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#59774 - 06/27/04 12:30 PM So... what do you do?
amateur
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/25/01
Posts: 587

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We have a really diverse group here and I'm curious about what you all do for a living. Tell us all about your job! [Unless what you do is classified. We don't want your government coming for you in the night. ;\) ] I'm actually surprised there isn't a thread like this, so apologies in advance if it's in another forum and I've missed it.

I'm a freelance script reader, which means I get paid to read bad screenplays and write critiques of them. My contact person at the studio or production company calls me when they have scripts for me to read, then they messenger them over [studio] or I pick them up [production company]. I usually have two or three days to read the assigned scripts and write coverage on them, which I then e-mail to my contact. Coverage varies slightly from company to company, but almost always includes a two-page synopsis of the story, a page of comments, and a brief analysis of the script's commercial potential.

There's an urban legend that readers only read the first ten and last ten pages of scripts and use those to make their judgments, but nothing could be farther from the truth. No matter how excruciatingly bad the work is, you have to read the entire thing. It's best to write the synopsis as you go so you don't have to read the script twice -- something I learned the hard way on my first assignment, when I had to read a seriously awful script twice. The comment section is fun because that's where you utilize your critical-thinking skills and explain exactly why something does or doesn't work, and whether it would make a good movie or not. You can also make smart-ass remarks or little asides, because the comments are addressed to the company's Story Editor and the author is most likely not going to see them.

My favorite part of coverage is the "Commercial Potential" section [which often overlaps with the comments], because I get to sound like a Big Hollywood Player. "This would only work if major A-List talent was attached, and that would drive the budget up too far to recoup our investment." It's kind of scary, though, that I can write that kind of thing and somebody will actually listen to me.
_________________________
"Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness
has genius, power, and magic in it." -- Goethe

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#59775 - 06/27/04 02:05 PM Re: So... what do you do?
dazey
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 941
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland

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Oh, amateur, that sounds like a seriously excellent job!

I'm a community involvement worker (now there's a made-up job title - in fact, I made it up myself!) for a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender (LGBT) rights organisation. My organisation, which is an independent voluntary org which also does campaigning and lobbying, is funded by the Scottish Executive (devolved government of Scotland) to run a project getting LGBT people's voices heard in making law and policy. My job is to run events and processes to find out people's opinions, basically. I organise conferences and meetings, run web surveys, organise teams of people to do surveys at Pride and other events, send out email and paper newsletters, arrange for people to meet up with politicians and civil servants, go and talk to community groups, and generally communicate with anyone who feels they've got anything to say. I've been doing it for almost two years, half-time. Though we just got funding for my post to go full-time, I'm staying part-time and getting a job-share partner, so I can stay with my PhD studies (or, well, we'll see how well that plan survives having a baby. Perhaps a bit ambitious).

Sometimes it's a nightmare - when I've spent weeks organising a meeting and hardly anyone shows up; when people almost come to blows over some obscure aspect of policy; when one of our more interesting regulars phones up at five to five in the afternoon and spends half an hour telling me again the story of their life. But sometimes it's the most wonderful job I can imagine having - when I found out that arranging for one young guy to take part in a series of meetings with civil servants about some new legislation had really changed his life, that was brilliant. And I really, really do believe in the principle that people should be closely involved with the processes of government - I know, because I've helped it happen, that it makes for better law and policy. Sometimes we get sold down the river by the politicians, and that sucks, but sometimes we make a real, positive difference, and that does, just about, make it worthwhile.

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#59776 - 06/28/04 04:43 AM Re: So... what do you do?
blueberry
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 187
Loc: Jhb, RSA

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i have the dullest job ever \:\( ... reading this thread as people add to it is going to make me so jealous.
i'm sort of a lawyer, but not quite. actually, i am a lawyer...i'm just not an attorney yet. i'm serving my articles (5 months down, 13 to go), which means i'm slave labour until i qualify. i can quite literally spend the entire day photocopying... sigh. i get the worst jobs. if i'd known that my 5 years at varsity meant nothing (i still have to go to night classes and write exams next year), i probably would have chosen a different course.
but, i'm not sticking with this forever. when my 18 months are up (law society rules prohibit me doing any other work until i've been admitted), i'm determined to have at least one full-length work of fiction ready so i can start the process of trying to get published, i'll start proper work on launching a magazine (i have two extremely exciting concepts), and some friends and i can register our consultancy business.
ambition, ambition. but i'm young...i should be ambitious. \:D
_________________________
"...I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

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#59777 - 06/28/04 06:11 AM Re: So... what do you do?
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

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I feel like I'm coming out of the closet.

