdoor pool nestled between the U-shaped block of suites.

I did however get a good night’s sleep in a bed (and bedroom) all to myself. I thoroughly enjoyed stretching out from one end of the full sized bed to the other, no Patrick or Murphy pushing me to my own designated area. That was glamorous enough.

Suburban Confusion (216th new thing)

December 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

On Day Two Hundred Sixteen I found myself in Peachtree City, an area forty miles south of Atlanta where golf carts rule the streets (or at least their designated paths). I was working a freelance job in nearby Senoia, GA, but the production office and hub of the shoot was located at the Wyndham in PC.

The rainy Monday had me helping out with pre-production of an upcoming TI promo for his reality TV show which I think is now on VH1. My task for the day was mainly to run around the suburban town and pick up various supplies and shopping for the shoot.

This is what I learned about traveling throughout Peachtree City.

1. In the desire to look like a pleasant city, there is an incredible absence of signage. Even with my handy iPhone GPS I had the most difficult time finding large known stores such as Best Buy or Staples, much less smaller vendors like the Apple-affiliated PeachMac store. I had to phone the location no fewer than three times before I made it to their front door. “Where are you?” the sales person asked. “Um, by a big roundabout, next to the SunTrust bank. I see a GAP and Banana Republic.” “Go through the circle with the gazebo and we’re situated on the right.” OK. I followed the instructions, but no store. Turns out her right was my left. I was quickly growing to loathe the chic outdoor malls popular in upscale areas.

2. Medians suck. There were plenty of times I passed the place I was looking for, only to be limited by entry by a landscaped road divider. I made a ton of U-turns.

3. To complete the isolated suburban dream away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, this town is located ten miles from any major highway. And if there happens to be a car accident at the precise moment you are exiting I-85 to head to your destination, you have a bit of a wait before you can pass the wreck, with no alternate route. And then ten more miles before you actually reach PC.

So overall, my day’s experience in Peachtree City was riddled with travel woes. I’m sure the area is pleasant enough on a non-drizzly day when you know your way around, but for me, it was a soggy driving mess.

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