Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Cake Job in a Pie Town

After several months of vacationing in the big city of unemployment, a free ticket to full time employment was greatly appreciated. Included in the price of the fare was a much needed health care package and very good hours. You don't get much better than that working in the industry. And like most good things it came to an end. Truly, working as an Associate Producer on House Hunters was indeed but a blessing financially—yes, you do hear a "but" coming—but, it didn't do anything for me creatively. Associate producing at Pie Town was different than I what I was used to. Coming from 5 years of AP experience at a PBS affiliate in NC, I assumed the position required more creatively and technically. What I got instead was a year and a half of paper-pushing and wardrobe purchasing for the show host. That's not to say, there wasn't opportunity to do more—there was—but the motivation just was not there.

Yet, as I reflect on my employment at Pie Town, I realize that I do have some things to thank House Hunters for in addition to the stable paycheck. I probably would have never met Suzanne Whang, the show's host, if I hadn't been employed as the AP. Suzanne is one of the coolest people I've met in LaLa land. She's extremely smart and funny as hell. Truly, she's a strong yellow woman who's more than what meets the eye. Secondly, while working on House Hunters I came to realize that writing may have been my true calling. It began with doing cute staff meeting reminders. Really, how many ways can you creatively say there's a staff meeting at the same time in the same place every week? Actually, a lot of them. So, I did so just out of sheer boredom with the task. Some were funny, others informative, and a few were probably a bit "much" for an office setting, but the staff seemed to like them. Some people even saved them. I came to find out much later than some of my co-workers even saved them.

Fast-forward a year. After several months of cute staff emails, a supervising producer asked me to use the same skills to write a script for the show. I was hesitant at first, but eventually gave it a try. All I had to do was write one act to see if I had the skill. I passed, but what House Hunters considered writing was and still is—in my opinion—story editing to me. Writing for the show required logging hours of tapes and creating what is called a paper cut or paper edit. Technically it's a list of edits points from the field tapes that editor uses to cut the show. Logging is a necessary part of the process that I truly detest. And logging up to 20 tapes per show, just was not anything I was willing to do with a standard VCR and remote, even for the extra check. So I never got a writer's credit for the show, but soon other writing opportunities came my way. My immediate supervisor, asked me to assist in writing episode descriptions and pitches for the network. Okay, it wasn't Pulitzer Prize winning opportunity, but the descriptions did say more than "couple needs more room, see couple buy new house, or which one will they choose?" He, also a writer, liked the fact that I added my own voice to them and so asked me to write more. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to d so—not necessarily episode descriptions and show pitches—but, about things I really cared about or had a strong opinion about.

Movie and television reviews became my new self-imposed creative writing assignment. They received good feedback too. So when more and more people began telling me I should write after reading something I had done, I had to start thinking of truly exploring it. Thus, this blog/website was born. Truthfully, if it hadn't been for my writing experiences at House Hunters, I probably would not have begun this creative endeavor. So now I'm back where I started, in the over populated city of unemployment. But this time I not worried about how soon I'll ge to leave. This extended vacation will be used to explore a whole new side of myself. And hopefully, what I find will be someone confident of her herself and her budding talents.

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