April 10, 2009

Pride In Small Accomplishments

I kind of disappeared for a while there, didn't I? Oops.

Don't despair, for I have not yet given up on blogging. I'm still alive, looking for work, and killing way too many centipedes for comfort (the annoying little bastards are going to ruin both my carpet and my shoes if I keep having to step on them), but I haven't felt like writing too much lately. Hopefully, that will change if and when my life becomes interesting again.

Speaking of life being interesting, you probably remember that I did an internship at an unnamed TV/film production company last summer. In the course of my job search activities, I stumbled upon proof that some of my work actually made it to TV.

I'm still not going to directly reveal where I interned (although it probably won't be much of a mystery after this), but since I'm not there anymore, I figure it's at least safe to reveal that one of the projects I worked on was a show for the Do-It-Yourself Network called Project Xtreme.

To refresh your memory and let new readers (hey, stop laughing!) in on what I'm talking about, here's an excerpt from a post I wrote on my second day of work:

Basically, my job was to surf the Internet and find interesting tidbits of information on various topics so E can insert them into a TV show the studio is producing. Once again, I can't go into specifics, unfortunately.

Also, I...oh, wait, that was all I did today. Five hours of research. Wooo. I guess it's better than sweeping up the floors.

Since I can go into specifics now, that show was, as you may have guessed, Project Xtreme. Some of the little factoids I spent an entire day Googling actually ended up in the show. If you want to see a few, go here and watch "New York Electric Power" or "Empire State Building." When the little boxes pop up in the corner, most of the facts in them are based on my research (I'm pretty sure some are even in the exact words I used).

I realize you may not have the time, so I screencapped a couple:



Yes, I did, in fact, spend a decent amount of time researching the history of the squeegee. Unpaid and uncredited.

Anyway, I just thought it was kind of cool that something I did was potentially viewed by so many people. I don't know what kind of following this show actually has, but it was on TV, so...yeah. Hooray for effort.

On an unrelated note...


That is all.

Posted by CD at 06:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 08, 2008

That Was Fast

Well, the internship is over. I'm heading back to Pittsburgh tomorrow. Wow.

Of course, the difference between this and every other time I've headed home is that I'm planning to come right back as soon as I find an apartment. I've got better connections and experience now, so I may actually be able to find a real job sometime this year.

Also, I know I kind of slacked off on the stories, but I can still share some interesting memories once I'm home.

In the meantime, just to give you an idea of what the past six weeks have been like, my resume now includes all the following experiences (my thoughts in italics):

• Transcribed several hours’ worth of interviews [The main reason I haven't blogged more]
• Performed research for various projects [Google is my friend]
• Located and organized several hundred digital photos/images for use in a documentary [Google Image Search is my friend]
• Logged and captured footage using Final Cut Pro [I was the only intern who already knew how to do this]
• Converted DV files from PAL to NTSC [If you understand all three of those abbreviations, you could probably do this one too]
• Ripped and burned DVDs [I don't even know if we had the rights to do this]
• Performed script coverage [I never actually finished this because the guy who gave me the script went to work on another project and still hasn't come back]
• Assisted in transporting and setting up equipment for shoots [Fun with FYF and Frenchy]

And that's just the stuff that's worth mentioning to potential employers. It doesn't even go into all the time I spent sweeping floors, rearranging closets and shelves, buying food for people, etc.

Anyway, more details to come later. Also, I saw a huge rat in the subway station yesterday, and I can't think of a better way to work that fact into a post than this.

So, a little while ago, I thought I smelled smoke, and it was gradually getting stronger. My two remaining roommates (the one I was actually sharing a room with has been gone for a week) and the one guy's girlfriend just left, so I went to the common room to investigate. Here's what I found:



At least open some fucking windows before you smoke cigars in the fucking apartment, you fucking inconsiderate shitbags.

I'm kind of glad I'm moving out in 12 hours.

Also, as long as I'm taking pictures of my roommates' stuff, here is some of their alcohol (or at least the evidence of its consumption):



Posted by CD at 08:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2008

You Mean I Have to Do Work at Work? You Monsters!

I'd like to write a big, detailed post about the last couple weeks of my internship, since I kind of stopped updating for a while, but I spent the entire day transcribing an interview (which took about 17 single-spaced pages) and don't particularly feel like typing a whole lot more for the next few hours. I will write something soon, though.

I think.


Posted by CD at 10:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 03, 2008

Day 3: "Thanks, Buddy"

This post is a little later than the usual daily post because I basically passed out at my desk a little while after I got home.

Let me begin by saying...



Let's go through another exciting day of internship.

