My Reality

Someone more wiser and more experienced in this business once said to me, "You gotta make television your job and movies your hobby." I don't remember who that wise sage was but I understood what they were saying.
Production Crew at the impromptu wrap party

At the time though, the advice didn't take root because that wasn't my reality. I didn't have a job in television and didn't see one coming in the near future. However, that seed of wisdom stayed planted in my mental garden and only now, in the past few months, do I see it coming to some fruition.

I have, since the dawn of my young career as a writer, been able to snatch some kind of word-smithing employment. Some of the work, like being hired to hammer out a full-length screenplay was right on point with my particular passions and other writing gigs were a bit off the mark, like writing white papers for an MBA focus group. Yet, it all kept my head above water.

However last October a flood came. Call it Hurricane Writers' Strike. The strike nearly drowned me as it sucked out any air of employment I might usually take in. When money got thin, I was forced to work for a temp agency which, though I was grateful for the gig, was nevertheless mind numbing.

All I did was file, for eight hours straight. I did so much filing that I dreamt of filing at night: Robertson... Robinson... Ro...

Then a call came from a friend who let me know about a possible Production Coordinating gig on a reality show pilot. I leaped at the opportunity. I had recently returned to production work by working as a coordinator or manager on short films, videos and commercials--on the weekends mostly-- so a tv pilot was right on time. Although I had never done "reality TV" my prior experience and the interview I gave landed me the job. The only rub was that it was being shot in Atlanta and if I was to be hired, the budget dictated that I had to be hired as a "local." That meant I'd have to fly myself to Atlanta, find my own lodging, get my own transportation and receive no per diem. Nada. Ouch. Not the best situation. But then I thought of filing.

The next week I flew my butt to Atlanta.

The show was called "The Single," an interesting reality show premise that tracks a once top-o'-the-chart musician's attempt to work with a currently hot producer in order to create a single song that will catapult that musician to the hit list once again. The pilot featured R&B singer Monica as she worked with uber-producer Brian Cox. The hours were long (most times I wouldn't get home until after 2:00am.) but the work was solid, gratifying and I thoroughly enjoyed the production company I was working for.

Apparently the appreciation was mutual because not long after "The Single" wrapped they offered me a job on another show that was gearing up for production. This time it was "Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is--Season 3." In order to fully talk about the roller coaster ride I was on (in fact that we were all on) with that show it would take another post or two. But don't let me mislead you. The experience on KC3 was invaluable. The people and production company great (this time I was flown in and had a car provided). But the schedule and cast was, well, wild. I repeat, WILD. And just like any hair raising, thrill a minute roller coaster ride, it all came unexpectantly one day to a screeching halt. But like I said, that's fodder for another story.

Fortunately though, my story with this production company has continued as I'm now on yet another reality show they are producing. This one is called "Celebrity Dream Day" and will be shot out of Los Angeles. This work is in no way as topsy-turvy as "Keyshia Cole." The hours are relatively normal and consistent and the cast appears to be relatively drama free (so far!). So now I'm living in LA during the weekday and returning to Aliso Viejo on the weekends and I'm following the wise sage's advice.

TV has become my job.

And writing movies well, has I guess, been relagated to the status of a hobby. But know that I'm still workin' hard on the weekends to make it a paid hobby, indeed! That's my reality.