A Day in the Life of a Reality TV Story Assistant

Get to work at 10 AM.  The Company Head Editor (CHE) comes to talk to the Story Producer (SP).  SP arrives a little late, usually.

CHE (to SP): Your editor won’t be back for the rest of the show.

Me: I can edit.

CHE ignores me.  Continues talking to SP.

CHE: So I’m going to start making calls to people.  See if you can find someone to come in.

Exit CHE.

Me: I can edit until you can get someone in.  You’re already using my cuts.

SP: Thanks so much!!  We’ll set you up in the editing bay!

CUT TO:

Me in editing bay, no problem.  SP enters.

SP: Development Editor (DE) will also be editing, but we can use all the hands we can get.  He’ll do the packages, you can do the deleted scenes.

Me: Sure

A little disappointed, I wanted to be the hero editor (Pay raise plz, kthx), but cool.  Also, DE is doing the job I was doing provisionally (for free) a few months ago, but then the Head of Development remembered that she loved DE and wanted him to do it instead.  So, didn’t get that promotion.

So I cut a bunch of stuff, and spend a lot of time showing the footage to DE, not because he’s not good, he’s great, but because I’ve spent a couple weeks cutting the material and there’s a lot of it and I’ve already cut what they want but some local producer didn’t want it, but then the network did want it, so they’re reverting everything back to basically what I’d cut in the first place.

1PM SP grabs us lunch I guess because she feels guilty about locking us in the editing bays and whipping us into editing frenzies.  Not really true, but you know.

Early afternoon, I finally get the call sheet for set tomorrow and learn things such as where I am going, when I need to be there, and when it will be over.  And find out what I’m going to be doing.  And that I need a laptop.  So, you know, good to know last minute.

SP comes by 3ish to check my cuts.  Asks me to revert previous editor’s cuts to what I had originally cut, and likes what I’ve done.  Ego boost.  Wants me to get another Editor at the place to come place music on the cuts, because they’re being used tomorrow on set.  I joking (not really) say I should get a pay raise and an editor credit.  SP laughs.

I monitor the other two editors, sort of superivising them but then let them do their thing.  Will work on a cut of something new and count down the time til 6PM.

Tomorrow, 8AM call.  But I do get to meet famous people.

First Act: Complete

First acts are probably the easiest. And I write short anyway. This one clocks in at exactly 22 pages, written in just over a week. 9 days coming out to over 2 pages a day, though that’s certainly not how it was written. 12 last weekend, 10 this weekend. Nothing like my 15 page a day peek last summer, but then, I have a full time job and several part time gigs.

I am going to polish it up and send it to the manager guy sometime this week. Although it’s a first draft kind of, it’s not really.

I first wrote out the idea as a short film, which I shot 2 summers ago. Then, last summer, I wrote out a 4 page treatment and character profiles. And then, last fall, I did 40 index card outline. And then I hand wrote it the last month. So the typed version is not really a first draft, but it still feels fresh, new and exciting.

Hopefully I can get some feedback before I send it off to more judgmental eyes.

Tomorrow, the editor starts on the show I’m working on. I’m hoping to get to know him at least somewhat.

Sometime this week I need to meet with the actress whose reel I’m working on. She has some notes on it. Unfortunately, for what she’s paying me, I can’t afford to spend much more time on it, so hopefully when we meet this week we’ll be able to put it to bed.

I also need to finish this assembly/rough of the short I got last weekend. I’m about halfway through, but I wanted to be done tonight.

I also wanted to have the pilot for this web series written. I just need to sit down and bang something out, even if it’s crap, to get it off my plate. I’m just having a hard time drumming up enthusiasm for a 3 page script. It’s so little to work with.

The web series that I worked on and was going to post supervise and edit isn’t going to be happening. The deal they were getting was just unmanageable, which is a shame.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing as a job come Nov. 2. I spent the day e-mailing back and forth with my G.G.Aunt Margaret. I’m learning a lot about my family history and it’s all very cool and strange at the same time.

