Hey, I enjoy talking about what I do. If I wasn't willing to answer your question I wouldn't have started this thread. Hell, I could still disappear into the wild, wild Internet never to be seen again if I really wanted to. Working on a film is hard, hard job. It's a great feeling to know something you put so much effort into is enjoyed this much by others. I love film and that is the #1 reason I work in this business, but the #2 reason is I like entertaining others. Without fans like you guys I would be missing part of the fulfillment of this job....and probably get paid a whole lot less!!! ;)
As far as this Mr. Wattson crap, quit it. Call me Gary and feel free to ask me about any project I've done or about film production in general. IMDB doesn't have all the projects I worked on, especially when I did music videos for two years. I am also working on a film called BIRTH right now that isn't listed there.
I am rather young for this business being only 25. When I got into the Union for Studio and Theater mechanics (<!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.iatselocal52.org/)">www.iatselocal52.org/)</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> at the age of 22 I was the youngest in the whole union within my department. When I was in high school I loved film but never gave much thought to going into it. It was just something other people did, wasn't a practical idea for me. I was very good with computers and went to Lafayette college to major in computer science. I even skipped the freshman level of my major because of my scores on the AP, AB, and IB tests. College really, really, really didn't agree with me though and after one year I dropped out at the age of 19.
After about six months of doing nothing I took a class at the New School, an NYU subsidiary, on film history. The teacher of that class was a women by the name of Judith Katz. She also happened to be a co-head of the story department at Warner Brothers. She liked me and gave me an internship in her offices once the class was over. After interning there for three months I wanted to get on set experience vs office experience so I got an internship with an indie movie, High Art, through connection I had made at Warner Brothers. That internship turned into a production assistant (PA) job. That PA job turned into pseudo head PA by the end of the film. High Art went on to win a couple awards, including one at sundance, and having my name attached to it gave me a little name recognition.
Someone in the art department of High art, who to this day I don't know, thought I was a hard worker so they passed my name along to a production designer by the name of Shawnna Loienstien. She had just started working with a director by the name of Hype Williams and I tagged along as her PA. Just as I joined that crew Hype Williams exploded and became the hottest director in the music video industry. The first video we did was Missy Elliot's "I Can't Stand the Rain" (might not be the official title of the song). After that Hype started doing all the Puff Daddy videos. After that Hype stated doing everyone's videos and I just rode the wave and worked my way up from PA to Set Dresser in the process.
After about two years of music videos I got an offer to be set dresser for a Comedy Central TV show called "Upright Citizens Brigade" (UCB). Not that I didn't love doing Music Videos, I did and actually miss doing them to this day, but after two years of them a comedy television show sounded like a nice change of pace. Well it wasn't, UCB sucked. I know a lot of people love the show, and rightly so, but if you ever desire to work in film DO NOT work for Comedy Central. They are the cheapest, dirtiest company I have ever worked for. We filmed in the least convenient locations, never had enough budget to do the job right, constantly were asked to the production favors while we got none back, and basically felt over used and under appreciated. Someone with the crew filed grievance with a labor board and Local 52, the union I linked above, stepped in and shut down UCB till Comedy Central straighten things out. Instead of actually treating their workers properly Comedy Central fired the whole entire crew and replaced them with even cheaper labor. This wasn't even a case of scabs vs. union labor, we weren't union employees yet! The Union decided to accept the whole crew into it's brotherhood and sued comedy central on our behalf. Two years later we won the case and got a cash settlement.
So here I was, 21, the youngest in my department of the whole union, and really didn't know anyone in the business anymore. All my connections in music videos were non union workers and I wasn't allowed to work with them anymore. I had a choice of leaving local 52 and going back to the music video world but I decided tough it out since my dream wasn't to make videos but rather to make movies. The first year was hard and I hardly worked. Thank the lord my parents had a couch for me to sleep on!!! I did small jobs for mostly TV, like the Sopranos and Law & Order.
In the summer of 2000 I got a call to work a few days on a movie called Serendipity. It was supposed to be a three day shoot in Central Park at Walman Rink but because of the weather, west nile virus, and some false information given to use that the ice rink was level (long story, but ice self levels and the concrete below it was warped. Caused havoc for our set) the three day job turned into almost a three week job. My boss, Scott Rosenstock, like how I handled the whole situation and by the end of those three weeks I ran the set. Trust me, a lot of people didn't like the fact that a 22 year old was in charge. I've work for Scott ever since.
After Serendipity was Glitter. After Glitter was a TV show called Deadline. After Deadline was the Royal Tenenbaums. Up to the Royal Tenenbuams I was only an off set dresser. A few weeks into the shoot though the on set dresser got fired and they needed someone to replace her. Scott put me on set as a temporary place filler till they got someone new. I stuck though and remained on set the rest of the job. Ever since then I have been Scott's swing man, working both on and off set. I am rarely the head on set dresser like The Royal Tenenbaums but rather his #1 options to help the on set dresser on days that it is needed.
As far as working with Wes Anderson again I'd love too. I'm not the one he'd hire though, I to far down the food chain for that. First he'd need to rehire Sandy and David Wasco again, which I think is a sure bet to happen. Then they'd need to film in NYC since my union only covers the Tri-State area. Then Sandy and David would have to hire Scott Rosenstock as their leadman (head set dresser), which I think is about 50% chance of happening. If all that falls into place then I'd work on the next Wes film and I sure as hell hope it happens.