Once again, awkwardness took center stage for much of the day, starting with my not being aware of how to get into the building where I work for the third day in a row. As I finally know now, you show your pass to the security guard, he unlocks the turnstile, and then you go through to the elevators.

Where was I when this information was being given out, and why didn't I pick it up on Tuesday or Wednesday?

Actually, if I can go on a tangent for a second, I've had several embarrassing moments involving doors this week. Of course, there's the aforementioned security guard thing, and the fact that I got locked out of my suite twice last weekend. In addition, I wanted to talk to E the other day, but when I pushed on the door, it didn't move, so I figured it was locked and knocked. She proceeded to slide it open from the side.


There's also the fact that I got locked out of my company's office for about half an hour this morning and had to wander around the building until someone came by.

But getting away from that...

The first couple hours of the day consisted of me sitting on a couch in the office and reading the news on my cell phone while I waited for someone to give me some sort of a job. Good times. I actually ended up taking a lunch break before there was even anything to take a break from. The afternoon, however, was another story...

You see, the office is being rearranged a bit, and a ton of stuff had to be moved around today. Naturally, the higher-ups like CO1 and DP have more important things to do, so they're relying on the interns whenever possible. The problem is that I2 weighs about 80 pounds, so anything that required physical exertion was pretty much my responsibility.

The following is a list of things I lifted and/or moved this afternoon:

- Hard drives
- TV Monitors
- Computer monitors
- Disk drives
- Film canisters
- Books
- DV tapes
- Computer speakers
- Desks
- A box of video game consoles and accessories
- A fax machine
- Printers
- A drill
- Empty cardboard boxes
- A bed

Let me elaborate on that last one. CO1 lives near the office and needed a bed moved a little because he's having company over or something, so he actually brought me and DP over to his apartment after work to help him out. I also had to carry the aforementioned box of video game stuff all the way out there.

I can't believe I'm not getting paid for this.*

My other major task today was making copies of a bunch of documents. This eventually led to...

Wait for it...

...An awkward moment! WOOOOOOO!

The copier had two methods of copying: The normal "lay the paper down on a pane of glass" version, and a fax machine type option where the paper goes through and a copy comes out the side. Of course, I only knew about the second one until I was shown how to open up the top of the machine after I tried to feed a folded, multi-page document through it.

I hate living with the feeling that everyone around me secretly thinks I'm retarded and is only being nice to me because they feel sorry for me.

Now, let's talk about idiosyncrasies. As a writer, one thing I consider myself pretty good at doing is noticing certain phrases that people repeat, whether they realize it or not.

Almost everyone has their own go-to word/phrase, and especially in recent months, I seem to have developed a talent for focusing on them. For example, mine is "seriously." I use it on the blog, I use it in real life, and I use it way more than I should. I've also recently become fond of the phrase "or some shit." It's very versatile.

The classic example of this tendency is Quentin Tarantino and his stupefying overuse of "okay" and "all right." David Blaine is another great example: "Watch. Watch. Look. Look."

You see this tendency a lot in sports, since athletes give so many interviews. For example, Ty Conklin, backup goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins Detroit Red Wings, says "certainly" all the time. Marian Hossa, right winger for the Penguins fuck free agency fuck Ritch Winter Red Wings, constantly says "to tell you the truth" (which, thanks to his accent, sounds like "t'tell you de troo"). And, as the fine folks at WDVE have pointed out, Mario Lemieux is a fan of "obviously" and "especially."

Another example: I remember watching a show on MSNBC a while back where some Middle-Eastern diplomat was being interviewed, and he used the phrase "as a matter of fact" in just about every sentence. The host even referenced something the diplomat had said and displayed the quote on the screen, and it included "as a matter of fact." Kind of funny.

Even in literature, this can happen. I read a lot of Nelson DeMille books in the last year, and I noticed that, especially in his earlier works, characters who observe someone or something always "regard [him/her/it] a moment." It got to the point where I had to stop reading and put the book down for a second every time I came across that phrase because it made every narrator sound the same.

Everyone has a go-to word/phrase. Today, I found out that CO1's is the phrase that I used for this post's title. I must have heard that three dozen times today. Late in the day, for example, he gave me a script to read, but I never got past the first page...

CD: (sits down to read script)
CO1: Hey, before you get too far into that, could you do me a favor?
CD: Sure.
CO1: Could you [insert request here]?
CD: No problem.
CO1: Thanks, buddy.
CD: (does the requested task, goes to sit down again)
CO1: Actually, could you do me another favor?
CD: Sure.
CO1: Thanks, buddy.

Repeat ad nauseum until 4:30.

After a while, I wanted to answer with "no problem, chief," but I also want to finish this internship at the time it's scheduled to end, so...yeah.

That was a really long explanation of something that could've been boiled down to "this guy says this thing a lot" or some shit.


