Stage 44: Game Change

Trying desperately to not “get screwed’ is what this post originally said. To not be taken advantage of by another bad employer, more than what had already recurred as an almost chronic condition. Where the ‘bait and switch’ tactic used by production swindlers (‘I wanted this to be turnkey,’ we have to let you go for asking good interview questions when we should be telling the cast that they have to play ball, it works both ways, here, to the ‘snarky little bitch’ vibe, which was the lowest of the low in terms of egregiously unfair.
Somewhere along the way, the language changed, the ‘promises made’ got adjusted based on arbitrary needs (incompetence makes people cutthroat and untrustworthy; ego makes them take whatever means necessary to get back up on ego mountain). Trying to anticipate that is impossible for me. I am just not able to understand what makes people operate that way when they could be focused on a process that consumes all your brain on a good day. That’s what I like to spend my energy on–synergy of the creative process. That’s why I picked a collaborative arm of this industry. I see now that those few kindred spirits are far between.
It’s very simple and very easy to be fair. I can’t even remember the origins of this post (as in Studio 44), and I assume it didn’t end well which is why the post was short & cryptic. But I also know, Sisyphus always prevails. I had a bad run of needing jobs and then encountering people who were completely incapable of seeing what I brought to the table in terms of positive gain, because I knew what I was doing, and they didn’t. So they distrusted anything that wasn’t their dysfunctional process (which wouldn’t get the show shot, since the sun goes down and we have to shoot the show instead of grandstanding).
The blatant disregard for people’s actual lives on top of the fact that job performance doesn’t matter really had me reeling at that point. NOT the product turning out better, on time and with more elements covered; that simply was not acknowledged Because the people in power are basically hacks and not only do they not notice quality and when something needs to be done to make the product cohesive, but even if they did, like the joke of an above-the-line team we had on that show, they wouldn’t care. Doing the ‘right thing’ by the show/storyline is often the wrong thing to do to actually survive and keep your job. That’s asinine. And it happens all the time.
If I hadn’t been reeling, again, from the cold-cock, sucker punch, I could have probably at least reported them to the State for truly egregious practices. That chick at BBC shouldn’t be running anything, she’s dangerous. And two of the Fire Captains were indignant on my behalf but somehow couldn’t reprimand a tv personality.
The rough thing for me was finding out that you have so little control over any of it, not work performance — you can’t rely on the fact that if you do the best job possible, that that means anything. Especially after you do a show 1 / season 1 and now they have all your ideas (and contacts) or you come home from the shoot and hand off to post (because the snarky little bitch has plans to run it into the ground so all you have is that you shot what they need — under duress.
It started when they said ‘we want you to be supervising producer but you can’t have that title because of the politics of this 22-year old useless hire who tries to run things but doesn’t have the experience, and won’t take direction.”
I was desperate for infusing some income after the rug had been pulled out from underneath me on the show before; I let my guard down and thought I could be among new friends because they were so cool compared the bitch hag fire-woman who treated the entire crew and the ‘victims’ like shit. If I’d been politically savvy, I could have coasted along playing the game of let it slide and just keep your job. But the content wouldn’t have been editable and that’s all I ever think about, apparently, to my continual detriment, since people say (behind my back of course) that I am crazy. Like Van Gogh was crazy, but the bait and switch on what was said about just tell us what you need turned into why are you behind? Put head down, and try to be creative, with all thes without too many distractions.
I would’ve had to do something I never do–phone it in to save my skin.  I don’t seem to be able to do that, although I am getting better about letting it go and smoking 1 too many cigarettes in exasperation and then getting back to it.
In these situations, the ability to have have any center is just gone because everything you value (work ethic, skill, commitment to learning your craft, working with others — difficult when they don’t talk/listen to you despite being approachable and being asked to do so).
It doesn’t matter if you work hard, do a good job or deliver great product. It’s hard to know, in your own mind, when you are not like ‘them’ wallowing in your own mess of confusion over why everyone is fighting the process and talking shit (hurtful) about you because you threaten them. Because they are coasting on another thing altogether, and they are over 50% of any team. The people who do all this shit usually insert themselves in roles where they have just enough ‘authority’ to be dangerous.
Bad behavior got rewarded. Just like now actually. A disloyal, do the minimum, barely knows his job, climber keeps his day job while consistently doing less and less to actually help me in any way (functioning, I’d say, as the right hand man fulfilling administrative requests –ignoring the creative context of those which is actually what I needed help with —that somehow they kept getting on my case about — not putting every detail they don’t know into writing for the Cover-Your-Ass and Blame Files). So it’s not enough to know what you’re doing, you have to then do it the way they want you to without any idea of what that really means, so it’s checks and balances til you end up keeping your mouth shut and just wanting out. 
Lesson learned? What’s the lesson? Do a shitty job and you’ll stay under the radar and keep working without anyone destroying your livelihood? Don’t do anything extra, no one cares, why even do it when there’s no benefit and half the time it causes more trouble. Just do the minimum. Don’t have high standards because you are the only one even trying to implement them.
And certainly don’t trust anyone but the people you know you can trust because they have been thru battle with you before (which left no one on all those shows before–now I can count 2 people I trust implicitly — to do their jobs and be fair — and 4 more who I trust for their loyalty, they just don’t always nail the absolute confidence in their work not causing me stress side of things but I trust them to have my back when it comes to shit-talking. And I’ve never been good at any of that–I wasn’t good in high school and I’m not versed in it now. I don’t care. It’s a waste of precious time to me that they spend all that time talking shit about someone who was getting the job done. Those people need to stay on their shitty shows for OWN, please. Destroy that network, once and for all. Keep all the incompetent evil people in one place.
