Hmmmaybe I shouldn't ignore this sign. (I won't.)

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goldfish21
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16 Nov 2022, 3:21 pm

My cousin, who's a production manager or some title like that in the movie industry, just sent me some info about getting into film set building locally & how their union, work, and pay works.

It's similar pay to commercial construction at their starting rates on paper, but she says they often have higher rates negotiated, and almost always have 2-4h/day of overtime, and I know there are other perks for almost anyone that works on set - like catered meals so peoples' grocery bills are minimal.

Could work in town jobs only vs. travel. People tend to work a show or two, quite a lot of OT, then take a month or two off in the Summer or whatever if they don't want to work crazy long hours all year and stack cash.

In the beginning you’re sort of lowest status on call newbie so only get a job to go to work on when there's an abundance of work (which there has been for the last 5 years and seems to be continuing for the foreseeable future) - there's an intro training course online & then a couple weeks in person that wraps up right around the time the local film industry is going to go nuts with lots of shows slated to be filmed in the early new year.

Getting into the film industry here is akin to becoming a longshoreman Almost - it's probably 2nd only to that, really. Longshoremen do less work for more money lol and people actually pay $30K for an application to get into that here, but for film anyone can apply.. it just becomes partially a seniority thing and partially who you know and who likes you kind of thing. If you get along with people and do good work and lots of it, senior members will want you on their team and may request you to work on their sets with them kind of thing.

Anyways, blah blah blah, I could sign up for this, do their training, register on their call list and then go to work for them for whatever their starting pay is in the new year (lower than if I sign in to our finishing trades union again and go to work Taping, but WAY HIGHER earnings potential in the long run - I know people in film set construction earning 2-3x the take home pay of regular commercial construction workers.) and then see if it's a thing I stick to doing, or do seasonally when it's busy busy and do drywall finishing when it's not busy in film. With enough hours logged, then you can graduate up to joining their other union where the rates of pay are significantly higher, too.

I don't really care too much for status or titles, but, I'll admit that it is a "thing," for people to say "I work in film," here. Basically, it conveys that you're successful to a certain extent in your career and make good money/are not poor -> and not being poor is critically important in a city where everything is exorbitantly expensive.

Since I'd be foolish not to give it a shot, I'm gonna register for their training class program and if they accept me into it, I'll do their zoom class training and then their 2 weeks of hands on set building in a film studio warehouse somewhere and then see if they'll gimme a job. Never know; they might even have an particular appreciation for my trowel skills as I can make some damned nice looking walls if they need 'em.


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rse92
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16 Nov 2022, 4:57 pm

What does the title of your post mean?



goldfish21
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16 Nov 2022, 5:43 pm

rse92 wrote:
What does the title of your post mean?


That I’ve been shown a sign of sorts (Show me a sign, sky God! Type thing.) in that my cousin relayed this opportunity to me. And that perhaps I should not ignore it. Wrapping up with stating that I won’t ignore it; meaning that I am going to pursue the opportunity and see what comes of it vs ignore it and potentially pass up a fantastic paying job building neat things for movies of the week & Netflix shows and so forth.

I didn’t think it was confusing to figure that out from the context of my post but I guess maybe the thread title’s meaning isn’t that apparent to all.


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blazingstar
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16 Nov 2022, 7:06 pm

Good luck! It sounds exciting.


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Jakki
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16 Nov 2022, 7:50 pm

Good on you Goldfish….hope the opportunity pans out for you .!


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goldfish21
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16 Nov 2022, 8:39 pm

blazingstar wrote:
Good luck! It sounds exciting.


Thanks! It is. If you're gonna pick up tools and build things, may as well build the things they pay the most for. I know a guy about 10 years younger than me who was Taking Home about $15K/month as a lead carpenter on big budget films. I don't have his skill set or experience, but, just an example of the gobs of money the movie industry throws at people to work long hours and make things happen fast so they can shoot movies.

Jakki wrote:
Good on you Goldfish….hope the opportunity pans out for you .!