*NOTE: I do not dislike this internship; I am simply trying to make light of the less interesting parts of it. Thank you.*

Posted by CD at 10:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 02, 2008

Day 2: Fact-Finding Mission

Let me start by saying that certain readers who are fans of a certain Western Conference NHL team should keep their thoughts on the signing of a certain Slovakian sniper to themselves.


Not a whole lot to write about today. The only people around were me, PC, E, CO1, and another intern ("I2") who I didn't even get to properly meet until the end of the day.

Incidentally, as should be expected by now, that meeting led to a slightly awkward moment. I started up a conversation with her while we were waiting for an elevator, and the door opened a few seconds later, revealing that a couple other people were already inside. I guess we both decided that it would be bad elevator etiquette to keep talking in the presence of others or something, because we just kind of stared forward silently until we got to the ground floor, then finished the conversation when the doors opened.

I'm really starting to think that if I look up "awkward" in the dictionary, the illustration will be a picture of me trying to have a normal conversation.

On a somewhat related note, I'm getting tired of having to explain to people why I have a college degree, yet I'm taking an internship for a university program. You have to start somewhere.

I seem to have gone off on a tangent. Let's get back to my duties for today.

Basically, my job was to surf the Internet and find interesting tidbits of information on various topics so E can insert them into a TV show the studio is producing. Once again, I can't go into specifics, unfortunately.

Also, I...oh, wait, that was all I did today. Five hours of research. Wooo. I guess it's better than sweeping up the floors.

The most interesting part of the day, honestly, was when I got lost attempting to walk home. I got out of the subway station and went in the direction that I thought led back to my dorm, but it turns out that I went the opposite direction and ended up walking in circles for about 20 minutes attempting to find a street I recognized.

Fun stuff.

Also, if I may vent for a second about something that came to mind during this period of wandering: Fuck cigarettes, and fuck the assholes who insist on smoking them in public. Seriously. If I ran up to a smoker and poked him in the eye, he'd get pissed off. And yet, smokers can expel hot ash into the air, some of which landed directly in my eyes, and it's their "right" to do so.

Fuck. You. Eat a fucking shotgun; It's a quicker, less painful method of suicide.

I think I need to take a break.

Posted by CD at 06:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 01, 2008

The Intern Chronicles: Day 1

I don't know if I'm going to continue using that title (maybe I'll just make it a category), but it sounds pretty cool for now, right?


Anyway, I just had the most interesting day in a long time. As has been the norm lately, let's go through the day.

My morning started around 8 when I got out of bed feeling extremely shitty. Luckily, I felt better as I woke up, so...possible crisis averted. I actually managed to leave the building around 9, giving myself an hour to make a trip that was projected to take around 35 minutes.

The first step of the journey was to locate the subway station and find the proper train to take me close to my destination. This was surprisingly uneventful, and I managed to locate the right train and get out at the proper stop.

The subway provided another example of the focused nature of New York. The car was packed, and yet, it was almost silent. Another thought: In some way, I think the fact that everyone stumbles for a second if they're standing up when the subway starts to move, regardless of their social status or place in life, brings us all together.

Does that even make sense?

Due to the number of long posts lately, I'm going to continue in the extended entry. Read on if you want to join me for a day of slightly awkward confusion.

The first real adventure of the day happened when I realized that I didn't know the exact location of my internship site when I got within a block of it. I think I wandered around for about ten minutes before locating it, but I still managed to get inside and get to the main office by 10:00.

Bored yet? Read on.

Before I start, let's establish a standard for these posts. As I said earlier, I'm not going to reveal where I'm working, and I also don't want to give away too many specifics, since some astute reader with too much free time could probably start putting facts together and find out where I am. I'd rather not take that risk.

Therefore, I'm going to be giving code names to everyone I deal with. Frankly, this will probably be more confusing for me than it is for you readers, since I'll have to remember which name corresponds to which person, while you'll just have to remember the names I give you.

Now that that's cleared up...

The first person I met was the production coordinator ("PC" from now on), who is also acting as my supervisor for this internship. The main project going on right now is a documentary (again, that's as specific as I'm going to get for now), and I was immediately informed that I was going to join a crew going out to shoot an interview.

The term "crash course" was invented with this type of situation in mind.

So, I went back outside, and after introducing me to the director of photography ("DP") and the co-owner of the company ("CO1"), PC gave me the key to the van and told me to wait in there while they went back in the building and finalized the arrangements.

So, I waited...and waited...and waited...and waited...and waited...for about half an hour in this fucking van with no idea what was going on. It was about 90 degrees outside today, and it was sunny, so you can imagine my discomfort. I tried to deal with this by drinking from a 1 pint bottle of water that I had gotten inside, but this wasn't exactly fun.

