Archive for January, 2011

No More Russian Winters!

I’ve decided that I’m going to start publishing some of my favorite jokes on this site from time to time, and this first one is courtesy of my maternal grandmother.

I have a family that is full of funny people, some of whom are intentionally funny, some not so much. To the best of my moth-hole filled memory, in as much of her life as I knew of, my grandmother only told one joke, here it is.

She lived about half way between Warsaw and Kiev (a.k.a. KYIV)

She was telling me one day how she grew up in a little village something along the lines of the one in “Fiddler on the roof”, which was exactly on the border between Poland and what was at the time was called Russia but is now, until Russia takes it back, Ukraine. The border had shifted several times during her youth, and the very last time she experienced it was just before she and my grandfather decided to make a break for the promised land, which at the time was called Canada.

The way she told the story, it took almost an hour to get to the punch line but I’ll shorten it up a bit.

One terrible winter the border line had once again shifted and she and her family now lived in Poland. “We ran out in the snow and celebrated with song and dance and we screamed out loud, we were all so happy that we wouldn’t have to have to survive another Russian winter.”

O.K., I suppose that it was a little funnier to hear it with her accent and watch all that body language, you had to be there.

An attempt to make up for the previous joke:

What’s the difference between Been Nuts and Deer Nuts?  Beer nuts go for $1.50 a bag, Deer nuts are usually under a buck.

January 24, 2011 at 5:59 am Leave a comment

$50 is the new $100

I work as a freelance location sound mixer (an audio recordist) on films and video projects. For the most part I get such work through referrals from previous previous employers and co-workers, and during seasonal work deprivation desperation, from various websites that list upcoming productions and their contact information.

Scanning through these websites I’ve become aware of a trend that’s going on, the day rate of pay being offered by people looking for employees seems to be dropping by the month, circling the drain in a death spiral that indicates soon people will be paying a producer to work for them.

Insert your career here

That actually has happened in the past, with crew people asked in essence to also be the producers and invest their own cash in a project with the promise of a “deferred payment” as a R.O.I. to be received when said producer’s P.O.C. (piece of crap) somehow gets sold.

A safer “Return On Investment”

At this point I should mention that in nearly three decades of working in the entertainment business, I’ve never met a real live person who has collected on a deferred payment promise, I’ve only heard 3rd hand stories by someone who knew someone who had a friend that got paid off years after the show wrapped. This is not to say that no one has ever received such a payment, only that I’ve never even met one who has or even someone that’s directly heard of it happening.

The day rate I see offered most often lately on these epics is now in the neighborhood of $50.00 for a day which is usually going to be at least 12 hours, I did the math and I’m sure that I could do better going down to the beach and collecting used aluminum cans to recycle. And as for these producers who could not produce a shadow on a sunny day? They seem to be proud to brag about their project being an “Ultra low budget” production, like that’s some kind of badge of honor or something. Only a few months ago the average was in the neighborhood of $100.00 for a day’s labor which typically will include any privately owned equipment that the worker is expected to supply. Doing this means that they can avoid paying rental to someone else for the gear, which also means they don’t have to pay for insurance for the rental. I will quickly scan by those listings that violate the minimum wage laws in a business that’s in the hands of  low life morons and thieves who post these things trying to take advantage of film school graduates who are looking for a start. I’m in search of ads for productions that actually have thought out their budget and plan to pay people, even when the pay is going to be less than my normal rate. I’ve learned that I need to find work that will net at least enough income to keep my head above water until the next “real” show comes along, I’m aware that even if I was to stay in bed with the covers over my head, I still will have to come up with +/- a 30th of my monthly nut.

I’m writing this between takes, so for an update of this post refresh in a bit to catch the new stuff, more soon, I gotta get back on the set.

January 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Playing the numbers game

I received some shocking news in my blog overview provided to me by WordPress today. If all goes well and the creek doesn’t rise (mid-American idiom), by this time next week my humble little blog will have been seen by one quarter of a million sets of eyes.

Or perhaps it could be fewer eyes if Sandy Dennis, Sammy Davis Jr., or Mosche Dayan were still alive.

And, we need to consider that some of that crowd are repeat offenders, aka people that I’ve repeatedly offended, so that might skew the numbers.

Anyway, my thanks to the (+/-) 250,000 of you, or worst case, to the one person who has made it an obsession to visit early and very, very often.

Full disclosure: My first time on a movie set (“Mr. Sycamore”) was when I visited a friend that was a sound mixer, and I ended up laying down and partially hanging over the eave to hold a microphone over two actors that were out of reach of the regular boom operator. One of the actors was Sandy Dennis.

January 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm 2 comments

If I were a rich man…..

The subject line is not related to this at all, and is not related to anything else in this blog, so far. I got the idea from a line of dialogue that was spoken by the actor Robert Vaughn to Richard Pryor in Superman III, where he said something like “Being rich means you never have to wear the same pair of socks twice”. That line resonates in me whenever I hear about the Bernie Madoff scam, but I wonder if it has the same affect on his prison husband when Bernie says it?

10 Bonus points if you name the two women that are on the poster, 5 more if you can explain how they got there.

So, I went off on a new socks buying expedition to my local Costco, and a mere $60 dollars later I find that I’m able to wear a fresh new pair of socks each day for more than a month.

Now, I’m wealthy from the top of my head to the bottom of my….

As you’ve no doubt heard many times over the years, big feet mean big socks, so my size 12′s fit comfortably into what’s in the  size 10-13 package from the wizards of Kirkland, and there’s even a little room left for me to grow when this season’s cold weather shrinkage ends.

I’m not just circumcised, I’m Circus Sized

January 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment


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