Archive for April, 2014

Sorry folks.  I promised before there would be a better and current blog post cycle and I failed. However there is a very good reason. After nearly 9 months of unemployment, over 1000 applications and hundreds of interviews I finally landed the dream job in recruiting thst I have been looking for. Is it my dream job? No. That dream is running a certain film studio in Hollywood,but I am a realistic person.

This company, the more and more I spend time with our top brass makes me happy. Why? It’s really how the company philosophy is and the philosophy of our COO and CEO. I’ve been here two weeks and tackling everything … including taking on the sales side of recruiting in which I haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. I am currently writing this on my tablet at the family home of the owners outside of Boston. I have been here a couple of days with my boss and a few others in a massive amount of training.

Since I have been back in recruiting, I realized that there are a lot of things that drove me up the wall with this job. Some of these I have already addressed (which you can see here and here ). Considering now that I am handling candidates and clients and learning a whole new industry,  I thought this would be a great post.

1. Keep your recruiter informed.
If you are working on a contract at company ABC but it was company XYZ that contacted, interviewed you and is cutting your check, stay on your recruiters good side. Keep them updated. This does not mean tell them about every single sneeze you take, but if you feel uncomfortable working at the site TELL THEM. There could be a miss communication somewhere.
Even the best recruiters can mess up, without even knowing. I know of a case, years ago, where a friend was working a contract. She was told that the job would have XYZ job duties.  About a week after she started, she learned it was really ABC duties. She felt uncomfortable but didn’t want to say anything in fear of loosing the position. Some of these duties she hadnt had alot of experience doing in the past, but, suzie being suize pulled out all the stops to do the job to the best of her abilities.
A couple months went by of this into a six month contract. Then all of a sudden the client tells her not to come back on Monday. She leaves and calls the recruiter. The recruiter is confused at first because they just learn that Suize was doing ABC not XYZ. Not only could Suize have been making more money per the arrangement that the client had with the recruiting company, but the client trashed her to the recruiting company saying that Suize wasn’t performing well in the job.
Guess what? If Suize would have said something early on, the recruiter could have gotten her more money, fixed things with the client, held the client to the terms of the contract and Suize wouldnt have been miserable waiting to see if the axe would have dropped on her that day. Any recruiter worth their salt would have tried to fix the problem from day 1. In this situation it was not the recruiters fault because they were going by what was written in the contract, but the client was trying to work the system to get a skilled worker for cheaper.

2. Never ever in a million years call a recruiter and leave a message trashing the client (if its a contract job), their company, or their colleagues.
This happened to me last week. I was on the phone talking to a new candidate.  My phone rings but I can’t switch over quick enough.  Before I can listen to the voicemail, a client calls with a problem. While I am talking to the client, the same number calls again (within 5 minutes of the first call) and leaves another voicemail. I finally get to the voicemails ( within 1/2 hour of the first call left).
Bob (not real name) left me two voicemails, upset because supposedly no one ever calls him from my office. My boss overheard the voicemails. Even she was a bit taken aback. Bob went on and on trashing the recruiter previous to me. I have never spoken to him and didn’t even know who he was. Bob didn’t know there was a changing of the guard so to speak, which does not excuse the unprofessionalism he displayed.  Do you really think I want to send him to any client right now??

3.Do NOT APPLY TO POSITIONS that you are not qualified for.
In the last two weeks I have probably looked at a few hundred resumes. I have said this in the other posts, but I cannot stress this enough. If you are a chemist do not apply for a, say, police officer posting. We recruiters talk to each other regardless of what company we work for. Recruiters that I worked with at my last job still talk with me, we pick each others brains and try to top each other with “you wont believe the candidate that I got today” stories. Guess what? Three totally different companies in three totally different fields.  How is it then we all know candidate Bob McCreamcheese? (Totally made up name). Because Bob had a resume that stood out, in a bad way, and applied to jobs each of us were managing. I, probably better than most, understand the job hunt/trying to keep food on the table desperate moments, but one of the reasons that Bob has not found a job yet is because he is blindly applying.

Let me put it this way. You are in a candy store and can have ANY candy. Lets say you are allergic to peanuts, but you really want something with chocolate. You wouldn’t sit there trying piece after piece of candy till you found something that tasted good, now would you? No, because not only could you get yourself sick from all the sugar, but you might accidently eat peanuts and REALLY get sick. Plus there is the fact that you are wasting time and money to figure out that you wanted chocolate. If you did your research and paid attention before you walked into the candy shop, you would know that the chocolate bark is good, but it has nuts so you can’t eat it, but the dark chocolate fudge doesn’t have nuts, and its super yummy.

