Where are you currently employed?
I am a Vault Clerk at Warner Bros. Media Archives Services. It is one of the world’s largest entertainment libraries with millions of films reels — including more than 6,000 feature film and thousands of television episodes. We preserve and protect vast amounts of film and audio: 35mm, 35/32mm, 65mm and 16mm original negatives, inter-positives, magnetic audios (MAGs), seps, negative digital (fine grains and original negative digital), answer prints, check prints, dupe negative prints and overlay-negative prints. But that’s not all. We also have optical soundtrack positives and negatives, three-quarter-inch tapes, BetaCam and digital tapes, digital linear tapes for storage (DLTs), modifications of program codes for video games (MODs), linear tape-open storage (LTOs), hard drives, USB and Flash Drives, DVDs, CDs, D88s and digital audio tapes (DATs).
Currently I am processing data for entry of film elements coming back from the lab, mainly for 35mm, 35/32-16mm trailers and MAGs, answer prints, fine grains, optical sound track positives and negatives, OCNs and OCNDs.
Describe Your Job.
I process and archive all film and TV media that Warner Bros. holds as well as elements that come in from all over the world. I examine the media, give each element a barcode and process the identifying information into our data system. Then the Archives Services team puts the elements in our storage vaults here in Burbank. For backup storage, we also load film and audio weighing between 500 and 2,000 pounds on to pallets and send them to salt mines in Kansas 650 feet underground, as well as other vaults in limestone mountains elsewhere in the country. We load and unload the pallets on and off the trucks ourselves.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
Before doing this work, I was a professional car mechanic and smog inspector. My kind wife, Maryanne, was working with Human Resources at Color by Deluxe and she suggested I apply for work there. I was hired on the spot.
What was your first union job?
While still at Deluxe, I joined IATSE Local 683, the Film Laboratory and Video Laboratory Technicians and Cinetechnicians. We merged into the Editors Guild Local 700 in 2010.
Who gave you your first break?
My job at Color by Deluxe was my first break. I worked there as a positive/negative developer. Three months later, I moved on to Technicolor (where I also did positive assembly) and, shortly after that, to CFI. While working at CFI, I got a call from Bill Nolan, the foreman of Media Archives Services, and he asked me if I wanted to work at Warner Bros. I went home, got down on my knees and prayed. My first job was in the cold vaults, cycle counting or rescanning all the film elements and getting used to working in a 35-degree-Fahrenheit work space. After a year, I was pulling orders and processing data into the system.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
I’m very proud and grateful to have the opportunity to work for Archives Services for almost 16 years. I’m especially proud of getting to know all the film stocks, formats and other media that we are responsible for and how to process the specifics about the film assets into our data base.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Sometimes it’s a challenge to identify different types of film elements and we help each other out. It’s called team work.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
When we celebrate one of the crew’s birthday... I used to be in charge of getting cake and refreshments and ordering the pizza from Joe Peep’s New York Pizza in Valley Village.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I hope to continue working at my current position.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I enjoy riding horses and riding bikes with my wife and my daughter, Angela…and going for long walks on the beach. I also like helping others in need and volunteering. I have been a volunteer for Warner Bros. charities for almost 15 years. I’ve interviewed people for receiving donations from Warners and, for Humanity on Wheels, I’ve refurbished wheelchairs to be sent to hospitals in Latin America.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and the other movies with Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name. I like westerns with horses and guns.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Scandal; it’s got lots of action.
Do you have an industry mentor?
Yes, my fellow Local 683 co-workers — I give everybody credit. Also Bill Nolan who hired me at Warners and is now retired, Archives Services supervisor Tim Brown, manager Mike Ewers and vice president of Media Archives Steven Anastasi.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
What I’ve learned about the film industry is to always be ready for overtime or special projects, and never say, “No!” Stay focused and be a team player.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Yes, but it was resolved recently. Only once in 16 years have I had a problem with anyone on the job. I contacted the Guild and Labor Relations. I did not lose pay or have a write-up.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
Stick to your dreams.
Compiled by Edward Landler
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