Archive for September, 2009
These are my questions:
1. Will I ever get back the nearly two hours I wasted watching this dreck?
2. Will I ever get back the $8.50 I spent to see this?
Sadly, at this time it seems the answers to 1 + 2 above seem to be No, and No.
Perhaps I can find something positive in my mistake if I prevent others from making that same mistake.
Like I’m trying to do here (hint, hint).
What will it take to get the people of the U.S.A. a single payer medical insurance plan that covers everyone for every medical situation, pre-existing or not?
It’s a very simple solution composed of a few very simple answers, yet one that will take some major work.
1. Put an immediate end to the lobbyist system. No more campaign donations*, trips, vacation homes, meals, drinks, limo rides, or what all of what we’ve seen going on in the national and local news. This also means no private visits to an elected officials homes, offices, hotel rooms, or anyone getting anything for seeing our decision makers that isn’t open and transparent.
2. The creation of a government run by people that were actually elected by people, not corporations or vested interests. No more campaign donations over $100.00 will be allowed*, from an individual or from a company. You run for an office, the government pays for your normal election expenses, if you win you’re in office.
3. Term limits. The president, 6 years and then you’re out and back to making a living somewhere else with no return to a public office* or influence peddling (see #1 above) permitted. Similar limits to be defined later to Senators, Congress People, Governors, state and local officials as well.
4. Ethics. If you’re in violation (ex: Google Gale Norton and Shell Oil) of the trust of the American people*, those who put you in office, you’re banned from holding any public office again or aiding or abetting anyone who does. And jail time is not off the table for you or your co-conspirators.
When the above are in place, and politicians actually serve the people and aren’t occupied* with getting elected, we will have a fully insured population as most of the non-third world countries on the planet do.
* The present system is full of people who placed getting elected as their first priority, getting re-elected as their second priority, and then in their spare time saw to the needs of the country.
And a note to those who choose to listen to the Wicked Bitch Witch of the North, Death Panels already exist, and every day make decisions on who will live and die, they’re usually called the insurance industry.
A few days ago I sold something on eBay that went for about $125.00. And after paying about $4.50 to post the auction and then paying a few more dollars as a percentage of the final sales price, eBay’s wholly owned subsidiary known as “Paypal” (which eBay coerces you to use) took out yet another bite for a few dollars / percentage points out of the amount that was to be paid to me by the auction’s winner.
Are you with me so far?
Here’s where the “add insult to injury” part starts:
“Your Request is Being Processed”
“Your request to withdraw funds to your bank account by electronic funds transfer has been received and is in process.”
“It usually takes 3-4 business days to transfer funds from your PayPal account to your bank account, depending on your bank’s policies.”
Perhaps someone, somewhere could explain to me exactly what a computer’s “business days” are composed of.
I always have felt that since computers don’t get overtime or days off (or health insurance either), and since they are at work 24 / 7 grinding out the electrons, then on which planet is it that a wire transfer of funds take at least 4 days? And trust me that when they say “usually takes 3-4 business days” it’s never going to be 3 days or less, the “usually” part is just there for laughs.
I selected to have the money transferred to my account on September 15th, and a few seconds later I received an email confirming the transfer with these words:
“We estimate that these funds will be deposited in your bank account by Sep. 19, 2009.”
Out of which ass did they pull that “estimate”?
The obvious answer is that they rake in some serious big money in interest from their bank on the float of those funds, which is to say that every day my money is in their account and combined with the millions that they make each day on all of these transactions, it’s in their (sorry) interest to stall the process and keep that money in play.
And now we see that the woman shown below….…..the one that ran eBay, a one time great place to do things, directly into the ground, now wants to prove that she is perfect for the roll of being the final Terminator, i.e., being the governor of California.
I can hardly wait, but I think I’ll be watching from Nevada…
So, in closing I recommend a visit to:
Understand that by “Image Conscious”, I meant that this blog today is dedicated to those who love the idea of the visual “image”, be it on video or film, to the extent that their lives are now focused on working behind or in front of the lens in one way or another on movies, films, videos, cartoons, cgi crap, anime, whatever.
