When I first came to LA in December of 2007 I had a job already. NO ONE moves to this town with a job. It is near impossible. I had done such a good job on my first film I got paid to do, that was an ultra low budget indie horror flick shot in Warrensburg,MO and in Springfield,MO area. One of the Co-Producers on that said that if I moved to LA he would give me a job. So I moved and in my first 12 hours 'off the boat' I was on the Paramount lot getting my ID and signing my confidentiality agreement to work on JJ Abraham's new Star Trek...right at the beginning of the writers strike and in the midst of a downward economy. I was so excited that I wanted to pee my pants. I was floored when I met and had a 20 minute conversation with Tom Cruise and baby Suri just a few weeks later! My in-laws were very skeptical of my new job and even asked if I had moved here to be a porno star. I laugh now at the thought, but it totally crushed me knowing that was a possibility to them. Whatever! I was better than that and smarter than they will EVER give me credit for. Sometimes I wonder who it is they 'know' because the way they believe me to be is NOT even a close reflection of who I really am...as a person...a mother...a wife...or a Christian. Anyhow that's off topic....
Point is when I got here work came easy. I worked a lot. I learned a lot. I couldn't get enough of productions. BUT when my personal life fell apart so did work and we eventually went back home to Missouri for the summer of 2009. Then up north to Portland,OR for my (almost) ex- husbands new job, by September of the same year. When I finally got back here...work was NOT coming so easily. I felt for sometime that I made the wrong choice in coming here to live the dream. Then it hit me...HOLY CRAP...it's not just a 'dream'....this is my life. Production and filmmaking is my career! OH SHIT...all I have on my resume is production (insert title here) and more production there. AW GEEZ I can't do anything else! (Trust me I tried! I totally could!) But no one saw the value of my qualifications and job experience except film productions. I tried and am still desperately wanting to work for a production company full time. Sadly, those are jobs that are few and far between. Hopefully someday....hopefully soon!
As of now I work freelance. Job to job. Relying on friends to hire me and people I worked with long ago (in Hollywood time) to remember to hire me. When you are working out here it is easy to find work, but lag for even a moment and it's start from scratch! Trust me it is a hard road when babies need you to feed them and put a roof over their tiny heads. Resumes go out everyday for all kinds of work....production and non-production. I am hoping something sticks. Lucky for me my close friend and one of my fave producers to work for is keeping me in a little bit of work now. I intern at The Second City in order to pay for my Improv classes (which keep me sane and are like my family here). I volunteer at the girls school when I can and when they need me. I did the drama club last semester...it was a blast!
This month I have been lucky. The first month of REAL work coming through. I am praying and hope you pray too for more work to come my way and this to keep up at a good pace. I will have had four jobs within the first half of this month. That is great for me. Esp with the 'work breeds more work' theory.
Working this much has people floored on jobs. Just last Saturday I was sitting at lunch freezing my ass off in an old warehouse with some grip and electric boys that asked "Where are your kids?" "Do they live with you? I mean you work in production"! I would get offended or laugh, but they have honest concerns and I get asked this ALL the time. Sometimes I tell them that I have them waiting out in the car for me. Once I told an actress that I dropped them off at the fire station...I think she believed me and I never set her straight! Yes, the question gets old. Do you ask your bank teller where her kids are when you see the pictures hanging up in her teller station? NOPE. I mean you don't ask people that. Production days are long when you are on set especially. I am not on set EVERYDAY for my part of the job. I don't work 5 days a week. I can work for a month then take a month off. I can work from home. In the last two weeks I went on a field trip with both the girls, I spent Dr. Suess's Birthday at the school, I read in the classroom for no reason other than just to read, I went shopping with the baby and hung out with my friend in the middle of the day. OH and I may be going on another field trip tomorrow... bet they didn't see their kids as much as I saw mine. OH yes, some days are hard because I get only an hour or two before bed, but those days are so rarely weeks and just rare all together!
ALL RIGHT...ALL RIGHT...where are the kids? Well, from October to January it was just me and the three girls. We didn't have anyone. I was getting by on the FEW people I had trusted and my sister helped me get the baby home to my mom for two weeks so I could work! That was the hardest thing I had ever done. I missed her SO much! The big girls went with a mom from the school whom I have known for a year now. That time was hectic and nerve wracking. I didn't get many breaks because all my babysitters were used up for necessary help. They were all happy to chip in when they could. I know that everyone tried. But they couldn't always be there when I needed them. One trusted friend stole food from me every time she was over and would take bottles of cooking sake and wine home with her and never asked. GONE. Another friend of mine was just so random and eventually decided that drugs and sex was more important than friendship and the privilege of being a part of this family. GONE. Help from my ex-boyfriends family. GONE. That was difficult for me. My own strength and character amazes me only now after the fact. OH my car. GONE. TOTALED right before Thanksgiving.
My only option was to call in reinforcements. Call the one person that the girls knew. The one person whom I could trust to be here when I am not, knowing that things are done (mostly) as I would do them. One person that could cramp in this tiny ass apartment with us and not kill each other before finding a new place! Someone who started out as a classmate in college, turned into an acquaintance, turned into a live-in Nanny when my 5 year old was 9 months, turned into a friend, and now my VERY BEST FRIEND. He! YUP totally Hollywood...we have a Manny! He has been a part of their lives and lived with us for a long time. Up until we left LA and even for a bit when I came back. He is the person we can not talk to for some time...but pick up where we left off. He has been around the baby since she was about 6 months old. He is great with them. A part of the family. A very very LOW paid part of the family. He quit his job and moved back to Hollywood to help me out. I have loved all the help! More importantly I love all the work it has allowed me to accept. There are benefits for him as well. He likes LA and wants to be here. He loves the girls and being a part of this family. Right now he has the time to do some writing and do some creative things for himself. So its not all crazy to have him here. We never said how long he would stay. Just that he would be here until we didn't need him anymore. I owe him so much. Without him here I don't know that I could do this. It's been exactly 8 weeks and 1 day since he arrived...and so much has happened for the better!
How do I do it? I have the World's Best Manny! I have the support of my family at home! I have beautiful faces that smile and need mommy to make a career out of the only qualifications she has on her resume! I have God in my corner again (thanks to our field trip to San Juan Mission)! I love my job. I love being in production. I have luxuries that mothers would kill for...I am living my dream--Mother and I am making a career--Production. Love and support all around are making that possible.
I feel like I have to catch some of you up on what it is that goes on here in general. Soon this blog will only be stories about the woman who pee'd in the street right outside my window...and stories of how people stop and run after us just to say 'you have the most beautiful children I have ever seen'. And how I learned today that I am 2 inches shorter than Tracy Ullman. Oh and how commercials pay sooo much better than films...but films are better because they last longer and are more steady income! Oh and I have an Improv Show this Friday at Improv Olympics with a team I have never played with before and I am so totally excited for the experience. Also, Happy Birthday to my Mom Kim!
Well I am off to work on something. Oh like my short film that I wrote and am FINALLY producing...Lots going on in Hollyhome! We are all doing it together...except for cleaning...the Hollybabies want nothing to do with that!