Who says this town doesn't look good in snow?
I’ve done my share of bitching about the show ever since we came back for our fourth and (probably) final season late last summer. Not without good reason, mind you. Back in Season One, we made the first thirty episodes working for a 22% pay cut from full union scale, then got a raise for the next fifty episodes to a dollar/hour under scale, and now -- after delivering 80 episodes over three-and-a-half seasons (don’t ask...), we finally made it all the way up the mountain to full union scale.
The Set PA for the past several seasons has been working towards becoming an AD for a long time now, but that’s not an easy door to open. The DGA trainee program is rough, sending young trainees on show after show for fifty days at a stretch until they’ve accumulated 400 working days. Then -- and only then -- are they allowed to write a big check to the DGA and join the guild. During the training period, they're at the beck and call of the DGA, with no idea when or where they'll be sent next. When times are slow, they might not get another assignment for months on end, but they just have to sit tight and wait for the call to come. A trainee can take non-industry work to make a living in the meantime, but must be ready to drop everything (including whatever job they've taken to pay the rent) on very short notice to head for their next DGA assignment. It can take years to accumulate those 400 days and earn a guild card, at which point they’re at the bottom of the list taking whatever miserable, long-hours gig they can find.
Still, a PA job doesn’t pay a living wage for a married man with rent, groceries, and health care to pay for. So what to do?
Whatever his plan really was, he finally got a break this season. A few weeks in, the production company filled out the paperwork necessary to bump him up to Second-Second A.D. status -- and he got his DGA card a few weeks ago.* This was huge for him, and couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Having watched the way he's worked the set these past two seasons, I have no doubt he’ll make a great A.D.
This game of musical chairs worked out very well for the entire on-set production department. Personally, I find it reassuring that good things still do happen to good people every now and then -- something that's easy to lose sight of in a world that's fucked-up in so many ways. It's been very gratifying to see them all succeed like this, so I lift a cup of Christmas cheer in a toast to Robbie, Dean, Linde, and Sharkey. Long may you ride.
See you in the New Year.
* God only knows how the DGA came up with such a ridiculously awkward title as "Second-Second A.D." To my ears, "Third A.D." sounds better and makes a lot more sense… but the DGA didn't ask me.