Head Above Water

Well it has been a long, crazy several days for me culminating in a 26-hour marathon day in the office. But now it is done. The movie has been screened for the studio. Every one is happy. And I was finally able to get some sleep.

Little did I know when I walked into my building at 7am on Wednesday, that I would not be leaving it until 9:30am the next day. Thankfully those kind of days tend to be few and far between, but they do occasionally happen. In fact somewhere around 2am when the picture assistant showed up with a big bag of chili cheeseburgers and fries for the six of us who were trying to get the mix done, someone (I don’t remember who) said, “Ah! The glamour of Hollywood!” And it’s so true. If you watch E! you see the beautiful stars attending their hip parties, but in reality a lot of the work that it takes to get their faces on the screen is not pretty. It’s the kind of work that knocks on your door at midnight with new videotapes, a stack of change notes, and coffee and Pop-Tarts from the local 7-Eleven.

I don’t get invited to parties to rub elbows with Jim Carrey, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts and Naomi Watts. If I’m lucky, the studio will buy me a pizza when they tell me I need to work until the wee hours of the morning to get things done. Now, I’m not saying that I hate my job. The overtime when you put in those kind of hours is certainly nice. I just want everyone to realize that in some ways my job is not all the different from yours. And in many ways it’s probably a lot more frustrating. And when I’m driving home after a 26-hour day, I definitely don’t like the heart-wrenching surprise when I realize that I fell asleep for a split-second while stopped at the traffic light.

The positive side to an experience like that comes when you get that phone call from the post-production supervisor saying that the studio loved the film, that people were really impressed with the sound and felt that it helped reinforce the temporary visual effects shots, that everyone is happy and that you did a great job. That’s what makes it worth it. That’s what brings the smile to my face. That’s when I say to myself, “I am good at what I do. I would like to see someone else accomplish what we did under the same conditions. Yay, me!” And then I pat myself on the back. Ok, maybe not. But you get the idea. The difficult task that is completed successfully is more rewarding than the easy one. Hopefully though it’s not all difficult tasks.

One of my favorite quotes from that day:

Oh good! Coffee! I haven’t been jacked up on caffeine in a couple hours.

After sleeping through the majority of Thursday, I got up refreshed and went back to the crew I was working with a few weeks ago. I still felt a little detached from the world that day, almost as if there was a piece of gause separating my brain from the rest of my body and another one keeping me just out of reach of reality. But that feeling soon passed and things are pretty much back to normal. Cross your fingers for me, this next show should keep me on a regular 9 to 7 up until Christmas.