I am an Army officer. My career field in the Army is personnel so, when working in that field, I mostly do administrative stuff (all kinds of paperwork) and make personnel assignments. I really love doing personnel assignments because I find it challenging to match the right person with the right skills to the right job and to monitor career progression as well as try to make people happy or at least satisfied.

At the moment though, I am working outside my career field as an English instructor at West Point, so I'm a lot like any other college professor without tenure, though I think I might have a larger teaching load than the norm. I really enjoy teaching and West Point is rather idyllic in that respect because I don't have rowdy students, they do what I tell them, and most of these kids are really smart and want to be there.

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#59778 - 06/28/04 08:01 AM Re: So... what do you do?
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

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 Quote:
I really love doing personnel assignments because I find it challenging to match the right person with the right skills to the right job and to monitor career progression as well as try to make people happy or at least satisfied.
I could have used personnel officers like you when I was in the Air Force, naomism! In my experience, the assignment process went something like, "She's got the right AFSC [career code], she's breathing, and she's single, so we can do whatever we want to her without a spouse complaining. Send her now!"

I spent just over 13 years in the Air Force, and was shown the door 10 years ago during the huge reduction in force in the early 90s. Since then, I've been working in administrative jobs, trying to do as much writing and editing as possible. For the past couple of years, I've been the editor for a supercomputing center at a major research university. The best thing about the job is I get to work on articles dealing with high-powered research in a huge variety of fields. We have researchers doing esoteric physics and computational chemistry, some doing cutting-edge medical research, and some doing practical things like figuring out how to build long-lasting roads in extreme climates.

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#59779 - 06/28/04 03:03 PM Re: So... what do you do?
Doppelganger
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 203
Loc: Vancouver, BC

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I'm a TV producer. More specifically, I'm the editorial producer for a CBC (that's the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, kind of the Canadian equivalent of the BBC) TV/web project called ZeD .

In a nutshell, ZeD uses TV and the web to find and broadcast the best emerging short films, videos, animation, visual art, performance, and music in Canada and around the world. Our website is kind of an online cattle call, as a repository for about 30,000 (and counting) different submissions that have been uploaded by our members (membership is free). We screen absolutely everything and select the best for TV broadcast, but anyone can go to the site and view every single submission online. During the regular TV season (October to April) we're on every weeknight at 11:30 pm, across the country. That's over 100 episodes (commercial-free! whee!) per season, which is a LOT.

I love my job. It's completely un-corporate (I've paid my dues in that arena, thankyouverymuch), and I get to help give all kinds of young and emerging artists a voice and an opportunity to reach a huge audience. We're entering our third season this fall, and so far we've broadcast over 3000 original works by different filmmakers, animators, visual artists, photographers and musicians, many of whom have written to thank us and let us know that being on ZeD opened the door to exciting new career opportunities for them as artists.

[shameless plug]

If any of you know (or are) a filmmaker/animator/artist/etc. who you think deserves attention, please do tell them about ZeD and send them to our site, zed.cbc.ca .

[/shameless plug]

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#59780 - 06/28/04 03:08 PM Re: So... what do you do?
amateur
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/25/01
Posts: 587

Offline
That sounds very, very cool, Doppelganger -- I know a couple of people I might be sending in your direction soon!
_________________________
"Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness
has genius, power, and magic in it." -- Goethe

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#59781 - 06/29/04 10:34 AM Re: So... what do you do?
marykmac
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/15/00
Posts: 440
Loc: York, UK

Offline
Hey, that is cool, Doppelganger! Wow!

I'm a full time PhD student, looking at the representation of women office workers in Weimar Germany. But I don't have funding, so I have a few ways of making money.

The most interesting one is working as a Disability Support Worker in the university. My best friend is the Disability Support Work Coordinator, which is terribly handy. We get assigned to one or two disabled students, and the kind of things they need us to do varies enormously. Some need help going shopping but are fine academically, some need help finding things in the library, that kind of thing. The most common thing is note-taking.

