I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Monday, November 2, 2009


I think I have said it before but it bares repeating: I have a love-hate relationship with film work.

Back in the spring a script supervisor friend on the island recommended me for a shoot. An eight day production that was to shoot all nights inside a diner that, because it would be open for business during the day, wouldn't go for more than ten hours. The production manager subsequently contacted me, it was her first production, and said she would love to have me on board and that she would let me know when the date was set. I didn't hear anything for a while and then she wrote to say that, due to lack of funding, the production would be pushed to August.

You know what went on with me between spring and August if you've read this blog from the beginning. August I received another email from her asking if I was still available. I was in Kelowna but needing work and so told her I was. 'Great!' she said and told me she would get back to me as to a date. Again, due to some issue or other, she wrote to inform me that it was pushed to October. I pretty much wrote it off at that point.

Mid October my friend on the island wrote to ask if I was still available to do it, and that it looked like they were finally going ahead on November 2. I was just finishing up Sins of the Mother and so wrote back and said that I was indeed available. The PM wrote me and told me that they were finally ready to go ahead and had a set date for November 2nd. I said I would be happy to do it. She sent me the script again, as I had deleted it back in August, and I began to prepare my breakdown. I also asked her about accommodations as I need my own room and often they want you to share. She writes to assure me that she will be booking me my own room in the Marriott in downtown Victoria.

I am done my first reading and am about to start my timing when a thought occurs to me... I never made sure she was paying me for two breakdown days. It is assumed when you are working with seasoned PM's but she is brand new at this so I need to make sure, so I send off an email asking about that and also for the 1st Assistant Directors paperwork as it helps me with my breakdown. I get an email back from her and she doesn't say anything about breakdown days but she does say that the 1st AD just left to do another show and that they are looking for a replacement and should have one soon. A small red flag waves in my brain, but this is just an eight day gig and so it's conceivable that he or she would leave if a longer and better paying job was offered, so I ignore it.

A couple of days later I send off an email and let her know that I will be arriving on November 1st, and to please have my room at the Marriott booked for Sunday night and ask them if it can be on a higher floor at the end of the hall. As I will be sleeping during the day, this should be the quietest option. Two days go by and I don't receive a reply. My instinct instantly tells me this is not a good sign. We are just over two weeks away from me heading over there. I send her another email saying that I have sent her a couple of emails and haven't received a reply so can she send me her phone number and I will give her a call. I don't hear anything back.

I am out for lunch with a friend from the business when I get a call from a production company that is looking for a script supervisor. They ask me if I am available and I hesitate and then say, "Yes, I am." He tells me that they are shooting in Squamish starting November 2nd and that they aren't putting any of the crew up so I would have to commute. It's a two hour drive from Langley, three with rush hour traffic. I tell him I live in Langley and he says it doesn't matter. I either commute or pay for my own hotel. I ask if it is mostly outdoor shooting and he says it is. This is not a show I want to do. November, in Squamish, all outdoors. It will be freezing. Also it's called 'Behemoth' so there will be lots of special effects shots and probably green screen. Not my favourite stuff to shoot. And paying for my own hotel will cost a weeks wages. I tell him that I have another show that has asked me and it's the same start date so I will have to check with them first to make sure they are going ahead and I will get back to him.

When I get home I look up the island PM on the internet and find a phone number for her business. I call and am put through to voice mail. I leave a message and ask for her to call me. A day goes by and I hear nothing so I write to her again. Nothing. After a couple of days I phone and leave another message. Now I am almost sure this is not going to turn out well. That evening I see an email from her and open it up, hoping for good news but expecting bad. She tells me that they might push the production two days to allow for some rehearsals so not to come over on Sunday until I hear from her, but that the show is definitely going ahead. She writes that she will know for sure by Sunday - one week before I am to leave and asks for my phone number and she will call me on Sunday with definite dates. I call the other show and tell them 'thanks but I am doing another show'.

Sunday comes and goes, no phone call. Monday morning same thing. I write to her on Monday afternoon and tell her that I have turned another show down because I committed to November 2nd for her so if we are pushing more than two days I need to know. I get an email back from her telling me that she will 'know shortly'. I wait a day and when I get no reply I write again and ask what is going on. She replies that they are having problems with 'immigration' and that they don't know when it will be ironed out so she is 'cutting me loose' to look for another show.

I have been dangled on this string for almost three weeks. It's inconsiderate and has cost me another show that, granted was less than ideal and I really wouldn't enjoy doing but, was three weeks of work instead of eight days and I need the money to carry me through the dry days of December to March. Also, I am now thinking her cutting me loose means that, should she go ahead with this anytime soon, she will look for someone else and that would not be cool at all. So I write to her and tell her that when she has a locked in date, to give me a call and if I am not on another show I will still do it. She writes back and says she will call me. I am not holding my breath.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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