I've been working in the film industry for over ten years, and have been able to make it a full time job for the last five or so. I work in "Hollywood South," mostly in Louisiana.
It started as a hobby. I always loved gore make-up, and after working the counter at a Halloween store I got the speed needed to work on no and low budget horror films. I learned that low-budget films offer no real money and are really, really long hours. I miss it though, its usually a small, tight-knit group of people you go to hell and back with. I worked on a lot of straight-to-video projects and a few Sy-Fy flicks.
Are You Scared? 2
Xtinction: Predator X
Jules Verne's Mysterious Island
The Tell-Tale Heart
Not all of these were released. Making movies with a razor-thin margin is difficult at best for everyone involved. I have made a corpse with only a 100 dollars and a 24 hour Wal-Mart. When working on low-budget films you are lucky to have a few days prep, and the shoots range from ten to twenty days. There is a lot of cross over with departments, as soon as I was done with any make-up prep work I'd jump over and help art department or props. I'd take odd jobs in between filming to make ends meet. Luckily I got into the business after interns stopped being a thing, so even though I sometimes only made 80 dollars a day for 12+ hours of work, I at least got paid. (only exception is helping out student projects and home-brew movies, but that's always just for fun.)
One day a DP (Director of Photography, not the other kind of DP!) friend of mine sent me a Craigslist ad for a SPFX shop looking for a PA. I thought I would be following around a nice guy holding his coffee. When I showed up to the location, I walked into a full machine shop, with no set in sight. I had no skills applicable to the job, and told the foreman as such. He walked me over to a bandsaw, and pointed behind it. "see all those metal shavings? someone should clean that up. you can push a broom and hold a cleaning rag, right?" I said yes, and he told me they would try me for a week. If I sucked they would let me go. I worked in FX as a tech for the next two and a half years or so.
I did quite a bit of set work, but found my true calling in the shop and with logistics. Someone had to keep the trains running on time, and that became me. I would get set packages together, load then on the trucks, and unload when the gak was returned. FX is tricky because there is a million things involved, and it was my job to know what everything was, and where it was at any given time. Not an easy task when there was a full shop, three large set trailers, one small set trailer, four equipment trailers, two storage rooms, and three sea containers. I also learned a little machine work, some pyro stuff, welding, and a little wood work. It was also my first experience on big-budget films.
Bonnie and Clyde
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
22 Jump Street
American Horror Story: Coven
American Horror Story: Freakshow
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
I worked non-stop for quite a while. With the exception of a few days here and there and winter break, I worked between 60 and 90 hours a week. This got to be too much. Although my pay was good, I had zero time for a life. Needing a change, I opted to switch to the glamorous world of construction! I became whats called a Tool-man, and I'm responsible for cleaning and maintaining all of the tools and equipment for my shop. In addition I'm still doing logistics and the job of Labor Foreman. (fancy talk for giving marching orders to the utility workers.) I've been doing it for a year or so now.
Astronaut Wives Club
The Big Short
Currently I am unemployed, waiting on the next show/phone to ring, so I have some free time. Feel free to ask anything about the business, and if you work in film feel free to chime in and swap stories!
There are a few caveats with this thread, however. I cannot talk poo poo. I am still in the business, and it is a job based solely on reputation. When you are hired, you are hired by the production company, not by the people you work with. (on paper, anyways.) that means you can be laid off or not re-hired for any reason, by either the studios or your department head. I can talk about any film I've worked on that's been released, as long as it's not trade-specific. (no sharing secrets or dishing dirt, basically.)
|# ? Feb 9, 2016 10:33|
|# ? Aug 12, 2020 18:31|