Finally, after I got out of the van and stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes, PC came back and told me that they couldn't get permission to shoot at the planned location, so they were doing the interview in the building.


So, we went back inside and proceeded to a big room with a bunch of dirt and props of some sort on the floor. It looked like the backstage area of a high school auditorium. And, according to to PC and CO1, it was all garbage.

Let's pause to summarize. My first duty as an intern was to guard a hot van for half an hour. My second duty was...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...


...Cleaning up all the stuff on the floor!


Of course, I expected it would be something like this, so don't take my sarcasm as a sign that I was really pissed off. I just think it's kind of a funny scenario.

Anyway, I spent the next few minutes wandering around the room with a pushbroom and dustpan and sweeping up dust, pins, and beads that were scattered all over the place.

Around this time, I met a rather interesting character. He's a camera operator or something (I think he does other stuff too), and I will refer to him as "FYF."

By the way, I'm capitalizing that for consistency, but in my head, I've been pronouncing it as "Fiff." You can do the same if you want.

You may be wondering where this name comes from. Basically, he's a friendly guy, but it's kind of a "fuck you" friendly. FYF.

Don't you wish you were as creative as me?

FYF is the kind of guy who will ask you a question about yourself, then make fun of your answer regardless of what you say. He also responds sarcastically to just about everything. At the same time, he's not really a dick or anything. Just..."'fuck you' friendly." I'm sure everyone has met someone like this.

For example, at one point, I realized I didn't know his name, so I said something like, "by the way, I don't think I got your name yet."

His response (not verbatim): "Yeah, because I didn't give it to you. Where would you have gotten my name if I didn't give it to you?"

It sounds really rude, but he was kind of laughing/smiling as he said it. On the other side of things, he told me where to find the editing room when I mentioned that I was interested in post-production, and he asked me to pitch (for you non-industry types, "pitch" means "describe in a way that makes the listener want to produce it") the three scripts I've written. People like that are hard to read.

Anyway, after I had finished sweeping and headed to the bathroom to deal with the consequences of the pint of water I drank while sitting in the van, I returned to find that I was walking into the middle of an interview.

Have I mentioned my tendency to create awkward situations lately?

Luckily, they just kept going, and FYF had me monitor the sound so he could focus on framing the shot.

I really, really wish I could go into detail about what the interviewee talked about, because it was one of the more interesting things I've heard recently, but again, I'm leaving out those kinds of things. Let's just say that he's acting as something of an iconoclastic music historian for this film.

Shit, even that seems like too much info, but I'll take my chances...this time.

After the interview, there was some downtime, and I decided to try and find some food. After another awkward situation involving walking into a place I wasn't supposed to be, I learned that there was a cafeteria downstairs. When I went back to the interview room to get some money, FYF informed me that it would really help if I came back there to watch the equipment so he could take a break.

Are you seeing a pattern in my duties here?

I got some food and came back up, and FYF had me sit in front of the camera while I ate so he could adjust the shot. Another exchange that took place during this time:

FYF: What'd you get me for lunch?
CD (somewhat sarcastic): Uhh...a bag of air.
FYF (dripping with sarcasm): Oooooooh, you're funny.

I genuinely can't tell if this guy likes me or hates me.

The rest of the day consisted of wandering around waiting for the next interview to start. Eventually, it became clear that I was going to have to leave before the interview, since I still had some business to take care of on campus. I did meet the editor ("E") and have a brief conversation with another employee who admits that even he isn't sure what his job title is. Because of this, his name will be "WTF."

This code name thing is going to get really annoying.

Anyway, I managed to once again find my way to the subway (after going the wrong way for about four blocks) and make it to campus and, subsequently, my room.

I'm in a really weird mental zone right now. On one hand, if you read that description of my day, it probably seems like it sucked. However, I'm in the best mood I've been in for a long time, and on the way home, I actually found myself smiling for no particular reason.

I think you'd have to know me in real life to understand how utterly bizarre that is.

In any case, I hope this is a sign that I'm on the right track, and the next few days will probably be better now that I've figured out my basic position within this production.

Incidentally, don't expect every post about the internship to be this long. I just had to establish the setting and characters so I can focus only on the interesting parts from now on.

I am a writer, after all.

I'll end the post with an observation from the past few days: Authority figures (even people whose job is to sit behind a desk and stamp forms) who obviously speak English as a second language or have some sort of heavy foreign accent tend to get pissed off at me much faster when I don't know exactly what I'm doing than native, American-English speakers. I'm not sure if this is a failure on my part or theirs, but it's kind of interesting.

I'm out of things to say.

Posted by CD at 06:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack