I come to find myself unemployed…rather suddenly too. While this isn’t unheard of, it isn’t uncommon. The sudden part, that is.
I finished my Discovery Health show (Surgery Saved My Life – “Battleground Miami”…no clue when it airs) back in mid-November. I locked the show, went to the online (online! I remember having to online a show…goodness, what a memory), the final mix…and then it was done. About time too…I was on that for 4 weeks longer than it should have taken. But, I was without a writer/producer for the most part…someone to bounce ideas off and work with. Very necessary. Eventually the main producer had some time and we banged the show out in 2 weeks. Done.
LUCKILY I wasn’t without work for long after that. Only 3 days. My producer from Andrew Jackson was called in to help a Discovery series that was in trouble. It had been languishing for quite some time…the network never really happy with the cuts they were seeing. The company specializes in Reality shows, so they needed a little help in writing for a documentary. The producer goes in, writes a few lines of VO, they spend a day re-cutting a couple scenes…BOOM! Discovery is happy. But they are lagging behind, and need more editors to help move along the shows. My producer recommended me (this is how I land a majority of my work, recommendations) and I find myself employed. And I am told that it would last until the week before Christmas. I hear this news 2 days before my last day on Surgery…nice peace of mind.
I lasted 3 weeks. Not because of anything I did…but because, well, they didn’t have work for me to do. The producer on the show I was working on was also working on THREE other shows, and didn’t have much time to devote to the show I was on. I was given tapes and scenes to rough out, and the day editor (I was working nights) then smoothed them out…for they knew the style of the show. For three weeks this worked…but then…nothing to do. So I was let go. Two weeks BEFORE I planned on being let go. The big thing that got to me was WHEN I was told.
On Wednesday (last week), I was told Friday would be my last day, and that I would be handed by check. Pretty abrupt. BUT, that is the life of a freelancer out here. It says in the contract that we sign that they can let us go “at will.” Meaning, whenever they want…no notice required. But, the contract also says that we can quit “at will” too, sans notice. So it isn’t unexpected. The hiring process happens this quickly too. Typically I’ll get a call on Friday and am asked “can you start Monday?” Or the following day. Once I was called at 9AM, interviewed on the phone for 15 minutes, and asked if I could be there in an hour. Things happen mighty fast in this town.
Just this week, on a Tuesday, I was asked by someone (who I was recommended by another guy I know…see?) if I could work on a project for a couple days…starting Wednesday. I was SO there.
Yes, this can be a little hectic. And I am constantly updating my resume and calling people, but it is fun. I get to work on a variety of projects…from a documentary on Andrew Jackson to following doctors in a trauma unit to exploring ruins and ancient bones with an archaeologist to 2 min presentation on the Blue Angels. That makes it all worth while.