Tonight was the last night of my antibiotics for my weird strep, which the doctor thinks may be the cause of my severe fatigue and dizziness. Thank God, because I’m having to really focus on keeping it down. Nothing like knowing you can’t throw up because you’ll lose your medication.

Obviously I’m still a bit bummed on the Nicholl Snafu but I’m excited that there are possibly going to be phone calls this week. I really should have busted my ass to get a new draft of Bible Con done, but who knows, I may have gotten rid of whatever made it SF material.

And their cock up (sorry, too much Gordon Ramsay) was good in the sense that I broke 200 visitors in a day by posting it. And I discovered a few new screenwriting resources because message boards linked to me and sent traffic my way. DoneDeal and Zoetrope, if anyone is curious. I’ve never been much a part of the online screenwriting community because I know so many writers in the flesh, but it could be a cool avenue.

And if I haven’t said it before, Greg Beal is a class act — he’s everywhere online apologizing, explaining, and taking people’s thoughts into consideration. I’m really impressed with him. Now, if he could get some different people working the phones…

First Day As Story Assistant; Argument with Apparently Illiterate Religious Types

I just had to sign a confidentiality agreement which says I can’t reveal the nature and details of my employment.  Does that mean I can’t tell people what I do?  Like, if I was an editor on Toddlers and Tiaras, would I have to be like, “I work on a show in some capacity, that’s all I can say.”

Weird.

I am working on a show, I won’t tell you what it is, but it is a show I absolutely adore.  So far my duty seems to be to go through the last season to find high drama/conflict clips to put together for montages in a reunion type thing.

I had a religious argument with a bunch of people who seem to lack… well, brains.  A friend of mine posts these relationship questions on her facebook page, I often respond because almost all of her friends are extremely religious southern African Americans, and I like to be a different POV.  If anyone can tell me what CN is saying, I’d love to know.  I think he’s saying that the Devil wrote the constitution…

Two major questions I have:

1. Why is having faith an acceptable reason to not look critically at your belief system?

2. Why is it OK to demand atheists be well versed in the Bible when they disagree with a theist, but not OK to demand that theists read secular philosophy to argue with an atheist?

—-

The discussion

SJ: According to the Biblical tale, woman was made from man for man. Where does this fit in our postmodern society? Is there room for submission? What is the role of the woman to the man?

CN: 2 submit and be his help mate… As in da man is da provider and protector who is supposed 2 love his wife like Christ love da church…

AFM: I think it fits in the same trash bin as things like stoning children for disobeying their parents, not wearing clothes of mixed fiber, and the belief that homosexuality is wrong. Just because a belief is old doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. The role of woman to man is the same of man to woman, mutual respect and interdependence.

BJ: All sin is wrong whether it be murder or homosexuality it’s wrong. As far as mixing of clothing it was to show distinction between God’s chosen nation and the other surrounding nations he didn’t want them mixing with other nations and engaging in their customs or worshipping theirs gods. As far as the stoning of children or anyone we ought to thank God for sending his son to remove the ordinances that were against us (Colossians 2:14). Blame Eve for the role of a woman but submission to your husband isn’t forced like it was in the days of Mr from the color purple or Ike Turner. Submission is a form of respect for your partner by allowing them to operate in their divine roles…it’s called compromise with each other and obedience to God’s word but if you are not obedient to God’s word how can you expect to compromise?

AFM:”if you are not obedient to God’s word how can you expect to compromise?” Um, by talking and discussing things and coming to reasonable conclusions. I don’t need an invisible dude threatening me to choose to do something moral. That’s just silly. As for homosexuality, how can you put that in the same boat as murder? Murder takes away someone’s life. Homosexuality doesn’t take anything away from anybody.

SeJ: Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I know where I stand…whew!

