Have you ever seen the movie “Stand and Deliver”? Do you remember the scene where one of the girls runs out of the classroom crying because she has no life? Her hair looks bad, her skin is breaking out, she’s tired and she’s tired of working so hard.
Since October I’ve been working insane hours. And I’m exhausted. I have bad skin and my hair hurts. I’m not sleeping well and I’m bloated from eating too much crappy food at my desk.
I work in entertainment marketing, and for half of the year I can have a normal life. But the other six months add up to a year’s worth of hours.
You know those big ads you see promoting new movies when you flip through the Calendar section of your newspaper? Creating and producing those is what I do for a living. I work for an ad agency that designs and produces marketing collateral for movies—everything from print ads to web banners and everything in between.
From about October until the week after the Oscars, my life isn’t totally my own. Everything up until they announce the nominees for the Academy Awards is crazy.
And then? That’s when we really get busy.
This year we are fortunate/cursed because four of the movies we’ve been promoting are major nominees this year.
It’s exciting to be part of something so big. It’s a great feeling to think that we played even a small part in making that happen. You know, aside from the studios, the filmmakers, the actors, that is.
But it’s a brutal way to make a living. The hours are unpredictable. The clients can be demanding. Their clients—the filmmakers—are even more demanding. These films are their babies. They have lived and breathed them for years. And they expect everyone else to do the same.
I’m lucky because I work at a small agency and I’ve been able to get experience here that I would have never been able to get anywhere else. But having a small staff that does the same amount of work as the larger agencies is burn-out inducing. It’s hard to make—and keep—plans because things can (and will) change just like that. On Friday, things were quiet and I was set to walk out the door at 6:00 p.m. when a client called and wanted something done. I kept a designer late and we worked for a couple of hours to get the project finished and sent off. As I was finally walking out the door to go home my boss pulled me into another project and before I knew it, it was 11:00 p.m.
This morning I came in at 8:15, and it’s almost 11:00 p.m. and I’m still here.
This will be fairly typical until February 27.
If nothing wins (and I’m pretty sure that won’t happen) then they wrap things up, and that’s that.
If we do get some wins—especially something as big as Best Picture (possible)—then we have a couple more weeks of this.
Hopefully, I can hang in there until the end of the month.