Yeah, thx - me too! I just finished filling out the application for the course with 2 whole days before the application deadline. I looked over the short list of classes in the program and it's all super basic stuff that I shouldn't have any issue with passing. Things like safety orientation, whmis, boom lift operation, level 1 first aid etc - all things I've done before, very standard stuff. The only really new to me stuff will be industry specific terminology and protocols, but I'm sure I can learn them and pass tests just as well as anyone else can.

I don't have a lot of carpentry experience, but whatever, it's not that hard to cut a bit of lumber and nail or screw it together. They do have specialized positions for sculptors - but I think that's more clay/foam, but I dunno. Maybe some sets will have a use for my trowel skills when it comes to camouflaging quickly built temporary walls or blending foam props into exterior building facades or something - that could be neat to be the go-to guy to do a little trowel wizardry to make imagined things Look Like real things - enough to trick a camera, anyways.

Construction is one of the only departments that has regular hours, too, so I know I'd be 7am-5 or 7pm on most jobs and home at night, or 3pm on a regular 8h shift that's more rare. That's kinda nice vs. the 18h days others have to pull.

And even though I'm not a big tv fan these days, there is something kinda neat about working behind the scenes - especially for some major production. Movie making magic stuff.

I met a bunch of film ppl at a party my cousin threw a few years ago and they were all good ppl. Some had some very niche jobs, like one guy was a prop continuity expert - so his job is to do things like make sure that water glasses are filled to the exact same level for each shoot, or that a cigarette is the exact same length etc so it doesn't look weird if they cut and splice bits from each shoot and water levels or cigarette lengths are changing. Some of them at that party told me the construction crews and set decoration people often come up with creative solutions to interesting problems - like how do we make a spaceship ?? styrofoam and fibreglass + paint etc so sometimes it's really neat big picture arts and crafts instead of just building flat floor stages and basic walls.




blah blah blah I don't even know for Sure that I'll be able to take the intro class this time around, but, I submitted my application with all the required info and since it's only 2 days from the application deadline I'll follow up with them in the morning and make sure everything is all good and see if I need to do anything else or dig up any additional documentation to further the application process/get accepted. If it's mean to be and works out this time around - sweet, then I know what Else I'm gonna do for money in between the other things I do here and there.. which could become the main thing I do for money and then I only do other things if I don't have a film set to work on. In the beginning work is sporadic for newbies so it's good to have another source of income or two. lol MANY people here have 2 or 3 jobs or a job and a business etc because everything is exorbitantly expensive and ppl gotta eat.


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goldfish21
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24 Nov 2022, 1:06 pm

Update: Got accepted into the course, which is free for the last time ever as the government is no longer paying for it after this round. Nice to get a bunch of small certifications for free.

Once a week online for 1.5 hours and then a couple weeks on site about 20 minutes drive from my home.

Once successfully completed, I can put my name on the film construction newbies list at the low budget film union and Most Likely get dispatched out to a set this Winter/Spring and start building some fake walls and props and stuff for better pay than building office walls in the city. I'd still continue to keep my own side job contracting stuff going, too.

If this works out, and if I get complacent and do nothing else in my working life, I'd still have a pretty solid income - six figures+ if I do it regularly full time. Lots of people work a show or two in a row, get burnt out, then take a month or more off, rinse and repeat. Some stay here to relax at the beach, many others zip off to other countries and live cheap on a beach somewhere else then come back and make bank again.


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24 Nov 2022, 2:50 pm

CongradulationsGoldfish….. swimming in the gold soon , I hope. :D :D . Halloween props and special effects ,and displays
And animtronics Are kinda of a special interest of mine . As Dads business was a subcontracted Company to Disney for projects before they had imagineers . Loved working for him for years. But those particular projects were before my time .
He did The “pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyland , So. Calif. was some of the work he did when it was in development.
Little known small fact about the monorail trams at both USA Disneyland is the permanent strobe light on the front car is an xenon bulb, and circuitry was build by my Dad. I was working there though when the strobe for the Florida
Monorail strobe was made as a exact copy of the first one. 8) . He and his brother had tight associations in the entertainment industry through early life associates with people. Particularly with Walt and his brother Roy Disney .
They were his private associations.before they all passed into their next existences .


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