CN: Well da best way 2 put it all at da end is either U gon follow his word or U not… God gave us free will.. He gives us an option… He allows us 2 make da decision 2 love him or not… Its not complicated, but people make it dat way and try 2 use everything in their own way and outta context… God gave us dominion over da earth, which yes Eve was manipulated out of, but things didn’t change until Adam ate da forbidden fruit, because God made him da head and gave him da specific direction 2 not eat of it… It was his job 2 tell his wife not 2 and even in her disobediance he should have not eaten of it…But dats da free will.. Now thru his son which is still God(Jesus Christ) he gave us 2 new laws dats still prevelant 2 da 10 commandments, but is more in line with Grace and Mercy… Which is 2 love God and love ur neighbor as U love urself and so on and so on… Its deep but U just have 2 seek dat wisdom and knowledge and he will answer..

AFM: Genesis also has two creation stories, one of which presents men and women as being created at the same time, so the bible itself isn’t in agreement on whether women are created from men or not. The first account says male and female [God] created them (Genesis 1:27), which has been assumed by critical scholars to imply simultaneous creation, whereas the second account states that God created Eve from Adam’s rib because Adam was lonely (Genesis 2:18 ff.).

CN: U also have 2 take in consideration dat God didn’t literally write da bible tho he has all power 2 change any word in it… He had man 2 write wat was going on so therefore it may not be wrote in exactly da order we prefer.. Just as da fall of satan and da other angels.. Its not known if dat fall was during man or b4. Dats just one of those great mysteries dat won’t be discovered till dat great day of judgement… But with dat said it still doesnt mean take a part from da bible and try 2 justify da wrong. He gave us rules 2 live by 2 be prosperous and 2 C Heaven. Why, because he knew man would manipulate da world. Have u heard freedom of speech, but U can’t say a man made bad word… Right 2 bare guns, but u catch pistol cases 24/7 cuz in order 2 obtain a gun u gotta have dis and u gotta have dat. Da constitution and everything is deceived by da devil… All I can say is if u wanna find out then study as U would anything else, but in dis particular subject, belief and faith is needed.

AFM: I can’t actually read anything you’ve written Courtney, but I have read the bible and you’re right, you need a certain amount of disregarding reality and faith in the nonsensical to understand it. I really recommend Bart D. Ehrman for some really interesting and accessible biblical scholarship which examines all the inconsistencies as well as the overarching messages contained within the different books of the Bible. It’s useful I think for both the faithed and unfaithed to really understand what it is they’re professing to believe in or not, as the case may be.

BJ: The Bible is plain and simple either you serve God or not but you are going to serve. If you are not serving God then who do you serve (1 John 3:7-8)? People should really study his word before babbling off their erroneous philosophies. When I said sin is wrong, that was Bible but maybe in attempt to convey the seriousness of sin and God’s take on it maybe I should have said there’s no difference in homosexuality and liars or homosexuality and stealing…would that be more appeasing? For those who no me “the invisible guy” know that I’m really not the appeasing type so I’m taking one for the team.

BJ: The Bible isn’t in chronological order…Chronological Bibles are for sale invest in one and it will really open your understanding

AFM: @Bethel That’s nice and all, but I still don’t get how a thinking person could actually believe that someone loving another person is a bad thing. I don’t really care about God, I care about people. Your irrational hatred of homosexuals makes it clear that you put your own belief over actually taking care of the people around you, physically and emotionally. Whether it’s chronological or not, the books don’t agree with each other. They tell the same stories differently, and they don’t agree on what it all means. I’ve read the bible, I’ve read the scholarship, I know what I’m talking about, but it’s not clear that you do.

BJ: @ Ashley I’ve studied the whole Bible in its entirety I didn’t just read it I studied it. Inordinate affection of any kind is sin because it goes against the nature which God intended but since you and I aren’t on the same team this whole conversation is pointless because I love God with my whole heart and with his love I love his people but like you said you Don’t care about God just his creations which befuddles me because isn’t the creator greater than his creation? The Bible does say if this gospel be hid it is hid to those that are lost.

