Working at Disneyland by Jocelyn Harper

Disneyland - the template for exemplary
hospitality and customer service. 

Working at Disneyland Resort has been one of the wildest, jerkiest roller coaster rides I have ever had in a job experience.  When I started, I was extremely excited. The reality is much different than what you are sold during the interview.

In between the time of the interview and beginning my training I searched the internet for what my experience might entail. I couldn't find anything that would clearly and precisely explain what my job as a vacation planner would be.

In this post I'm just going to give the outline and surface level details of what you do day in and day out as a vacation planner. I will be soon podcasting with former Disney employees to give you our real opinion, but here are the basic details of being a vacation planner in the Main Entrance.

Pay
It starts at minimum wage which in California is $10.00/hour. You start off part-time and it’s an average wait of 2-3 years before you are eligible for a full-time schedule. During Christmas and Spring Break I got 20-30 hours a week, but during off season I was getting 6-16. Imagine those paychecks.

Attendance
Being late is clocking in 6 minutes after you are supposed to start. That gets you 1.5 points. Calling out of a shift for personal or transportation reasons is 3 points. You can get 36 points before being fired. I had like 25+. If you get 21 points in 3 months they call you to the principal’s office—oh I mean manager.

HAVE YOU WORKED AT DISNEY? COMMENT! LET’S DISCUSS YOUR EXPERIENCE!

Uniform for Vacation Planners/Main Gate
You wear a bright, mustard yellow button up with ride piping and mickey mouse buttons. The pants are high waited, dark blue and baggy. A uniform belt and your own black socks and shoes are required. Under shirts have to be white. They have strict dress code rules including hair color, nail color, nail length, sunglasses color and so on. Forget being an individual. You are a cast member now. 

Day to Day Tasks
Vacation Planner is “Disney Speak” for Ticket Sales and Guest Control. When I took the job, I was unaware that I would be standing outside guiding guests to open ticket windows. Rain or shine. Some shifts you are in the booth selling tickets and annual passes, and sometimes you are outside searching for shade and pointing out an obviously open window to a distracted guest. At the end of booth shifts you have a tedious cash out process requiring cash counting, entering data, counting and documenting every ticket that was returned or upgraded, and filling out forms. Cashing out takes about 25 minutes.

Working at the Park
Employees have to park at lots off site. It takes about 20 minutes from the time you park 'til the time you get to wear you can clock in. I was late almost daily. My bad.

If you want any more details find me on Instagram: JobsbyJoce or Email me: JobsbyJoce@gmail.com

Wildest Things You’ve Ever Considered (Or Done) to Make Money by Jocelyn Harper

Unless you are a star of my favorite show, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, we have all been in a tight financial situation. An emergency payment or unexpected expense that has left us with a worrisome amount in the bank. Whether this was you in college, or in this very moment, sometimes our brains wander down the roads less mentioned. We dabble with thoughts jobs that would provide quick cash, and solve all our problems. In a world where maybe our morality or fear of jail do not matter. You envision all the money you could rake in, in just a month.

Certain jobs hold stigmas. Classics like stripping, sugar daddies, selling drugs, stealing…okay I’m done. You are not the only one who has danced with the idea of looking into jobs your parents would kill you for doing. How close have you gotten to a quick cash solution? I’ll tell you how far I got. The interview! And I got the job.

It was not the most scandalous of jobs, if I am being honest. But for me, it was enough to cause my heart to beat a little faster. Inside of a Hollywood strip club they were in need of a sex shop attendant. I was looking for a job that would complement my daytime hours, and add up to provide me with extra income, at no expense to my daily job. At the time, I was working in post production on an award show and also part time at a day spa. I was only docked to work a week on the awards. Working freelance wears on your brain. You constantly wonder about the next week, the next job, the next paycheck. I think that might be why everyone gets drunk after a show wraps.

I saw it the position for 'Sex Shop Attendant' open on Craigslist and gave it a shot. Who would find out? Or rather, who would even care. The very next day I was invited to come in for an interview.

I came straight from work. Curls were on point, in a purple cardigan and jeans. I parked far away from it, in case anyone would recognize my car. (Like anyone was checking that hard for me.) When I showed up the club manager was dressed in an orange jumpsuit. Apparently it was “prison night” at the club. The shop was in the hallway entrance on the right, and further in was the strip club entrance. The sex shop looked like a room that had been thrown together, with cement floors and rickety walls. There was a DVD tower and a small counter with a cash register. He pointed out the different toys and said that I could have the job if I was comfortable explaining the toys to customers. I looked around and was like, “Sure...wait what is THAT?” He offered me the job on the spot and I said I would consider it overnight.

Surprise, surprise, I did not take the job mainly because it was not paying nearly enough to have me working Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm to 7am.

The financial burden is real out here. I’m being open because I know I am not alone. I am not going to sugar coat it. My age group is chock full of people with college degrees, living at home, with dreams of hosting their own dinners and having their own address. I do not have a money solution, but I can attest to the fact that yes, along with my three-page resume have been many moments considering quick money. I do cling onto the affirmation “Easy come, Easy go,” in regards to making quick cash. I am in for the long haul as I begin my Masters Program in the Fall.  I am believing that I will find a high paying career that I LOVE to wake up and do. I’ll be searching until I find it.

