A lot of reading which I should probably supplement with just as much writing, but you know how this goes. Things in my life are changing rather quickly these days, and with much anticipation. I’ve been scouting out my future in Los Angeles the last few weeks so as not to shock my system when I arrive there in December.
Granted I’ve already visited the City of Angels a few months ago, I know to some extent what I’m getting into which will alleviate most of the initial shock (and holy crap the West Coast is different), but with the exception of flying there one time for a weekend visit and seeing a few sites, I still have much to learn about this surreal and alien landscape known as SoCal.
That’s why I’ve been reading tons of blogs! Well, not the most exciting blogs (unless you’re really really into the production side of movies and television) but blogs written by real, hard-working, honest joes (and two janes) who all work in the business as production assistants, writers assistants, or as actual bona-fide screenwriters.
For me, living and working in Los Angeles as a screenwriter would be a dream goal. It isn’t the easiest position to obtain (unless you work as a stripper and happen to write some breakthrough script that has a little bit of heart like Diablo Cody did) but with lots of thankless hard work and even more ass-kissing anything is possible in Hollywood.
Anyway, this blog reading adventure all started when I curiously searched “production assistant” and “blog” on Google. I wasn’t too surprised by the amount of results given that everyone in the industry does or has done PA work (and what else does a PA do in the office all day?) but the quality of writing and the frequency of updates (the first Google result hadn’t had a new post since March 2007) led me to start following a blog with well-versed and timely posts, The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog.
TAPAB, as I will now affectionately refer to it, gives the perfect window into the life of a dime-a-dozen PA in LA who has a knack for working hard (or hardly working am I right?!) and writing funny things. Film Industry Bloggers.com is another awesome resource filled with great advice and cautionary tales of the production industry. But even moreso, Film Industry Bloggers a sounding board for members of the bottom tier of the production biz, a space for underappreciated PAs to share their realities of working in Hollywood and all of the triumphs and frustrations that come with it. Unlike some other blogs on the web, almost every minor role in the industry is represented here, many excellent reads to be found.
Through TAPAB I was also pointed in the direction of the blogs of screenwriters John August (Big Fish, Go) and Ken Levine (a TV writer with equally impressive credits). Unlike most of the blogs on Film Industry Bloggers, both of these guys are seasoned veterans of script and dispense seasoned advice on a daily basis. A special thank you goes to Ken Levine for reminding the blog-o-sphere about Free Taco Day (October 28th from 2-6PM), courtesy of the fine folks over at Taco Bell.
Two final journals to add to the list are Dollygrippery (if you’ve always wondered what a “grip” does on the set of a movie this is a good starting point) and Confessions of a Hollywood Juicer (no, he’s not addicted to steroids). As a high school theater tech who’s rigged and lit some great productions on a professional stage I can relate to some of the Juicer’s observations in both of these production worlds. Long ass set builds and strikes, ubiquitous mismanagement, curious on-set tasks, and a load of technical lingo that only a behind-the-scenes personality could appreciate. You will find it all this and more extensively recorded on the blogs above.
There are some other decent production blogs here and there, most found through TAPAB’s site, but not all have made it to dirty half-dozen I check regularly. I’m sure there will be more I eventually add to the list (reading about other people’s experiences in the industry one will be very soon be a part of is too good of an opportunity to pass up), but so far these blogs have given me even more reason to feel excited, nervous, and impassioned about my soon-to-be adventures on the West Coast.