Jobs and opportunities in LA are fleeting. Here one minute, gone the next. Sometimes they move on without you, sometimes they simply cease to exist. It's a lesson you (meaning me) can learn over and over, as much as you want.
So when I tell my dad about a project, it means one of three things:
- I've been working there for two days.
- I'm trying sound less like a failure.
- I have gone and made a classic error of optimism.
You work on a pilot that gets picked up, and the series doesn't hire any of the staff from the pilot? So it goes.
Offered a cool job on a studio movie, and it actually goes to the star's nephew, who has no experience in your job? That's just the nature of the business, it seems. Or the town. It's okay. In some ways, it's better, because at least you didn't lose on merit.
The contract for $20,000 worth of work dries up after $200? That sucks, but it'd be worse if you told everyone you had a big windfall coming your way.
I get repeat business from some producers, which is terrific. But when they haven't got anything for me, it's time to go out and sell. A day like today, I've emailed 3 feature films that are looking for an editor. On many of them I'll never hear anything at all, but in a given week I'll probably talk over between 1 and 5 possible new gigs with possible new clients or collaborators.
I'm not going to tell my dad about most of them. It's like sending out 'Save The Date' cards featuring a woman you saw, but didn't actually meet, on the bus. It's going to raise a lot of uncomfortable questions about her health and whereabouts.
I'm not sure that any project that has put me 'on hold' has ever come through. I don't think it's because I told my dad about them. NDAs were not involved. But when I call him up and tell him about an upcoming movie that says I've got the job and I'll be staying in a hotel in another state for two months, and then later it turns out the company that was going to pay for all that went bankrupt and didn't make any movies at all, well, those are the more memorable examples.
Put another way, I have no objection to trying and failing, but usually, I prefer to do so in private. I tried an experiment sometime last year where I applied for every job on every want-ad type site that I could possibly do (related to media production, that is), regardless of budget. By the end of the week I had met in person with producers and agreed to edit a complete feature film for free, color correct an 8 episode web series, also for free, and co-host a daily podcast about video games from an office in Santa Monica, whilst living in Burbank. Hands were shook, tentative dates were booked, and nothing was produced. And nobody had to hear anything about it.
It happens all the time. Like actors auditioning or surgeons blending horses and monkeys. It just got me again. A decisive factor in moving to my current apartment was convenience and proximity to a job that probably doesn't exist. But, y'know, I'm an optimist. Sure, the rent on such a place would be a lot more affordable with the job than without, but that's just motivation to keep looking for new gigs.
This isn't a "woe is me" kind of story. I mean, I manage to keep kinda busy. Some weeks, I'm so busy I only spend a couple of days thinking about which of a thousand tiny mistakes spelled my doom as the potential second full-time employee at Sandwich Video. Not this week, of course, but sometimes.