(Note: I wrote this for the Medium Writer’s Contest last year, but this is where it belongs!)
You don’t know me. I’m nobody.
But I’ve shaken hands with Gwyneth Paltrow, Joe Montana and Venus Williams, met Brad Pitt, Henry Kissinger, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and all of Run DMC. I’ve been flirted with by Johnny Depp and Queen Latifah, Tony Soprano kissed my hand once, and I’ve had my fingers under the tight clothes of too many supermodels to count. I’ve been paid to watch murders being committed, battles of superheroes and ninja turtles, and people having sex — men and women, men and men, women and women, in all sorts of places and positions. I’ve walked through a herd of cows in Central Park, followed a leprechaun around Wall Street, and joined a parade carrying a naked teenaged boy through the streets of Brooklyn.
I work in the film business. I’ve been doing location sound work on movies, television shows and commercials for over 25 years, spending my days in a world of strange and unique experiences you couldn’t have anywhere else. But it’s also one where you’re not allowed to be even five minutes late and you’re told exactly how long you get to eat, but nobody has to inform you about when your day’s going to end — 15, 18, 20 hours, whatever it takes to get the scene, the shot, the proper pronunciation of the word “orangutan,” or for the French fry to arrive at the right position with a perfectly-sized and -shaped dollop of ketchup on the end. Because believe it or not, that’s show business. It’s a lifestyle that encourages promiscuity and breaks up families, fosters drug and alcohol abuse, and promotes a high incidence of unhealthy conditions from massive beer guts to knee and back injuries to colon cancer — some say caused by sitting on ballasts generating electricity for 20,000-watt lights, some say from not being allowed enough time during the day for a toilet break. Yep, it’s a business where crew people like myself live as close as anyone can to absurd heights of fame and success without actually getting any for ourselves. And I think that’s what really kills us. Most of us who work on film crews are aspiring filmmakers just waiting to get The Big Break — even though every year we spend working those hours, not writing or making anything because we’re too exhausted to do anything at the end of the day other than drink, sleep and fuck (most of the time not even that) just keeps us in oblivion.Continue reading “My Time”