As you read this, I estimate a better-than-even chance that right now, somewhere on the globe, somebody in the film and television production industry, some line producer or unit director, some editor or coordinator, some locations manager or newsreel archivist, is fucking up royally. They're misfiling a dub master or erasing twenty seconds of key footage from the hard drives. They're forgetting to get someone's phone number. They've opened their big mouths and now somebody is demanding lots of money. Blithely they promise what they can't deliver, deliver what should be tossed out, and toss out what will make the difference between a $500,000 cheque and a pissed-off broadcaster. Some punctured ego will be patched with a lie, some vital detail will be left in a rented trailer, some exorbitant drinks tab will peel off a cost report and flutter into the lap of some reptilian auditor. How does all it run smoothly? It doesn't. Like an airplane, the industry propels itself via controlled explosions, essentially throwing itself at the next shoot, the next project, the next fiscal year. Some companies are Boeing 767s, some are F-15s, but they're all riding on the last boom.
I suppose, if you want to be scrupulous about my analogy, you could say that I'm hard at work inside the jet engine, enduring the roar and the heat. Outside observers generally carbonize in five seconds when they try to get up close. So let's take a brief illustrated look at how the industry works.
Fig. 1:This is a schematic of a typical production company. Raw 'content' flows from the creative input mouth (1) over the producer's filtering attachment(2), where special bristles and hooks remove unwanted 'quality'. Thoroughly scrubbed by the bristles of the producer's ego, it then flows over the managerial codpiece (fig. 2) and the internal employee relational rotor, or IERR (fig. 3). The content then passes through the broadcaster's filter, which is made of a high-grade polymer designed specifically to catch any stray particles of original and thought-provoking content that the producer wanted to take credit for. Sometimes interesting content is separated prematurely from the mix and slips into the bypass air ducts. In such cases, gigantic whirling blades (4) at the end (purchased from the set of The Abyss) slice it into unrecognizable slivers. The entire apparatus functions to blast out a constant stream of smooth and flavourless content.
Fig. 2 is the executive codpiece. It ends up in the main shaft, directly in the way of the content, because it doesn't fit and the management has nowhere else to put it. Anxious at their separation, the managers come by several times a day to check on their beloved codpiece, then hang around to pester the employees. Any mention of the codpiece produces severe reprimands. There are also nipples, which no one wants to discuss.
Figure 3, The Internal Employee Relations Rotor, is the heart of the production enterprise. The producer and broadcaster filter attachments are kept in furious rotation by the employees, who as you can see here get the shaft.
You can also see that my native Photoshopping talents are not what I was hired for. But in all seriousness, is this the way that everything runs out there? With the exception of mowing lawns and grubbing away in Sears call centres, the production industry is my only point of entry into the adult world of work. Hold on. I'm going to go watch television for a couple of hours.
Okay. Watched the television. Realized that the dizziness and disorientation is actually the result of a virus and not Law & Order. And Law & Order CI. And CSI. I'm staying home tomorrow.