What makes it interesting is adjusting to people's needs, and realising how incredibly varied they are. I take notes for a deaf lad and a partially sighted lad, but I have to do it in a completely different way, because the deaf lad needs to look over my shoulder when he's missed a bit of the seminar discussion to find out what we're talking about and takes the notes away with him at the end, whereas I have to take the notes home and type them up in a size 16 font for the partially sighted lad.

Even two people with comparatively severe sight loss need you to do totally different things for them. And I'd never call anyone who's partially-sighted blind any more, because having worked with a completely blind person and a couple of people with partial sight, it's just blatantly obvious that they're completely different. I've also "taken" some really interesting seminar courses, as well as a couple of direly boring ones.

It did get pretty confusing when I was swapping backwards and forwards from the partially-sighted lad and the deaf lad, though: I'd find myself making sure I was facing the partially sighted guy when I spoke or telling the deaf lad that we were about to turn left!

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#59782 - 06/29/04 01:23 PM Re: So... what do you do?
listersgirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/10/00
Posts: 341
Loc: Toronto

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Hey, Doppelganger, I work for CBC too! In Toronto, though. And there goes my anonymity...

I'm a music librarian, currently working for CBC radio in one of 30 or so broadcast libraries across the country. What we do in the library is provide materials for use on the air and as reference and research tools for the producers and hosts (mostly Radio 2, at least at our library, but also the rest of radio and tv). What I personally do is mainly catalogue the CDs as they come in, so that all the cuts are correctly identified and listed in the catalogue, where they can be searched and added to the program logs. Plus, of course, other library duties, like selecting and ordering CDs, maintaining the Intranet site, cataloguing books and periodicals, supervising the work of the other cataloguers, and going to many, many meetings. What I don't do (if I can possibly avoid it), is work with the patrons, which makes me very happy. Not that they're not lovely people, but I like to work behind the scenes.

I like my job, and my career, but I don't want to end up like some of the people I work with, who have been in the same position for 20 years or more. I definitely need the stimulation of new challenges to keep me interested.

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#59783 - 06/29/04 01:44 PM Re: So... what do you do?
voiceofreason
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 1257
Loc: Brookline, MA, USA

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I have two jobs. My sort of boring, primary job is working the evening shift on the circulation desk at a medical library. I check books in and out, provide basic reference services when the librarians are out, and manage a team of shelving assistants, most of whom are foreign dental students (my first experience managing, and it is an adventure). We serve medical, dental, public health, and medical science students, doctors, patients and the general public, so we get a fairly diverse group of patrons, from world-famous surgeons to the occasional homeless person. Mostly, though, I have plenty of time to poke around on the internet, read, and get homework done (when applicable).

My more exciting, part-time job is as a program presenter at a science museum (though I actually don't present any programs). The part of the museum where I work has a very high level of interaction between visitors and volunteers and staff. We do a very informal kind of science education; for example, I might dissect a sheep's eye and explain what I'm doing, or do a timed observation of the behavior of one of our tamarin monkeys while answering visitors' questions about the monkeys, or talk about human evolution and different interpretations of fossil skulls or footprints.

The real challenge comes in addressing really diverse groups of people -- once in a while I'll find myself addressing a five-year-old, a group of giggling 14-year-olds, a know-it-all doctor, a young parent who never finished high school, a foreign couple with poor English comprehension, and some guy who wants to discuss the optics of the eye in terms of quantum mechanics. This weekend was great -- I had a fabulous conversation with a kid and two unrelated adults about the evolution of the eye which led to discussion about evolutionary convergence, microevolution vs. macroevolution, and all kinds of great stuff.

Oh, and marykmac, we have a "Sighted Guide" program for the visually impaired at the museum, which I trained for but which I'm never actually available to work for. It was interesting stuff, learning Blind etiquette (and guide dog etiquette, which was more complicated than I realized), how to speak descriptively (without interpreting -- that was the hardest part), and learning about all different kinds of blindness and what different people might need. I was hyper-aware of how much I use hand gestures after that training (and, oddly, I seem to use them even more when doing description for the blind, but according to the woman running the training this is actually quite common and it's fine so long as you're still saying everything you need to be saying).

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