Cruising as Film Crew
Commodifying sloth on student film sets
Written by Cameron Mays
If each nation of the world has its own style of love, the United States’ preferred romance would be the romanticization of the past. The relative newness of this country generally limits the scope of romanticism from sorta racist to really racist. The Rust Belt, with some degree of defiance to this scope, romanticizes the era of the blue collar union job. For older generations, it offers a reminder of their childhood before they adopted car culture racism. To slightly less older generations, it offers a fantasy of when workwear was intended for workers, not hikers. And to me, it offers a time when the poet laureate of the working person was Woody Guthrie, not the Dropkick Murphys.
I believe this to be the main reason why Ohio chose Cleveland State University as the site of its state film school. In Cleveland, our docks are empty but our writers and critics wear Doc Martens. In Cleveland, our union steel jobs are gone, but our non-union microbreweries make an IPA inspired by the Bessemer process. More than creative types, the film industry requires a large, union workforce. Hungry for any sort of organized labor, Cleveland is the logical choice to cultivate such an environment.
The school, both as an academic institution and as a collection of students, forgets that most union jobs prefer apprenticeships and on-site training over a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Film students eagerly fork over $40,000 to an eagerly receptive university to get a job as an assistant dolly grip. I remind both the students and the university that most crew jobs do not require an intimate knowledge on Loew’s Theaters, rather, Lowe’s Home Improvement. As Cleveland State University much prefers to feed the egos of bullied high schoolers with mirrorless cameras, I offer some tips and tricks for anyone interested in working on crew during their time as a Viking.