AFM: I have studied it, I was raised in a church, went to Sunday school, went to bible camp, went to university with a major theological school. In all these places I spent a lot of time with the bible and learned that I cared a lot more about reality than fiction. I took the time to understand what I’m talking about, why don’t you study Darwin, Hume, Bentham, Paine, and Epicurus before deriding anyone who has chosen not to believe? Or is your faith of such weak stuff that it’s all you have, anything else might break it?

BJ: My faith in God is just that strong that I chose him over any man’s vain philosophies. You don’t know me you don’t know the journey I took to become a believer of Christ so don’t make assumptions because you don’t know what i’ve studied. I know Darwin, Hume, Paine, Bentham or Epicurus can save anyone from hell’s fire. Like I said you and I are not on the same team we do not serve the same God so our conversation is pointless and starting to become a circular argument. I can tell you right now that there is nothing that you or anyone else can say in this entire world that can shake my faith in God.

AFM: Obviously I don’t know you, and you clearly don’t know me.  Everyone has individual journeys, all I’m asking is that before you dismiss my point of view offhand you allow for the fact that I did come to it from a place of learning and study, not from a place of shallow rejection.  And if you were truly trying to understand other people rather than lump them into some category of Damned, you’d be willing to look at their perspective rather than making assumptions.  Nothing I recommended for your reading would make you stop believing, it would merely allow for you to understand that there are other perspectives in life that allow people to make good, moral and just decisions, regardless of whether they’re religious or not.  But again, you show a preference for being overly protective of your faith rather than understanding of the humans that share this world with you.  If it’s that important to you to hate on gay people, fine, just don’t expect anyone to think you’re a very good person.

BJ: Don’t try to make me out to be something I’m not because I harbor no hate towards gays or anyone else I don’t care what people do with the free will that God gave them. I’m just flabbergasted that you feel that you are the only one who comes from a learned perspective and that you are the only person who have looked into different philosophies. Don‘t make ignorant assumptions of someone else’s intellect because you assume they are not as keen on a subject as you people don’t like intellectual arrogance.

AFM: You’re the one who said I needed to read the bible as though I was coming from a place of ignorance. Don’t make accusations you don’t like hearing thrown back at you, someone might accuse you of being a hypocrite.

BJ: I said study it because anybody can read it

AFM: Do you see how that’s the exact same thing you’re saying I shouldn’t do? How is it OK for you to assume that I haven’t studied the bible but not OK for me to ask you to study other points of view? You are a hypocrite and a not particularly astute one, enjoy your ignorance and misplaced vitriol.

BJ: When I said study I was talking to everyone that’s why I said people should study not Ashley and if that makes me a hypocrite Ok I’m a hypocrite….YOU HEAR THAT FACEBOOK WORLD BETHEL JOHNSON IS A DUMB HYPOCRITE.

AFM: Yeah, I’m pretty much OK with that.

Busy Weekend; Bad day for a Migraine

Friday was crazy. I got asked to write a pilot by a web producer, to write a polished first act of a feature for a manager, to edit a short, to add something to a reel, and that it’s possible that I will be promoted to Assistant Editor in January and that I will be responsible for the deliverables for the show I’m working on starting Monday. These are all good things, but suddenly my off days are very full.

I feel terrible today. I have the worst headache I’ve had in years. I missed my morning call about the trial drug I’m taking, I’m really hoping this doesn’t cost me being able to be in the trial. But seriously, my headache was so bad my eyes were watering. I took some Advil. And then I irrigated my nose. And then I took a decongestant. And then I found a bottle of Vicodin I had from a previous injury.

This stuff is magic. I still have a little bit of a headache, but I am functioning again. Albeit at a reduced capacity for coordination and thought, but still. I should say that I’m already prone to being totally dizzy and having zero coordination. Which is to say, on Vicodin, I am kind of hilarious. I’m like a tight-rope walker trying to balance who is also very talkative.

Yesterday, I met with the director of the short and got the footage. It’s a romantic comedy, the lighting looks good and there are some good performance moments in what I’ve seen. It’s 4 hours of footage to subclip and log and it took me 12 hours just to get the back up done. But, I’m hoping F will be able to take a little bit of the subclipping work off my plate. Like a subcontractor ha. I also met with the actress, showed her my rough idea for her reel and got another project from her. She seems happy, so that’s good.

