I got a call from LaserFiche document imaging in Torrance, California. Torrance is NOT Hollywood. Document Imaging does NOT deal with celebs. Document imaging is like being a parking lot attendant, but for college graduates. I interviewed with them and got the job. And all this before I even started my gig at NBC. I told them I had a commitment with another company and that I couldn't start for four weeks. They nearly retracted the offer, but said okay, as long as I promised to not bail on them.
I kept my word. SUCK!
I did my two week temp job--dream job--at NBC and then the dream ended and I became a drone of the corporate world once again. This time only a few miles from the world's dream factories. It was practically torture being so close, yet still feeling a million miles away from what I wanted to be doing.
LaserFiche, or LaserHell as we liked to call it was...well...you get the picture right from the nickname. This should sum it up:
President - woman (I mean nothing derogatory by this, just stating a fact)
Vice President #1 - her husband (who has/had a brain tumor and mostly just monitored employee email accounts)
Vice President #2 - her ex-husband; office right next to VP #1 and they didn't get along.)
Marketing Manager - son of President and VP #2
Lead Software Developer - also son of President and VP #2
Financial Controllers - auntie and uncle of President
and the list goes on.
Everyday was a new nepotistic connection that I learned about. It was a weird company and did nothing for my career except bump up my pay grade. I was there for a year and a half and then got a job at an ad agency on the business side. Pay raise, great office, nice company, great bosses, no nepotism, sucky number crunching duties. I was there for five years and learned a lot about marketing, advertising, etc. I worked on great clients like Cirque du Soleil, Macerich, Fox Television, etc. Finally a step in the right direction, but still not close enough.
Now here's the thing, and kind of the beginning of my point of this whole blog. From an outsiders perspective, I'd kind of made it. Window office with ocean view in Southern California at a cool ad agency working on some world renowned clients in the entertainment industry. So why did I still feel like an outsider?
One of my clients was Macerich. They own 100+ shopping centers across the US. I did the advertising for a couple dozen of them...one being Pacific View Mall in Ventura, CA. Occasionally they'd need video for a commercial, or to shoot an event and I'd been referring her to my wedding videographer friend from San Diego. For one particular event--a lemon festival-- he wasn't available.
And here comes the lie...
So I told my client, "Jeff isn't available to shoot Lemon Fest. However, I have an amazing camera that shoots 24P so it'll look like it's shot of film, but will be video and you'll absolutely love the footage I'll give you. And it's $1000 for me to come shoot it."
She said, "Okay, sounds great."
So I went and bought the camera. I spent around $6K getting started up. Money I didn't really have, but I figured, if I did that five more times, it'd be paid for. Fortunately that shoot was on a Saturday since I was still at the ad agency and had to work Monday-Friday.
After buying the camera, I called my friend Larry Bagby, who had been on Buffy and a number of other TV shows and movies. And I asked him if he wanted to make a film short so I could learn how to use my camera before the LemonFest shoot. He graciously agreed and we made a little movie. You can see it here...
I actually worked with a couple of great people on that little film, Larry Bagby and Courtney Cole. Both of them, to me, were huge Hollywood insiders that had both worked on successful Hollywood films and now I had them in my first movie! I felt like I was heading in the right direction, but by no means had breached that impenetrable Hollywood caste system.
While I was at my agency job, I went to lunch with the publisher of a local magazine. I don't even remember what it was, but I think it was one of those LA hotel pubs of some sort. She was 45 minutes late and then threw a mild fit that the Italian restaurant we went to didn't have Worcester sauce. It was indeed a strange lunch and I left a little ticked, but still was as nice as could be to her.
She quit and started her own production company producing events.
I finally quit and stated my own production company doing video. And then I got another life changing call, this time to join the Hollywood ranks and shoot a Hollywood Event. A real Hollywood Shoot, complete with real D-List celebrities who were on real shows on the UPN!!