How I Got Started in Television by Jocelyn Harper

The television industry will always be my first love. With three years of production experience I want to share with you how I got started. 

It all started with a trip to Barbados. When my grandfather passed away I was the only grandchild able to attend the funeral. I had mentioned to distance relatives out there that I was in school for Communications-Cinema Arts. Cousin Jason told me we have another cousin working for HBO back in LA and he gave me her email. 

I was 19, turning 20 that summer and I wasn't really interested in what a distant relative could do for me. A couple of months later, I stumbled upon her email address and decided to give it a try. I let her know how I got her contact info, and I told her how I wanted to become a writer/director. She set up a visit so that I could take a tour of her workspace. I put on my best blazer from Forever 21, some blush and drove down to Santa Monica.

Always look for internships in college!

The meeting & tour were nerve wracking and informative, and I fell in love with the office space and the city of Santa Monica. My cousin at HBO mentioned an internship they have every summer for college students.  That is when I got serious. It was October, so I had time to gather my experience.

Every 5-6 weeks I would email my cousin asking her when they were accepting applications. Finally in the Spring she submitted my resume to the HR department. I was in the parking lot in front of a Jamba Juice when they called me for a conference phone interview. 

Rocking our HBO hoodies, Size Large. 

Rocking our HBO hoodies, Size Large. 

They asked me about my goals, my television work experience and general questions about myself. At that point I had actually been on a real TV set one time thanks to one of my favorite professors at Vanguard. So with that meager resume and a whole lot of persistence I was granted a spot in the HBO Summer Internship Program.

While I was at the internship I did the best networking a 19 year old knew how. I participated in the intern forums and stayed late if needed. It was a pretty chill internship if I am being honest, but I put in work! I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to work inside the space where Game of Thrones(GOT), Girls, The Wire and more had first been watched by executives. My boss would often leave to visit the GOT set, and I would answer his calls, dreaming that one day I would be in his shoes. 

That summer was full of new experiences, awkward moments, and getting a taste of corporate television. 

Flash forward to graduation a few months after the internship was complete.  I went to Santa Monica to visit with my old intern buddy. He and I had a habit of reconnecting during summer and winter breaks. While we ate he told me: You should go back to HBO and say hi to everyone. They'd like it. 

This was the 2nd MTV Movie Awards I worked on in 2014

This was the 2nd MTV Movie Awards I worked on in 2014

I felt so nervous to step inside that building unannounced but it was literally around the corner from where we met for lunch. I decided to woman up and take his advice. I went inside and after security sent my name to my old department they let me in. I received a warm welcome and got to talk with my supervisor for a bit. After explaining that I was having a hard time finding my foot in the door she said, "Oh, send me your resume!" She then forwarded it to people at MTV. A week later on break at Panera Bread, I am being called by GMoney (nickname for my favorite Coordinator) to work the MTV Movie Awards. I met a group of people that to this day I admire and respect. From the first gig, some more emails and persistence came more shows, more networking, and eventually a full time career. I actually just finished the IHEARTRADIO Music Awards with most of the same people I worked with on my very first award show!

I just took this picture last night 4/3/16 With Big Sean!

I just took this picture last night 4/3/16 With Big Sean!

Thank you for sticking it out with me and this long post. Take to the Forum section or send me an email if this post resonates with you, or if you have any questions or comments.

-Joce

Life of A Production Assistant by Jocelyn Harper

I did not purposely become a freelance, unstable, when's my next paycheck? type of lady.
That life chose me.

So if you plan on choosing to working in television or film, be forewarned. Most positions are freelance. 

Being freelance means you work for yourself. You have no big company ensuring that you have another show to work on once the current show wraps. You have to make a good impression and be a master at networking to stay afloat. It enables you to pick and choose which gigs you want to take. However, most of the time--you work for money so you are going to take a gig when it is offered. With that being said I have worked some unorganized, strenuous shows and I have worked shows that were a perfect combination of a great team, strong leadership and fun.

Main PA Responsibilities - A Very Generic List

  • Lunch and Coffee Runs. (I list this one first because it is my least favorite. Unless I am being given enough money to buy myself something.)
  • Filling Craft Services aka the Snack Table
  • Filling and Draining Ice Chests
  • Picking up and Dropping off Important People to the Airport
  • Creating Excel spreadsheets or Venue Signage

(I am capitalizing all the words to make the tasks look more important)

  • Being a Stand in to Help the Lighting and Camera Department
  • Driving Your Personal Vehicle to Pick up Miscellaneous Items (Props, Food, Gifts etc)
  • Making Copies, Answering Phones, Printing
  • Carrying Heavy Things to Places
  • Providing the Production Team With Assistance, Laughter and Peace of Mind.

Are you a PA? Have you been interested? Comment below I'd love to chat with you!