I also got 12 pages of the first act for Dyke for a Day written, so I’m excited about that as well. I’m trying to finish it this week. Luckily I write fast when under pressure, so hopefully banging this and the short web pilot out won’t be too difficult. I’m just so Zombified from the headache and the vicodin that I’m not sure I’m useful.

I’ve been watching a lot of Hell’s Kitchen and Flipping Out. I must just love angry people because Jeff Lewis and Gordon Ramsey seem so adorable to me. I want little teddy bear versions of them to have walking around and yelling all the time.

I’m very concerned, having not heard from the producer, that Gold is not going to be happening this fall. I was really looking forward to being the Post Supervisor for that, but maybe there’s enough on my plate already. I’ll probably hear about the Nicholl this week.

It’s so damn hot in my apartment. I’m tempted to use my new cubicle space as my writing home. Maybe there’d be less distractions there.

Tomorrow: Doctor’s Appt at 8 AM, Starting story assistant job at 9 AM (probably will be late), and all that other stuff on my plate.

A portrait in how it is the little things that make a difference

I have been working at this company for just shy of one year.  I just got my first promotion from the depths of hell aka logging.  Logging is basically transcription.  It’s a potentially useful service, in that you have people who have seen all of the reality footage that a show shoots.  They write what happens so you can keyword search.

Theoretically, you could also go to the loggers with questions if you were looking for something, but none of the shows actually seek to do so.  This is a shame.  Of course, considering what they pay the loggers, that is above their expected skill level.

So, now that I’ve been promoted to Story Assistant, I actually get my own desk in it’s own cubicle.  I even have my own extension and a drawer in which I can leave things.  Apparently, these things are normal for people to have, but previously, I came in every day to a room with a few computers where I would be unable to leave, say, a jacket because it got cold, or a water bottle.  I had to get special permission to be able to put a lamp on the desk.  The room was so dark.  No windows, no skylights, no sign of whether it was day or night.

I switched to the Dvorak layout for my keyboard because I’ve been struggling with wrist problems, but gave it up because I had to physically bring in my own keyboard every day.  Couldn’t leave it.

I’m also now going to get information on the insurance policy that the company has.

So my own cubicle with it’s own set of drawers and a skylight may not seem like a paradise to many, but for me, it is so much better.  Today, people actually talked to me like I wasn’t a troll — they like my hair.  I may not be getting a pay raise, but I’m definitely getting better treatment.

Darn copyright laws

They’ve already taken down that The Soup/Naughty Kitchen clip apparently. I can see it because it’s mine but apparently no one else can. Boo.

http://kanyelicious.appspot.com/http://ashleyfmiller.wordpress.com

I officially have my own cubicle at work and that is very exciting. Weird working for a place for 11 months without ever having your own space. I will now be able to leave my jacket at work for when I get cold instead of lugging it to and from work every day. Huzzah.

Girlfriend’s gonna decorate!

Story Assistant

Yesterday was a strange up and down day.  My job is in a state of change, and I’m not quite sure what the outcome will be.  It seems likely that I will be promoted to Story Assistant, which would be fantastic.  That’s a sort of cross between editing and writing assistant, which is rather perfect for my interests and strengths.

At least… I think that’s what the job entails.  No one’s actually told me, and it seems like the term “Story Assistant” means whatever each show wants it to mean.  I’ve been told it means I’ll be researching the footage, I’ve been told it means I’ll be cutting story lines, and I’ve been told it’s somehow assisting the writers or the editors.  I guess in reality those lines are blurred.

But I’m excited if this is true.  Hopefully it’ll be more money, which is good because my medical bills are ridiculous, and I think it will at least mean an end to the letters that say “Oh, you’re a logger, gross, please don’t apply for work until you’ve washed the stench of that embarrassing job from your flesh.”