A Bitter Taste

Fuck It

When I started working in this industry I noticed something. Everyone seemed like they hated their lives. I would run around as a PA, so eager to serve, and notice that all the grips, teamsters, and props guys were all really angry people. Everyone pretty much seemed like they would rather take a hammer to the eye than work another day. Don’t get me wrong, I became friends with a lot of them, but I noticed how bitter everyone was. As if their job was the worst thing on the planet. I didn’t get it. Why were they working in the industry if they hated it so much? I was overjoyed to be working on set. Watching how everything came together. Meeting a ton of new people. Making connections. Working on TV shows and movies! Living the dream and starting a life. A new adventure every day.

About 5 minutes ago I realized I have turned into that bitter, angry, below-the-line ball of stress and nerves. I have become what I didn’t understand, and it only took 2 years.

So let me educate those who were once like me, eager and free. It comes from getting paid way below what you think you should be getting paid. From working 14 hour days making minimum wage — where overtime isn’t worth your time. From figuring out that working your ass off and hardly working yields almost the same result in pay, respect, and recognition. The eternal lingering sense that you’re not doing what you really should be doing to get where you want to go. It’s a real kick in the balls of motivation. But you need to continue. You need to work harder, and stronger, and faster. You need to show everyone how much they depend on you. But the harder you work, the worse it feels when you don’t receive the recognition you deserve. Which makes you angry. It makes you bitter. It makes you hate everyone around you. But you stay.

Why do you stay? Because deep down you wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. This is exactly what you want to be doing, you just want to excel at it. Make more money at it. Be better at it. Gain the appreciation and affirmation of your peers. So you stay. And you hate. And the more you try to change the world around you, the more it shits all over you. And when you clean up all the shit and become a reinforced blank canvass ready to take on the world, you get shit on again. And this happens forever and ever until your that 50 year old prop master with a permanent scowl. Ready to snap at any moment. But you still stay, because something about your job makes you happy, and keeps you going, and you’re not exactly sure what it is. But it’s there, rooted deep in some unyielding part of your being, telling you that you can make it. That you will be happy some day.

I now understand.

3 Replies to “A Bitter Taste”

  1. Welcome to the palace of wisdom, grasshopper — you now understand what it takes some people twenty years in this business to grasp. Still, there are many layers and levels of industry-generated bitterness, and not all are the same. Some is just the hardened protective shell that comes from the ceaseless beating we all take on set — and if you take a few minutes to talk to that seemingly bitter 50 year old prop man — really talk to him — you might find a friendly, interesting person behind that defensive scowl, someone with a lot of great stories to tell.

    Glad to see your back from the dead and posting again.

  2. Love it.

    Not the bitterness, but the perspective. Keep on blogging, I’ve only just stumbled across you. 🙂

  3. Oh…So, that’s the term for the hardening of the heart of the once jovial, optimistic and enthusiastic young lady that desired and yearned to help manifest an idea that was once a cold and lifeless thought on paper into a living and breathing product to broadcast to the whole world; Yet, all that was returned was a pat on the back while you dang near slaved hours on end to make it a reality. Thank you for helping me pinpoint that callously disease and I will try my darnest to fight it back because I’ve come to recognize that its weeds-like manner sometimes
    literally suffocates the ability to see the beauty and treasure in investing away all those hard-earned time into your overall, ultimate dreams, come hell and high waters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.