Thursday, July 12, 2012

hooray for hollywood


a few months ago i was invited, via facebook, to a paramount page reunion in hollywood.  at first i thought no way.  i'm not going.  would anyone remember me?  would i remember anyone?  but then i realized how important that time in my life was and what this job really meant to me and it made me want to go.

the back story
{oh i wish i had pictures to share from this time.  they are hiding in a box somewhere.}

after graduating from cal state northridge, my film degree in my hand, i took a job at the school of business as a clerical assistant.  it was a great gig, full time with benefits, close to home.  i survived the earthquake there and made friends that i loved.  i considered it taking a breath from being a student and a pause before pushing my way into the world of movie making.

it was there that one of the counselors gave me a tip that the page program at paramount studios was hiring.  i went in, with a very short resume and a positive attitude.  i sat through an informal interview, and told them i was getting married in a month.  as long as i could be there for the two weeks of training it was all good.  i got my polyester uniform and i.d. and off i went.

being a page at paramount meant i gave studio tours.  i have to apologize to anyone who was on my tours because i was a terrible tour guide.  i couldn't remember names, dates or tv shows.  i made a lot of it up.  i created diversion and stories, that's what it's all about.  i think i was pretty boring.  but when half of your tour only cares about seeing the star trek set and the other half doesn't understand english i guess it wasn't a bad way to spend 2 hours.

pages also worked the audience seating for the tv show tapings of frasier, sister sister and the leeza gibbons talk show.  now this i could do.  and i was good at it.  "how many in your party?".  "yes, it takes 4 hours to film a 30 minute tv show.", "sorry we are full.  please don't yell at me. it's just a tv show!"  we dealt with a lot of vip guests, sororities and fraternities, and well, drug rehab centers.  they were people who know people, people who needed the money and people looking for something to do.

the best part of the job was being a temp pool for the studio.  pages would fill in wherever needed.  in the scoring stage, in consumer products, as the secretary for the president of the studio.  it was the best part of the job.  and it led to other opportunities - for those that made the most of it.  i was hired on a tv show, i worked in the legal department, i was asked to fill in again for the president and then i ultimately got a job in facilities and operations.

bobby was also a page.  he was a way better tour guide than me.  we think back at that time as our honeymoon stage.  we had a tiny apartment filled with love, movies, and lots of time.  we were also broke.  two people working a part time gig at $6/hour doesn't get you very far.  but we survived.  our blue and gray uniforms hanging in the closet side by side. we traded war stories and shifts.  he did the tours, i worked the shows.   it was the perfect match.

so we both went to the reunion not really knowing what to expect.  the event was held at off-vine in hollywood.  it was packed with pages, mostly from the original class.  we met up with some friends.  met new friends.  shared stories and gave updates on our lives.  i remembered things i never thought i would.

we saw page movies that each class made.  our class did one parodying forrest gump which was the big movie when we were working there.  i even made an appearance in the video.  can't wait to get a copy of that.

i got to catch up with my boss who took me to dreamworks.  he is a wonderful person who i respect and admired during the time we worked together.  he trusted me and we worked as a great team, always looking out for each other.

i shared a lot with these friends. spending hours and hours together. i started working as a page right after our honeymoon.  so they knew me as a newlywed, just starting out on my own.  this job made me get over many fears.  hollywood can be a scary place filled with weirdos and star struck fans. and you truly have to put yourself out there if you want to get ahead.

 this job also fulfilled that desire i had to work in the movie business.  it was exciting to walk on the lot everyday.  even if we weren't treated like movie stars.  i got to go to  work premieres and special events.  i got to eat from the craft services table.  salmon and roasted potatoes was a huge perk for us. and the highlight of my work day. i "met" kelsey grammer and denzel washington.  i passed by tom cruise's office everyday.  and the history on the lot, some great classic movies and tv shows.  things we learned about in class.  it was amazing.  and i never took any of that for granted.

i always had in mind that i was paying my dues, putting in my time.  i knew i had a lot to learn and i wasn't in a hurry to move on.  i was there to be a tour guide and i was honest about that.  i took every task seriously.  i was hard on myself.  but i proved something to them and to myself.  work hard and good things happen to you.  it wasn't always fun but it was worth it.  i miss working on the lot.  i haven't been back in over 15 years.  i still have friends who are there.  i should invite myself over for lunch.

walking through the lot i had dreams of making movies.  writing. seeing my name up on the big screen.  that never happened for me. honestly, i never really thought it would.  but it's happening for bobby.

back then i never imagines that years from now my life would look like this.  but even with the glitz and glamour of hollywood this is the life i was meant to live.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Betty, I remember those days for you and Bobby and even know it still sounds so glamorous and fun. What a great way to remember those days. Looked liked you had a great time! :)