•9:50 PM

Now that DH is out of the film catering gig and received his last paycheck, I can finally spill the goods! I already said he wanted to leave the job because of the insane hours and relatively low food quality. But there was a whole lot more to it.

I guess you hear it all the time - the film industry is hard and cold. But if you're like me, you were probably thinking of it from the talent's point of view. Constant rejection and criticism, the casting couch, things like that. I was surprised, maybe more than I should have been, that it's hard and cold all the way down to the ground level behind the scenes.

It's a 100% fear-driven work environment. They do not want you to feel comfortable or secure about your position on the crew. I didn't mention it before because our mortgage lender would not have liked to hear this at all, but DH's company signed a contract with the production company every single night to be hired for the next day and the next day only. The upper echelon on set (the producers and execs) are rich, powerful and moody because they can be, and because it works to keep your performance on its toes. They know what you are being paid and they know 200 people would jump into your place in a dead second.

There is no loyalty to speak of, even within the catering crew. It truly is every man for himself. Mysterious 'complaints' run rampant on the set, and any one of these could be grounds for your termination, whether or not they are true, or even important (for example, if one person out of 120 thinks the table seating is too tight - and she happens to be dating one of the producers). DH was expressly warned not to do any special favors outside of what they were under contract for without speaking to his boss first, because today's kind gesture could become expected as an entitlement tomorrow and if you refuse to do it again, you may find yourself out of a job depending on whom you've ticked off.

Frenchy, DH's boss, has been in the business for over 20 years and seems comfortable playing any game that needs to be played to cover his own back. Sadly, it was hard to respect him in the end. It was interesting to me that his longest term employee has been there only three years (and he's on the verge of leaving as well). Despite the money to be made and stars to meet and the parties to go to, no one can do it for long. It's too demeaning, and too lonely.

The heavy paycheck was great, of course, but it came with many strings and ugly feelings, and the uncomfortable knowledge that it could end at any moment for any trivial reason at all. It's no way to live.

For us, anyway.
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On June 20, 2011 at 6:20 AM , Stacy said...

Yikes! I agree, that is no way to live. Especially when you're trying to support a family. I find it extremely sad that situations like that even exist and as much fun it has been to hear you talk about the stars and such, I feel that you've all made the right decision there. Just look at it as a lesson or experience that you all needed to move on to the next chapter in your lives. ((((hugs))))