No. 5: 😴🧚🏼🚗
The props guy says you remind him of his daughter. She’s on suicide watch again but he’ll lose this show and, you gather, their health insurance if he takes time off to be with her. His paternal affection twinkles whenever he hands you glasses filled with apple juice for whiskey or makes sure you have car keys when your scene requires fake driving.
It’s your third-ish show and you’re learning This Is the Way Things Are. 12-hour days are 16-average and you typically start work Mondays at 5am. So you wake up at 4 along with transpo, PAs, hair, makeup, catering, and others before the rest arrive at the official crew call of 7. You’ll wrap around 9 or 10pm that first weeknight. To avoid penalty pay if actors don’t get a 12-hour break before their next call time, crew call is pushed back and back until Friday’s is 2pm. You wrap at 6am Saturday morning, spend Sunday a zombie, and wake up Monday at 4 to do it all over again.
You’ll never have a job where you don’t get sick. You, young and childfree and the catered-to star, are one of the lucky ones.
One makeup artist reminds you of the green fairy in “Sleeping Beauty,” all kindness and fairness with soft-handed wisdom. She sees you cry more than your own mother and overhearing her on the phone one day, asking how her daughter’s test went, you’re keenly aware that you receive the daily nurture her daughter should be getting.
Once, you ask hair and makeup a question you don’t yet know is rude: How do you juggle parenthood and your job? The silence aches, choked with missed recitals, family dinners, and needed hugs. They can’t, you realize. You wonder how they manage to throw their kids birthday parties on weekends when you know how tired they must be, arriving before the earliest actor and staying longer than the last to offer hot, steaming face towels and head massages when bobby-pinned updos come down.
Wrap is a formality. Most crew stay long past, cleaning sets, hanging wardrobe, tidying trailers. You’ve nearly fallen asleep at the wheel driving home. One day, you’ll know an actor who does. You won’t know how many crew members do because their names don’t make headlines.