Anyway, here are some guidelines, warnings, and other maybe relevant things as well.
1. Understand that deferred pay means you’ll actually never see a penny of payment for your time spent or (if you provided it) equipment you’ve brought to the set. In over 25 years of working on films, videos, t.v. shows I’ve never met anyone that ever actually got paid a deferment, which doesn’t mean that it’s never happened, it’s just never happened with anyone I’ve worked with.
2. Understand that a payment in the form of “copy, credit, and meals” is most likely illegal, as it almost always violates minimum wage laws, as well as promising things that may or may not ever get delivered. i.e.
a. Credits on IMDB, which are never really guaranteed, and could even be deleted after the fact.
b. Domino’s pizza or MickieD’s crap are not really meals.
c. The chances of you getting a copy of the floater project closely approaches “never going to happen”.
3. Understand well the “carrot and stick” concept as it often shows up, i.e. “work with me on this one, I’ve got a big show coming up in the near future and I will make up for your dedication to us”. Well, be assured that if that producer / company somehow does ever make a big project with a real budget at some later date, they will then hire big people and pay them really big salaries. Adding insult to injury, if it’s a really, really much bigger budget project, you will never even be allowed to get close to their set, because you knew them when they were mere piss-ant weasels.
3a. Understand also that the very mention of there being important contacts (who they never actually name so you can vet them) for your future if you’ll work free/cheap is bullshit in its purest form, since the chance that any important person would be involved in such a turd is about the same as Sarah Palin speaking in complete sentences. Yes, it could happen, but I suggest you find a comfortable place to sit as it may be a while.
4. Understand that “An Intern Position” legally means a specific legally defined agreement between an employer and your school, wherein you will receive credit. Be aware that the term “intern” is thrown around a lot by people that see it as a chance to get people to do work and then not have to pay them.
a. You may receive that school credit, but you will never get to work with this company again (see “3″ above).
5. Understand that “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow” always will take precedence over a film school diploma or the recommendation of your friends or family when it comes to a production position being filled.
6. Understand that no matter how rosy a picture the producer has described the upcoming project to be, you’re actually not curing cancer or solving world hunger, and you’re mostly likely just making a piece of crap that no one outside the director’s immediate family or other investors will ever see.
7. Understand that the term “Producer” is meaningless, as it’s very often given to people that couldn’t produce a shadow on a sunny day if their lives depended on it. When these producers say that there’s no money in the budget, ask them what kind of moron could have made up and approved a budget like this and then given a green light to this floater. If you’ll ask them why they couldn’t produce the money to do their show correctly, the chance to see the look on their faces is priceless.
8. Understand that when you feel like you’re getting screwed (see “5″ above), you’re probably correct. If you want to go ahead and do the project anyway, you could ask them to at least kiss you first, or buy you flowers when it’s done.
9. Understand that any project touted as having an “award winning”, “very well connected”, or ”up and coming ********” (writer, director, producer, star, craft service person, key grip…. whatever) really means they have on their staff “a semi-nobody” who perhaps used #5 above, or is at best a burnout from some local tv show.
10. Understand that when a producer says they want someone “bright, hard working, creative, blah blah blah, and who owns their own equipment”, everything that preceded “who owns…..” is meaningless. They only want someone with their own equipment so they don’t have to pay the rental, delivery charges, or insurance for it.
11. Understand that, especially when it’s a posting looking for a sound mixer, their request to “see” a demo reel is a demonstration that the asker has no idea what they’re doing. There’s no way they could know who did the work they’re listening to, much less which show it’s from, if it was true location sound, or it’s the product of massive post production ADR or sweetening.
12. Note their grammar! A posting that’s (other than a typo or two) full of errors in spelling, punctuation, context, etc… should be a warning that you’re going to be dealing with people that don’t know about due diligence in preparation. For a laugh, ask them what their original language was and compliment them on their progress in learning english.
