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11:26 pm - Thurs 12/1/05
First Week At ArcLight...and other junk

First Week At ArcLight...and other junk

A couple things have slipped by me in here, and I want to attend to them, very quickly, before moving on to the real "meat and potatoes" of the entry...

A couple weeks back, I got a rejection notice for my food stamp application (Which I completed back in September, I think); After providing them with paystubs for the previous two months, turned out I was $240 over their limit (They calculate eligibility based on your monthly "gross income", which I don't understand at all--I can't eat my "gross", if you know what I'm saying).

In other old-and-unrelated news, one night during my ArcLight training, I got a voicemail about a signing gig.

It would have been good, too--The guy was calling me about a job the next day, so the whole "rush job" element that freaked me out the first time would have been eliminated--but by the time I got the message and was able to call him back, he'd gotten someone else.

And on the last Friday I was at the bookstore, I did a regular notary job for Ching H., a very nice young lady who used to work at the bookstore (Did the notarization at the bookstore, during my dinner break, so I only charged her the $10 notarization fee).

Why am I bringing up this old, none-too-interesting news, you ask? I don't know...I guess I just need to do a better job of notating what's happening, because you don't know unless I tell you. I also wanted it known, in spite of how traumatized I was by the first signing gig, that I was up for trying again when I got the message (And speaking of that first gig, I still haven't gotten paid--Which means, at this writing, that I've made a whopping $55 from my investment in notary classes, supplies, etc.)


My first official week at the ArcLight ended on Tuesday.

I ushered one day, and did concessions the rest of the week, working about 38 hours (I was only supposed to work 36 hours--I'd misread the schedule, thinking I worked Tuesday from 3:00 to 11:00 when I was only scheduled till 9:00--but when I sheepishly approached a manager an hour after I was supposed to have clocked out, he said if I wanted to work till 11:00, I could. So I did).

At the beginning of the week, I was disappointed that I had four days of concessions and only one of ushering, but really, concessions were fine--There's a "rush" (Or a "set", as they call it), then you clean and stock, then you just kind of hang out for awhile, then you repeat the sequence a couple times throughout the day.

Nothing there I couldn't handle.

The only concession thing left that I'm not looking forward to is having to do a "closing" (It just sounds too much like actual work, I guess, too many tasks to remember --Though there's a book to refer to if you forget--and I'm afraid of screwing it up, somehow).

The ushering was fine too--You basically take people's tickets, direct them to their seats (There's assigned seating at ArcLight), stay through the previews, then check back in every so often, to make sure the sound and picture are still good--and when I have to do my "letter of intention" (Where they want you to say what areas of theater operation you're most interested in pursuing) I will probably list "usher-greeter" as one of mine--At the ArcLight, "usher-greeters" actually welcome the guests to the theater before the movie, and do a brief little spiel about turning your pagers and cellphones off and not talking and all that stuff.

Anyway, after initial jitters, I felt like the week was basically fine--I started to know some people by name, and started feeling like "I can do this...".

But of course, if it ended there, with me basically feeling good about things, that wouldn't be my life, but instead, some kind of magical Candyland existence...

On Tuesday, when I came in to work, a manager buttonholed me, and said that because there were no new movies opening at the theater this week, it would be very slow, and they would have to cut hours. But if I wanted to work at the Grove...?

(The Grove theater, part of the Pacific Theater chain, is owned by the same company that owns ArcLight.)

The truth was, I didn't want to work at the Grove: Earlier in the week, I'd heard other people bitching about having worked there (I haven't met anyone who's worked there who doesn't think it sucks, for various and sundry reasons I shant get into now).

But besides the fact that it's a shit detail, I was bummed because I've only been at the ArcLight for a week. I was just starting to feel like things were going to be okay, just starting to get to know some people by name, just experiencing the beginnings of, if not friendship, at least recognition.

And now I'd have to go somewhere else for a week, and be "The New Guy" all over again?

But what was the alternative? I didn't want to get my hours cut, and I also didn't want to come off as "Disagreeable Guy" to management this early in my stint at the new job.

So I said yes.

And I got my schedule yesterday...and I'm working a total of 29 hours and change this week at the Grove.

About six-and-a-half hours less than I was scheduled to work this past week.