The lesson I guess for me is that I don’t want to keep doing ‘this’ anymore, meaning any of this questioning of me and the job I do. I am always open to variations on approach and I do what’s most efficient for each particular project. I am sick of the emotional upheaval I go thru on a weekly basis by 1) just having emotions (it’s fine for them to vent about everything but I have to be very careful that I don’t show it because it comes back on me as a thing they can use against me, somehow); 2) too much energy spent on the inter-intra-workings of who’s in power, who can do no wrong (got that situation now, the very same person I saw fuck things up in what I feel was not a small way, is immune to any realistic break-it-down discussion. Nope, can’t be discussed their part in the mess that happened. 
I’ve given up even trying to fight that battle–of fair is fair. The perception of one of the most creative people we have is that he’s not ‘on it’ when he’s completely ‘on it’–he’s just so busy he can’t stop to update you incessantly in the way that you require. And, so quick to think you know how things are supposed to be done and so quick to let us know that we are somehow falling short. Every fucking day. Some admonishment. You’re behind. That asshole who’s supposed to be helping you–well it’s a management problem. It’s your fault he’s not better at his job since you manage him. Cut to Et tu, Brutus? And what more do you want. There is no way of getting that guy to do what I need done so I have to carve out time to do it myself and farm out to the people who do put in the creative time on the show (a handful of people really) to be the keepers of all moving parts.
I want to work with people who appreciate the amount of time and dedication I’ve put into my craft, not be threatened by it. To allow me the space to create something great because I finally have the experience to know WHAT to do and WHY TO do it. To not be questioned on things that don’t serve the process but only serve someone who is less-qualified who is either covering their ass, trying to take credit for your ideas by asserting exasperated control over things like conversations or trouble shooting which we do all the time because they don’t get the point but they sure want to make sure they control how you ‘take care of it.’ I don’t know why that is except ego. Trust maybe? They think if they don’t have a hand in it, it will go awry. Who knows? It always seemed to be over-blown and a demand for ego not a legitimate need for the process.
I have to do what I know and not get emotionally engaged in much, including the probability of unnecessary chaos from several arenas. I don’t understand it, I don’t need it, and I am tired of being in it, and I really just want like-minded folks to be surrounded with because I know my creative ideas and my professional process are capable of great things, in terms of hitting the zeitgeist, delivering great content. If I were to get any help on this from path-finders and appointees, it would be getting me to the right creative outlet for the next phase. Until I take off into the teaching part of my career as I will need to work til I fall over, based on the utter lack of stability and any semblance of security in this one.
I’d like to have a solid run at optimum creative capacity in the next 4-6 years before I head off to teach at a community college somewhere in the middle of nowhere. OR transition to analyzing surveillance footage for the CIA. Or write erotic novellas that sell like “50 Shades of Grey” and I can actually afford a cabin in the woods, a home of my own one day.
Until then, I need to find the right alchemy or I should just get out of it altogether. The money’s not worth it, the ‘experience’ isn’t worth it, and the people are truly not worth it.
Most of them are fake, two-faced, climbers who are all just covering for laziness, lack of understanding and ego (over-reaching their boundaries, when they have no business asserting something with the lack of experience they hold). Very few people are actually hinged to the process. I should hold onto them. They are a few choice producers and editors at this point. In the field, I’d always choose the guys who just get it done without all the fucking drama/passive aggressive ways of not working/arguments over things they really don’t know — like post. How we use their footage. How good/bad it actually is. People who want to do a good job, show up and pay attention — and then you can have a good time too when people all know their jobs and commit to their craft. 
I still need to go to therapy, and it would be valid to say that this is still a highly traumatizing event to me — because I suddenly lost my income that was supposed to last the next 6 months (and I am always in fear of this thanks to Apprentice, Model Latina, Vegas Wedding show dropping me the week of 9-11 after which ensued 4 months of no-paid-work but sure got ripped off by Morningstar writing and re-writing for months for very little pay at the end; those shows were ongoing gigs that just stopped. And my world changed each time. This was one of the worst because there was not one iota of care for your staff and that was scary, in the end. That one job had the potential to destroy me because I had nothing in the coffers to fall back on.)
Over actually doing what I am supposed to do. I doubt the State of California Fire Dept really sanctions this, and it ended up with suicidal thoughts at Christmastime, which was par for the course for those years. You have to take legal action within 6 months to a year, but I will find a way to write a letter to the labor board and Cal-Fire to let them know how egregious this was and how I should have pursued legal action. I have to let them know how fucked up it was that a state agency went along with something so blatantly unsupported by any fair labor standards they would employ. I was too busy trying to survive and they knew it — went off whimpering with my tail between my legs worrying about where the next paycheck would be coming from, kept getting knocked down and didn’t have time for more than a bandaid and then it’s get back in there coz you have to pay rent, coz it doesn’t look like you’re gonna be able to jump out of the 9th story window.
Breach of Contract – If the contract is written, the lawsuit must be filed within four years of when the
breach occurred.  If the contract is oral or implied-in-fact, it must be filed within two years of the breach.

