Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Weekend

I need money.

That's a given. With all the changes that are happening in my life, the one constant thing that I can say, four years, nine months and one day into my bankruptcy, is that I need money.

This Labor Day Weekend, I was offered a gig at the local stadium. There was a Big Event coming to town, and they needed a crew. I would be in charge of Media Transfer.

Which meant that I would babysit a DVD burning array. It's what I call monkeywork: I push a button, and fifteen minutes later, I push a second button. Repeat 14 or 15 times over the weekend, and walk away with an easy $700. It's the sort of job that Sudoku was invented for.

I turned it down.

Instead, I loaded up a van with batteries, a camera, lights, microphones, tapes, sleeping bags, and my kids, and drove five hours into the Adirondacks, and shot three hours of footage, and two hours of interviews. For which I receive nothing.OK, it was part of my fulltime job, so I'll get my regular salary (which I would have gotten anyway), but will get to take two days off someplace down the road.

Best $700 I ever lost.

One of my clients at work is an organization that runs a summer camp. Back about 47 years ago, this organization bought a lake in the Adirondacks, and opened a camp. They want to have a documentary about the place ready for its 50th anniversary, and they wanted someone to shoot it. So I did. I worked 20 hours, lugging my camera, tripod, and accessories all over the camp, while my kids made friends.

That's what they do, they make friends. We got lost going to the campfire Friday night (hey, I had never been to this place before in my life), and bumped into a family that knew where to go. Before we got to the fire, my daughter had a new best friend. I had to wait until morning to find out who these people were. Luckily, they found us. There was only one guy in camp lugging around a $15,000 camera, so we were easy to pick out.

The whole weekend was like that. I was afraid that all the interviews were going to be these fairly dry reminiscences of the good ol' days--and they were--but there were also two guys who had been friends at camp back in the early 1970's, who hadn't seen each other in thirty years, yet could still finish each other's jokes like no time had passed.

I kept getting asked what I was doing, and when they could see it, and where would it be shown. And I really didn't have a very good answer for them. We were contracted for a 'shoot and hold;' I don't know when it will be finished, or even if I'm the one who will be finishing it.

The work I did this weekend is really just the tip of the iceburg: There's going to be a whole bunch of archival stuff to go through and digitize. Plus hours of transcription, writing, rewriting, editing, voice work, and music to add to it before it's done. But it's a start. And I want to finish it. I hope I get to do that.

I did get a great compliment this weekend: I was asked by the camp director who should he write to request I be the one to work on it. Which surprised me. I didn't know my enthusiasm was showing.

For some time, I have been trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my life. No, that's not true. I know what I want to do, at least in a broad sense: I want to tell stories. I just wasn't sure how to do it.

And then this thing just drops into my lap.

Sometimes it's good to just ask for what you want. You'll never know when you might just get it.

There are some things I need more than money. I got some of that this weekend.



Blogger terry said...

this made me smile. good on you!

1:43 AM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...


Go get it!

10:15 AM  
Blogger mal said...

*S* Life really is GOOD

9:06 PM  
Blogger GC said...

I saw a book at a bookstore yesterday entitled something like "the 3 signs of a miserable job". I don't think this project really fits.
This is a cool project to sign your name to.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

This fits you so well. Best wishes!

9:51 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

oh nice!

i'm really happy about this! :)

12:53 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...

if i recall correctly, you were thinking about wanting to go independent and do one or more films

this might be an interesting intermediate step toward your dreams that also lets you keep your steady job/paycheque - that the judge looks at when thinking about stability and custody issues

12:59 PM  

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