Begging And Choosing

I Google image searched 'begging' and got lots of disturbing pictures of toothless, one armed old men in Calcutta. Please enjoy this kitten instead.

If you asked me six months ago if I had a job lined up in LA, chances are I said, “Not necessarily, but I’m sure I can get my old job from last summer back.” If you asked me four months ago, I probably said, “Not necessarily, but I’m 80% sure I can get my old job from last summer back.” If you asked me two months ago, I most likely said, “Not necessarily, but it’s a toss up whether I can get my old job from last summer back.” If you asked me last week, I think I said, “No – and quit fucking asking, would you?”

For those of you who are new to the blog, last summer I worked at Roundhouse Kick Entertainment, a post production house for a raft of reality TV shows. Roundhouse Kick had so much content in need of editing that the office was open 24 hours – the day shift edited from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the night shift edited from 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

As the new guy, I was assigned the position of night shift assistant editor on a ghost hunting show. Every week or so, the production crew would mail us their DV tapes from the ghost hunts they were doing in the Midwest. My job was to upload the footage to the servers and then spend the entire night watching hours of raw footage of ghost hunts, placing markers in the footage whenever something relevant happened, so that the actual editor could skip right to the good parts and not have to do the shit I was doing.

I quit at the end of the summer to go back to Oregon, get a journalism degree, and impress girls at Taylor’s by telling them that I’d had a career in television,* the whole time with the understanding that if I wanted the job back next summer when I returned, it would be mine.

*”Hey, I, uh… Edited a reality TV show. No, not Jersey Shore. What, that other guy you’re talking to plays sports? Shit, I can’t top that. Run along and have sex, you two.”

As I got closer to coming back down here, though, my friends at Roundhouse Kick became less and less certain that my job would be available – other people had been hired, some had been fired, and ten months is one hell of a long time to keep a job position open for someone, especially in an industry full of qualified people looking for work.

I panicked a bit, because the time that I found out that I didn’t have surefire employment in LA was roughly the same time that I put down my security deposit and first month’s rent on my apartment here. Picking up everything and moving to LA was suddenly one hell of a lot scarier when there wasn’t a job waiting for me. I mean, why go at all, otherwise?

So I started emailing other contacts and looking for work elsewhere. The search was more fruitful than I expected, and as of today I have some promising meetings set up with people for next week, not to mention a potential line on a production assistant job for an upcoming reality TV show produced by a different company. In other news, there hasn’t been a joke in two paragraphs, so here’s a funny scene from the 1980 film Caddyshack:

Out of the blue today, though, one of my Roundhouse Kick contacts called me and told me that he’d talked to the boss and there was a spot open for me – I could start tonight, if I wanted. Assistant editor credit on IMDb, on the job training in AVID editing software, $500 a week, and more free bagels in the break room than I knew what to do with.

I told him that I really appreciated the offer, but that I was going to have to decline the job.

Do you remember at the end of Spider Man, when Kirsten Dunst totally wants Toby Maguire’s sauce but he says no? It was like that, if I was him and Kirsten Dunst was Roundhouse Kick. Well, I mean, I hadn’t been in love with Roundhouse Kick Entertainment for my entire life, nor was I turning them down because I wanted to protect them from supervillains, but what’s important to remember is that in this situation, I am Spider Man.

Roundhouse Kick Entertainment was a fucking great place to work. The pay was good, the management was friendly, my coworkers kicked ass, and I can’t stress enough how great the free bagel situation was. This has nothing to do with Roundhouse Kick Entertainment – it’s not them, it’s me.

For how great of a workplace it was, though, my job was essentially video editing. I’m probably underqualified for that sort of job in FinalCut Pro, the system I just spent a year learning – when it comes to using AVID, I’d have more luck playing pickup sticks with my butt cheeks.

I was being grandfathered into a job for which I was not properly qualified, and sooner or later that would hurt the company – for all I know, there’s a hotkey command in AVID that fills all the servers with saltwater taffy, and God knows I’d probably wind up hitting it by accident and ruining all our data. (On the plus side, though – free taffy!)

I’m trying to make myself sound really gallant here, but the primary reason I said ‘No’ was because it’s just not a job I’m interested in doing. I don’t want to spend my days (or nights, as it were) glued to a computer screen, wrestling with finicky editing software. I want to live the glamorous life of a production assistant – coffee runs, getting yelled at by producers, disposing of the dead hooker in the star’s hotel room, etc. Sure, it’s all Kenneth The Page grunt work, but there’s variation to it, you meet lots of people, and better than that, it’s actually something I’m interested in with opportunities for advancement into other areas I’m interested in.

Part of me feels pretty stupid for turning down a job when I’m unemployed and living off savings. But the fact is, I came down here to do what I’ve always wanted to do – if I wanted to do something that didn’t interest me, I could’ve just as soon stayed in Portland and gotten a job as a journalist. Like I mentioned last week, now is the best time for me to fuck up and not hurt anybody but myself.

So here I go, boldly fucking up where no man has fucked up before. If worse comes to worse and I can’t get a job, at least I know I’ve got bodily fluids (and one spare kidney!) that I can sell.

Truman Capps has discovered that even a change of state still makes it hard for him to post on time.