So why would you blindly apply to every single job that you see? You are not only wasting time of whoever on the receiving end of your application, but, much like you might have an allergic reaction in the above scenario,  you could be doing more harm than good. Job hunting is NOT a numbers game. It’s a strategic one.

More to come!!!

Wow. Scourge and I saw Captain America:The Winter Solider last night at our favorite theater here in Chicago:Amc River East. This theater is in the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood down the street from Navy Pier. It’s always packed for opening shows.

Since Iron Man 1 Scourge and I will go opening weekend (preferably midnight shows) for the Marvel films here. Never regretted it, especially after last night.
For the last year or so, there’s been this trend to have opening shows at 8pm on top of 10 pm and midnight release of a movie. Why? I don’t know, probably to capture more sales, but it works.

Scourge and I had tickets for the 8pm show. We got to the theater at 7pm expecting chaos like always. Kudos to the theater. Seriously. Since Avengers mayhem, AMC (especially River East) are on the ball with keeping the chaos to nill. We had tickets for the 2D show and we’re able to go straight to the theater where as ticket holders for 3D were standing in a long line waiting to go up.

This is our theater at about 730 last night:

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It was awesome. If you look dead center in this picture you can see a guy wearing sequined shirt of Captain America’s uniform. Four to the left is a women dressed as Black Widow. I actually thanked her after the movie for doing the traditional 616 comic book version of the costume….and it was awesomely done. While everyone was waiting, people were standing and talking to other fans and complimenting them on their choice of attire for the evening. I got numerous compliments for my Captain button up work shirt and earnings.

I knew this was going to be a great crowd when someone cat called at the screen for a commerical for Rock In Rio. It was even better during trailers.

After the Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer, someone…well I won’t repeat verbatim what they said, but they wished the death of Michael Bay. The entire audience roared in laughter. There were squeals of delight (myself included) when Angelina Jolie appeared on screen as Malificent. 
Scourge and I have a tendency to whisper to each other throughout a movie. Scourge claimed after watching that trailer that Angelina will get an Oscar nomination for the role. I wouldn’t be at all surprised…he is very good at making Oscar predictions.

One of the best parts (before the film even started) was the crowd reaction to the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. It was insane. I actually turned around to look at the audience and saw people STANDING applauding the screen. This is the same trailer that aired weeks ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live, not anything new.

THEN the movie starts and during the Marvel Studios title card opening there were numerous cries of “Finally” throughout the audience.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but just based on the crowd reaction in my theater and the waves of people I saw for the 3D showings, I am predicting over $90 million for opening weekend ( frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if it cleared $100million). The film is great, everyone in the theater cheered, laughed, booed at the right parts (the booing came when certain villians appeared). At the end of the film, the cheering was deafing.

As the people (who were smart enough to stay till the lat end credit…which was most of the theater) strolled out, it was like listening to a bunch of little kids talking about their favorite cartoon. Everyone was in love with the film, didn’t hear a SINGLE negative comment. Gave me warm fuzzies.

But that’s the great thing about movies: the shared experience. Years and years ago when Daredevil came out, I went to see the Friday noon showing before going to work. The crowd was thin, but hilarious. My favorite memory from that was hearing a guy yell “holy shit it’s Silent Bob” when Kevin Smith came on screen.  When I saw X-men 2: X-men United, a brother and sister I started talking with while waiting in line were sitting in front of me. When Nightcrawler and Mystique are talking in the forest one of them said “Oh that’s cute he has a crush on her” and my reaction was “dude…that’s his mom”

I won’t ever forget,  till the day I die, when Black Widow says in this movie “I’m multitasking” and Scourge elbowed me and whispered ” my god that’s you”.
Or when the girl called for Michael Bays death. I yelled back “thank you” which caused more laughs. No one in the theater will forget that.

This is the reason why you need to go to a theater and watch a film. That new community was built, albeit a short time, where we all enjoyed an amazing story.

That’s why I love movies!

MickeyThe answer: Copyright problems.