Which gave me the distinct feeling of having been hoodwinked (Yes, I realized--after the fact--that that may have been less of a cut in hours than I would have experienced if I'd said no, I'd really prefer not to go to the Grove, but all I know is that I agreed to do something because they threatened to cut my hours, then I got a schedule, and my hours were cut anyway).

And beyond that unhappy feeling of having had the wool pulled over my eyes, there's just the issue of them scheduling me for under 30 hours (If you remember, I left Borders, in part, because David had knocked me down to 32 1/2 hours a week, and I couldn't live on that).

I was pretty jazzed, getting the first week's schedule, when I thought I'd gotten a full-time complement of hours back. But if they're going to schedule me for 36 hours one week, 29 the next, and maybe 10 or 15 the week after that...well, once again, I'm wondering "Okay, no insurance, no guaranteed hours--Why exactly did I quit Borders?

Well, there are the movies.

Saw Rent yesterday (Overall, I liked it quite a bit. But I honestly couldn't tell you if it was actually a good movie, or if it just made me feel nostalgic for my singing, dancing, musical-theater past).

And today was a double feature--I saw Pride and Prejudice, then Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Pride and Prejudice was--you're going to laugh at me for using this word--lovely. It really was; whether focused on Keira Knightley's amazing face or the English countryside, it was a beatiful-looking film.

And with actors like Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, and Dame Judi Dench--Her last scene with Knightley was one of my favorite in the entire movie--it was quite a bit more than just a coffee-table movie (I realized something, watching the movie, and practically swooning at the end--I really like a good romance. And I'm comfortable enough in my manhood to admit it).

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was just flat out fun. And it made me realize, once again, that I could care less what problems actors have in their personal lives, or what a pain in the ass they can be on the set--If they produce like Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer produce in this movie, I'm a happy camper.

But of what I've seen at the ArcLight so far, my two favorite movies have been Capote and Walk The Line.

After both movies, I felt a mash-up of feelings--How the movies made me feel pesonally, with the "issues" they brought up, and how they made me feel as an actor (With both movies, I left the theater thinking about my life, thinking about people and "the human condition", and just plain old thinking. And both times I thought, on my way out, "That's why I want to be an actor"--I want to give people the experience that I just had as an audience member..").

So the free movies have been great.

But I can't eat free movies.

But for now, I'm going to do this week at The Grove (I start there tomorrow), and see what they do with me the following week.

I really don't want to have to take on an additional job, whether at Borders or anywhere else.


1. I'm lazy--I don't want my life to revolve around working.

2. I'm exhausted--My ass is dragging as it is, so how the hell would I deal with working 60 or 70 hours a week?

3. I'm afraid--If I fall into having to work two or three jobs in order to have one halfway decent income, how is that not going to pull me further and further away from actually pursuing my goals out here?

And there's an element here that's hard for me to explain--The idea of taking a job, with the full and complete knowledge that I absolutely will be leaving my coworkers in the lurch on at least a semi-regular basis, and pissing off the people who hired me, is a very uncomfortable notion. I think it's because I have extremely low self-esteem regarding my abilities as a worker--Beyond basic competencies in reading and writing and the like, I'm not particularly good at anything in "the real world".

But I show up. Turns out I'm pretty good at that.

I know I probably have other skills I should give myself more credit for, but what I really feel I have to offer a job, such as it is, is that I'm very dependable.

If I don't have that then what do I have...?

My trouble? I basically don't want anyone in the world to be mad at me.

I'm so frustrated. It's not like I'm asking for the fucking world here. I just want a job that pays halfway decently, that gives me the hours I need, that I can do without a lot of muss and fuss.

I want to do my little straight job, have it pay the basics, and have enough time and energy left over to do what I'm really here to do.

Why does that seem like such a tall fucking order?

But I'm getting ahead of myself...Maybe they'll see I'm a go-to guy in the weeks ahead, and give me more hours.

Maybe the acting stuff will kick in, and I won't need more hours.

Maybe some other great opportunity will come up that I don't even know about yet.

Well, I'm drifting off here, and I told myself to try and keep these entries comparatively short-and-sweet, so I think it's time to hit the sack.

(Special note: After a conversation wtih Jane, I've bought an over-the-counter allergy medicine, cleaned up my Cpap stuff, and am going to give breathing-by-machine another chance. So wish me luck...)


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