Golden Cage

Last night I came home after a particularly difficult six day workweek and collapsed on my couch. Scrolling through Facebook, I was struck by the two categories of posts I saw. On one side were friends writing about summer vacations, weddings, and the daily happenings in their lives. On the other were my film industry colleagues and friends. These posts relayed the tragic news that a driver on one show had fallen asleep at the wheel after an excessively long day and been killed in a car accident. Another friend spoke of the wife he hasn’t seen in his three months on the road. And another ranted about having just worked an 85 hour week with less than 36 hours off until he had to do it all again, “the film industry chews you up and spits you out,” he wrote.

After working an 80 hour week myself, in a canyon of white sand, wrapped head to toe in UV graded clothing, in temperatures over 100 F, I had to ask myself why? Why do this?

When I began working in the industry, just before my 24th birthday, I had a recently acquired Bachelor’s Degree and no plan to speak of. The Industry seemed exotic and I quickly found myself the member of not one but two IATSE Locals, complete with a pension, dental, and the ego boost that came when acquaintances learned that I worked on movies and around famous people. I liked the excitement, I enjoyed working in different cities, and I quickly became accustomed to the money I earned through excessive overtime.

But, I also began to lose touch with friends, mail went unopened, and my already developed insomnia worsened. I went months on a diet of caffeine and adrenaline, driving when I was too tired to safely be behind the wheel. I used being “on location” as the perfect excuse to postpone dealing with things that adults have to deal with, be those break ups or home repairs or any number of other unpleasant matters.

I am using the past tense because I like to think that in the past year, I’ve done some difficult and good course correction. I decided to choose my jobs based on if they were in town, if they weren’t too long, and if I liked the people I would be working with. But, even taking all of that into account, over the past month I’ve spent most of my days in ski goggles to keep out the blowing dust, I’ve worked several 18 hour days, and driven when I shouldn’t have.

How to turn the fantasies of owning a small hotel or being a writer/traveler/blogger/creative into reality? How to let go of the fear that keeps me coming back to films for more, hoping that maybe, maybe this time, it will be different. But, it is what it is. It’s an industry that uses its perceived glamor to remind the crew there’s a line of people who would kill to replace them. Almost twelve years in, I see the young starry eyed 24 year olds and it seems like another lifetime that I was one of them.

And yet, after all of that, I know I was not meant for a 9-5 existence. I would crumble at a desk. Finding some type of balance between the two seems to be my current universe-sent task. In the meantime, I will try to work as safely as possible, to be grateful that I’m employed, to continue paying off debt, to keep my eyes open for new opportunities, to save money, and to be kind to my fellow crew members who look as tired and hot as I am.


The Vampire Like Life Of A Costumer

Blog, blog, blog, must write something, has been too long…But I’m tired and have nothing to say. Yes you do, just write.

Working nights, living the vampire life, wide awake when those I love sleep. Able to watch as the most recent Honey Moon made its way from horizon to horizon, a lovely thing for Friday the 13th.

Waking in the afternoon, hot, not sure how to dress for a night that dives from 100 degrees to somewhere in the 50s, just before dawn.

Working at the whim of the weather, forced inside when windy dust storms threaten both safety and equipment.

With two weeks to go, the end is near but not yet in sight. Future trips, sleep, and relaxation beckon and tease. But in the meantime, acorns are stowed away.



I’ve been diggin’ my town lately. Albuquerque. From the outside, it could easily be mistaken for a brown, desert city, full of strip malls. A city notorious for being at the top of lots of bad lists and at the bottom of most good ones. A city that periodically has ‘dust’ as the forecast in the weather app on my phone. A city that many know only because of its connection to “Breaking Bad.”

But, it’s a city that has a true identity as well, one that I take for granted and then miss when I’m away. Around the Bosque, along the Rio Grande, there is a connection to the land I don’t find in many cities. I wake to a rooster crowing, even though I live downtown. On the weekend, I have my pick of either the farmer’s market at 8th and Central on Saturdays, or at the Railyard, in the Barelas neighborhood, on Sundays. There is vibrant music and arts scene, in part made possible because of the low cost of living.

Having grown up in Santa Fe, Albuquerque’s more precious neighbor to the north, I’m relieved by the realness found in Burque. I live in the old Victorian neighborhood which butts up against Old Town, Downtown, and in which contemporary lofts are constantly popping up. There is a mishmash here that I find appealing.

There are times that Albuquerque’s inherent funkiness drives me slightly bonkers and I just want things to function smoothly, safely, and properly; but, without a doubt, I know that the reason I live here, and in New Mexico, is because anything too obvious or normal bores me immediately.