I would like to preface this post to make it explicitly clear that I am NOT a lawyer. However, I do have an extreme interest in copyright law. Why? Well I come from a law enforcement family. I was actually considering going into law for a long time until my mom convinced me I would be happier in the film world. The great thing about producing is that you need to know a lot of legal things, at least a basic understanding of copyright, trademark and contract law.

While at Columbia College Chicago, I really studied copyright law because it just interested me that much. Since graduating out, I have (and Scourge can attest to this) read legal briefs for fun, especially if its about copyright law. This is why the post today is about copyright. Deadline broke the news today that the Jack Kirby estate is taking their issues on copyright law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Kirby estate is going up against the biggest baddest lawyers– Disney. These were the same lawyers that actually got a new clause written into the copyright law back in 1998. That clause changed rules on public domain so much that its unofficially called the “mickey mouse” clause.

Click on the links for the nitty gritty details on the Captain America/Kirby Case and the Superman/Schuster Case. I don’t want to get into the specifics of these cases, but I will say, unlike some

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Jack “The King” Kirby

companies, at least Marvel has tried to reach a middle ground with the Kirby family. That and I am surprised that both cases are being repped by the same lawyer- Marc Toberoff. Man, I am glad I am not him.

I cannot stress this enough. In this day and age, where if you make ANYTHING (a film, comic book, photography) you should copyright it. Why? Well theres alot of great reasons but heres the big ones:

  • If something happens to you, you can transfer the rights to someone else (i.e. your kids).
  • If someone,god forbid, tries to steal your work, registering it with the copyright office solidifies when the work was created. Plus, with registering, you can sue for punitive damages (which you cannot if you do not register).
  • If you want to sell the rights to your work (especially if you want to option for say, a film or tv show) any producer worth their salt will not touch your property or even think about optioning unless you have the copyright notice on you.

I cannot tell you how much it gets under my skin when people do stupid things. Over the years, I came across postings on Craigslist of fans trying to make movies of {insert comic book here} and flat out admit in the posting they don’t have the rights. Guess who sent emails to the publishers to let them know? Yes, me.

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Superman By Alex Ross

I know you may think that is very mean/dirty/underhanded. It’s not. People who do this cause problems for everyone else. First and foremost, its not fair to the original creator that someone is taking their property and doing something with it without the original creators permission/input. Secondly, lets say that this fan film got made. Then lets say, Lionsgate did the proper paperwork etc and wants to make the same movie? Now there is confusion in the market.

It’s like shopping for a high end purse- unless you know what you are looking for- you can’t tell the knockoff from the legit. When I was in school, Ellie Sully (read her web comic here or her blog here) worked on every single production that I did either as a production designer/actor or both. There was one shoot in which I couldn’t be on set for a chunk of the day. The director called me pissed as hell because Ellie Sully was holding up the production.

Why? She went through the entire department with a fine tooth comb looking for anything that was showing logos. I mean, EVERYTHING. She flipped dvd’s on the shelf around so you couldn’t see the labels, taped over logos on the stove and fridge, pulled down posters etc. Ellie told the director that if I walked on to the set and saw all the trademarks I would have a melt down.

Well she was right. I told the director to deal with it. Then I called Ellie Sully and told her to hurry up. I saw rough edits later on in class along with other people. Guess who was the only director that wasn’t going to have to go back and “clean up” ? Yea. You guessed right. The director, right then and there, dubbed me the “copyright nazi”.

There is also this huge misconception that if you give credit, then you don’t have to get the rights. For example, you made a movie for a class project and added, say Bon Jovi music to the soundtrack then uploaded said movie for class onto youtube. Even if you give credit to Bon Jovi, they can still sue you.  Why? You didn’t get permission before hand.  I know someone will be like “But I made it for class! It falls under educational use!” Actually no it doesn’t. Education use is only for teachers folks! Not students!

If you ever have a question about using someone else’s work or if you should copyright something go to the US Copyright Office website. They have a great little FAQ section and you can also

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Captain America by Alex Ross

register your work online here!

Also do a bit of research- if you need some legal advice there are numerous charities that could help depending on what you are doing. Here in Chicago we have a great organization called Lawyers for the Creative Arts. If you need help and you are working on a comic book or realize that someone stole your art etc talk to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  Do a google search for more charties that are local to you. In a lot of cases, they will not charge you or they will charge you VERY little.  I have worked with Lawyers for the Creative Arts personally, and they are awesome. I am also a member of CBLDF. If you ever have an extra few dollars- help them out!