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The Life of an Odd-Jobber

By Tony LaScala · January 31, 2012

Salutations Odd-Jobbers,

I work at a pet boarding facility taking care of Los Angelinos pets when they go on vacation. I shoot wedding and special event videography. Teach soccer to kids after school. I’m a house sitter, high school motivational speaker, actor, stand-up comedian, caterer, and amateur roofer. Anything to make my rent and spend random free moments of my life working on my passion: Writing screenplays and teleplays.

Here’s one of the great things about living in Los Angeles: Odd-Jobbers here know how to do things in film and they’re willing to do almost anything to get an opportunity to showcase it. Hell, half of the people who live here aren’t even from here. They moved here specifically to get into film. I did. Soon I’ll be the scribe who brings you the next Princess Bride. But, until then, I’m an Odd-Jobber who can’t afford a cast and crew of top-notch union filmsters to bring his Indie darling to life.

Don’t live in Los Angeles? Do not fret; filmmaking has become so global I guarantee someone within a five-mile radius of your current GPS location (unless you live in Antarctica, the Moon, or certain parts of France) can help you bring your Indie darling to life.

You know that waitress bringing you three ramekins of ranch and topping off your Diet Coke? She’s an actress who has a mastery of Final Cut Pro. Oh, and the guy cleaning that nasty apartment pool? He works sound on local Hippity-Hop music videos and can cake on some pretty mean monster makeup.

Three years ago I had an ambitious plan to write a fantasy comedy feature and shoot it for under $50K by the end of the year. (To be honest the plan was to be a world-renowned award winning Writer/Director by the age of nineteen, so now at twenty-nine I guess this is plan F or so.) For six months I was going to wait tables and save money while writing my masterpiece. The following six months I would re-draft, raise the additional money by pitching to dentists, and shoot it by the end of the year.

Go to festivals

+ blah blah blah

__________________

= Instant Success.

Three years later, life had gotten in the way: Bills, relationships, sick dogs and cats, moving, moving again, working on other scripts/projects, short bouts of ADHD/ Procrastination (You get the picture).

At the beginning of last year I set a new, smaller goal: All life aside; just finish the damn Screenplay by the New Year. On January 28th of last year, I finally did it.

Now I have a script, and it’s great. So great that there’s no way I can shoot this thing for under $50k. Now I’ll just email it to Lucasfilm and wait for the check. Where’s that unsolicited script submission email form?

So I guess I’m back to square one. This script becomes my 2nd Feature, and I’ll set to work on a new Do-It-Yourself fantasy comedy script to be completed in… 6 months. This time I’m doing it right though.

One local location +

A couple of characters

– Overly ambitious props and effects

______________________________________

= Affordable.

Fortunately, in three years a lot has changed and it’s been changing for a while. Odd-Jobbers know how to do things in filmmaking and they’re willing to do almost anything to get an opportunity to showcase it.

I don’t necessarily need an agent to pitch the script to So-and-So. I have the waitress, and she’s a talented unknown willing to edit.

I already got my sound guy. He’s currently scraping algae from the filtration pump of a heart shaped Jacuzzi and he really needs a week off to work on HIS passion.

I don’t need to scour eBay looking for used 35mm cameras and buy $25k worth of film stock short ends. I can rent a digital camera cheaply from a local rental house and upload the footage directly into my computer’s hard drive.

Locations you ask? Well, look around you Odd-Jobber’s. Your town is loaded with locations staffed or owned by other Odd-Jobber’s just itching for an opportunity.

If you’ve got a story to tell, there’s an Odd-Jobber out there waiting to fill out every job on every little-Indie-movie-that-could. And, as soon as I finish my next script I’ll be tugging on your sleeve and asking for a favor. And, if one of you Odd-Jobbers out there looking for a script should come across one of us eccentric, poorly dressed, writer types all you might need to do is ask. We just might have the droid script you’re looking for. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Oh, and you Hollywood types looking for a script, I got a great one for you. And, I can’t wait to tell you all about it right after I feed your dog, tutor your kids, film your niece’s graduation, serve you asparagus and brie puff pastry hors d'oeuvres, and finish re-tiling your downstairs bathroom.

 

Un-Procrastinatingly Yours,

Tony LaScala