13. Also note that any mention that their project will be submitted to film festivals is not really a bragging point, as tons of them do this each week and seldom receive more than a nice note thanking them for their submission, but no thanks. And those that do get admitted to the “Greater Ypsilanti Film Festival” will find that they are in the running against works of art such as “Elevator Girls In Bondage” or “Is It My Breath?”, and will usually end up losing to one of those two.
They exist! Relating to Items 2, 3, 3a, 9, 10, and 11 above, here are several actual quotes related to the above from postings on craigslist, mandy and others. All of the statements below were found with less than a 3 minute search, and all of them help to demonstrate the principles of those warning signs mentioned above. See if you can name the warning……..
“Join our fun and enjoyable crew while we shoot a 6 minute scene in one location.”
“No experience necessary, but desired.”
“Feature shot on Red needs to hire an editor on a deffered payment basis.”
“Editor will recieve compensation when film recieves compensation.” (Hint: i before e, and we’re never going to pay u)
“We recently completed another short film that is being submitted to festivals, we plan to do the same with this one.”
“We are trying to build a strong and reliable crew to work with us on future projects.”
“No pay, meals and copy of series provided.” (Hint #12 might help in trying to parse that self canceling sentence)
“Learn techniques and gain knowledge from our long working Director of Photographer with industry credits.” (By “long working”, are you talking about the jerk taking endless hours to light a set?)
“Meet and network with industry professionals and TV writers, ALL while helping us making this script come alive.”
“The rate is low, only $100 per day as most of our budget is going to film, processing and telecine.” (N.B. #7)
Little experience or a strong passion to learn would be great!
Students welcome!! Working with highly experienced DP and Production team.
“I am very confident with my script but I need a strong, ambitious, hard working, awesome team of aspiring professional filmmakers with positive attitudes to help me bring the script to life” (Hmmm, I guess CPR is off the table?)
“…… but this has huge potential to turn much more work down the road.”
“The film is being shot on the RED one in LA over 6 days, all crew positions are unpaid, however agreed expenses will be covered, you will be fed properly and part of an extremely experienced team with extensive international work and track records, the film is also notably being supported by Mainframe (VFX) in the UK and Echolab (sound Design) in Ireland.” (Wow! They’re shooting on the RED? Well, BFD!)
“No pay but can put project on CV and possible pay for next project once this is completed.”
“Despite the low budget, applicants must have a minimum of 5 years experience and 20 features under their belts”. (and applicants should have their names imprinted on the back of their belts so we’ll know who we have bent over a barrel).
Saving the best, which hits almost every note, for last (10-5-09):
“We have a very limited budget for this video so we’re looking for a small, intimate crew, that are young, enthusiastic and don’t mind working long hours for two days for limited pay! It will be a great shoot, a lot of fun with hugely creative people and a good way to continue making contacts.”
O.K., all of the above are actual quotes, and there’s really a lot more where these ones came from. Feel free to send in a comment and mention your own, and I’ll add them during the next few weeks, with or without giving you credits, copies, or a meal.
After all of these years of living in Southern California and dealing with the fires that are sweeping our area, it comes to mind that as residents of this land of milk and honeys (not to be confused with milk and honey), we’ve become numb to all of the plagues that over the years we have had to abide with, i.e.: fires, floods, career ending strikes, earthquakes, poverty, riots, foreclosures, you name it. Even our asshole governor, elected because he’s a “name”.
Somehow, this one missed California
Yet, every day we can easily see that the results of the “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” advertising campaign means that California continues to draw them in, those who keep looking for the streets they heard were paved with gold and jobs that will get them that home in Beverly Hills with an ocean view.
Meanwhile, back here on earth, we await the soon to arrive torrential rains of winter, which will bring on the mud slides of the recently burned out mountains, resulting in flooding of the flatlands, which will drive even more people out of their homes and into sleeping in their cars or under freeway bridges.
I’d like to go further with this, but there are issues of greater import, like was Bill O’reilly d’Fox o’really born in Ireland? Can he prove it?
Is Bill O’really in possession of his own birth certificate? If so, why hasn’t he shown it yet? Why does Billy hate America?
You’ve got questions, I’ve got lots of time…….