Posts in Category: Day Jobs

The Porn Review Site

For nearly two years now, I’ve done glorified volunteer work on a former college professor’s film site. It started as a pretty basic thing—he needed someone to help him post reviews once a week; in exchange for that, I got free screeners and the opportunity to have published reviews in a semi-legitimate location—but gradually I wormed my way up to a full-fledged web guru, spending a shitload of time using my limited web-design knowledge to bring the site into the 21st century.

Despite the lack of substantial payment, I’ve found the work rewarding enough to not bail. I mean, there are a lot of things I look to get out of the experience, and as long as I get a few of them, I’ll be okay for awhile.

And then The Webmaster sent me an e-mail that made my brain explode.

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Getting Shit On

For nearly a year now, I’ve been writing a weekly column about television. Similar to Zap2It’s TV Gal, but way less retarded, it’s basically an uncompromising look at the TV shows I waste my time watching. It’s not a big thing; mostly, it exists to lend enough legitimacy to myself to apply for the TCA, get in, get invited to the upfronts, then hobnob until I can get a good job and shake off the dust of this shitty review website. It’s a sound plan.

Now, I’ve mentioned this site and the occasional runinsI’ve had with the site founder, but man did he rile me up last week—and he tried again this week.

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Communication Problems

Here’s the deal: this is the first free time I’ve had since my last post. Now, I had some free time prior to that post, but not much. The combination of work and my own writing led me to abandon you, lovely readers, and then, approximately 30 seconds after I published the last post, a deluge of horrible scripts forced me to work, on average, 850 hours over the past 10 days. I have not had time to do anything that I enjoy. Okay, technically I enjoy scripts, but only when they’re good, and of the 738,243 scripts I’ve read this year, four of them have been good, and one of those was not a script I read for work.

In other words, over the past 10 days I’ve been busy exclusively with work, but over the past few months, I’ve divided my time between an increasingly busy work schedule and writing projects that I hope, someday, will lead to me getting paid. That’s the key part of the story I’m about to tell: I need money, and I’m sick of doing shit for free. You guys are lucky I need to vent, or I would have abandoned this blog two years ago.

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Comedy Bronze

Hey, remember The Webmaster? Good, because I…basically forgot about him. Per that last entry, we left off with me deciding I’d wait a week before asking him to remove all my content, plus my login/password, and then I’d post them all here. That was on May 2nd, and I haven’t posted any of that stuff here. Why? I…basically forgot. That, I guess, illustrates how much that crappy film-review site means to me in the here and now.

Thankfully, my friend Mark decided to jog my memory by e-mailing me a Craigslist posting featuring the following hi-larious “job posting,” written by The Webmaster:

[Website name redacted] is looking for interns to review films and TV shows on DVD then write reviews. There also exists opportunities to attend press screenings and perform interviews with filmmakers and celebrities via telephone or one-on-one.

This is part-time work which typically only takes up roughly three to four hours of your time per project.

This is a non-paying internship.

Anyone who tells you they can make money off the web is either lying to you or does not understand how the web works. Only a handful of sites make any real money. We have been in business online for 13 years and have yet to make a profit. We do this because we love what we do, and you should, too.

If you’re interested, send writing sample and level of interest. Be honest; if you cannot meet deadlines then you probably should not try this – deadlines are a part of any writing job.

Bitter? Nah…

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Windows: A Fucking Disaster

Does anyone know anything about Windows? Every time I try to learn, it seems that I lose all sense of sanity and logic. It’s an operating system that reminds me of the following dull anecdote from my community theatre days:

A couple of techies attempted to build a doorframe. The end result resembled something out of a German expressionist film. You guys know what a doorframe looks like, right? It’s pretty much a rectangle, all right angles and straightness. This was a sort of indescribable rhomboid disaster that did not, in any way, resemble a frame on which one hangs a door.

The director, stage manager, and master carpenter did the sort of simultaneous double-take generally found in a teen sex-comedy after a super-hot chick walks by in a wet bikini. Only it wasn’t the thrill of arousal they felt. It was the confusion and mild amusement of something that could only be created by someone making minimum wage at a part-time job.

Instead of trying to explain how, exactly, they fucked this up or why they felt they could present this doorframe instead of just pulling the nails out and starting over, the two techies attempted to sell the director on this particular doorframe. Because, you see, the play was a comedy, and comedies are always wacky and full of odd set designs and strange artistic flourishes, right? Right? Right?!! It would’ve been all well and good except for the part where, in order to fit with the doorframe, a custom door with no right angles would have had to be fabricated, which cost money and time and made no fucking sense. Also, it probably wouldn’t have opened or closed properly.

For those not clever enough to comprehend this analogy, Microsoft are the techies, and Windows is that fucking doorframe. Common sense doesn’t apply, and in order to wrangle that operating system into something remotely usable, one has to fabricate an insane door for it.

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Scaling Back

It’s probably not a coincidence that the uptick in panic attacks coincided with launching the site. I’d had my doubts from the beginning—starting with the fact that I came up with the idea for it in a Vicodin haze while I recovered from wrist surgery—but I kept pushing ahead, in part because I tailored the site’s concept to my own personal quirks. Mainly, though, I had Mark pushing it along. Every time I had doubts, he’d convince me to go for it. Look, Mark’s been a good friend for a long time, but I’ve recently started doubting his motives. I can’t help wondering if he pushed me solely because I had the technical knowledge he lacked. All along, even though I invested a portion of myself in the site, he’s been the one pushing for it.

Things got really bad when we opened it up to outsiders, though. We posted ads on Craigslist and in the Chicago Reader, looking for writers. We spelled it out, in detail, so as not to mislead anyone into thinking they’d be paid when they wouldn’t or that they were signing on to something that might suck. We got a handful of responses, but we only wanted a small staff to begin with. Of the respondents, we ended up with two great, reliable writers; one great, unreliable writer; and one sort of mediocre but enthusiastic writer (she’s the one I wrote about here).

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8 Questions to Find Your Day Job

Lookin’ for work, if I can get it
If you put me on, you won’t regret it
And no one here knows more than me what debt is…
— Ike Reilly, “Good Work”

After last week’s longplaying bluster, I’ve decided to kick it into a lower gear and work on a post idea I’ve had for awhile. The content will be geared to a certain type of artistic type, so feel free to ignore this if you don’t fit the paradigm (or don’t think you ever will). The type: you graduated from college with a semi-useless degree (or two or three), you had a five- and/or ten-year plan for success, and you’re nearing (or past) the end of that timeframe with little to show for it. Maybe you have a menial retail or food-service job with the flexibility to keep your options open. Maybe you have a full-time job in the belly of the beast, hoping it will give you the respect (or, at least, the connections) to take that next step, but your job keeps you so busy, you have very little time to devote to your “real” work. This is especially for those in positions like these who are unhappy but can’t quite figure out what to do to change that.

This isn’t a post about giving up on your passion. I certainly haven’t given up on mine, and I’ve reached that age where I start to get funny looks from friends and loved ones for eschewing marriage, kids, and a two-bedroom ranch in favor of pursuing my goals.

What this is about is reshaping the daily grind into something a little less grueling, a little more fulfilling, and a lot more manageable. Because, if you haven’t faced these facts already, now’s the time: you need money in order to survive, whether you like it or not; in order to get money, you need a job (no, really—even in the benevolent Utopia Obama is creating, you still need a job to get money); most jobs, even good jobs, suck if they have nothing to do with your personal goals; and worse than that, jobs that do have to do with your personal goals tend to suck when there’s no forward momentum.

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