Types of Metrics
Quality performance metrics allow for the collection of meaningful data for trending and analysis of rate-of-change over time. Examples are:

  • Trending against known standards: the standards may come from either internal or external sources and may include benchmarks.
    • Trending with standards to be established: usually this type of metric is used in conjunction with establishing a baseline.


  • Milestones achieved.

Milestones were always achieved, that was the problem.

performance metric is that which determines an organization’s behavior and performance. Performance metrics measure of an organization’s activities and performance. It should support a range of stakeholder needs from customersshareholders to employees.[1]While traditionally many metrics are finance based, inwardly focusing on the performance of the organization, metrics may also focus on the performance against customer requirements and value.[2] In project management, performance metrics are used to assess the health of the project and consist of the measuring of seven criteria: safety, time, cost, resources, scope, quality, and actions.[3]

Developing performance metrics usually follows a process of:

  1. Establishing critical processes/customer requirements
  2. Identifying specific, quantifiable outputs of work
  3. Establishing targets against which results can be scored

A criticism of performance metrics is that when the value of information is computed using mathematical methods, it shows that even performance metrics professionals choose measures that have little value. This is referred to as the “measurement inversion”.[4][5] For example, metrics seem to emphasize what organizations find immediately measurable — even if those are low value — and tend to ignore high value measurements simply because they seem harder to measure (whether they are or not).

To correct for the measurement inversion other methods, like applied information economics, introduce the “value of information analysis” step in the process so that metrics focus on high-value measures. Organizations where this has been applied find that they define completely different metrics than they otherwise would have and, often, fewer metrics.[6]

There are a variety of ways in which organizations may react to results.[7] This may be to trigger specific activity relating to performance(i.e., an improvement plan) or to use the data merely for statistical information. Often closely tied in with outputs, performance metrics should usually encourage improvement, effectiveness and appropriate levels of control.

Performance metrics are often linked in with corporate strategy[8] and are often derived in order to measure performance against a critical success factor.

4 thoughts on “Stage 44: Game Change

  1. Call me. I want to talk to you in person. I feel exhausted after reading this story/ post. Was a union anywhere in sight? You were so exposed for so long, it’s a wonder you emerged intact. Or did you?


    1. I think I am in tact. One never really knows, though, does she?! Sometimes I feel like the sanest person in the room. (See CIA Agent played by Claire Danes in “Homeland” for insight into how being ‘right’ can get you in trouble!)
      I thank you for being someone I can trust with the ‘exploration healing’ attempt, and I know I need to reign in the non-sequitur aka Henry Miller in Paris type musings. I am trying to prepare some kind of solid artist’s statement and the only way I know to do that is to be as honest as possible and use everything as fodder for a good story.


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