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TaskRabbit Troubles

TaskRabbit is a San Francisco based work for hire site founded in 2008 by start-up entrepreneur Leah Busque, and for 5 years, they seem to have redefined the nature of getting things done in San Francisco.  I spent 6 months working in SF through them, doing all sorts of different things from small tasks, to setting up large scaled offices, and working on theatrical productions.  On a good week, I’d find myself making $300-400 a daywhile helping to be a productive part of business in downtown.  It was a good feeling, finding myself at the center of operations for businesses like Cuyana, Brit+Co, Ripple, and even the TR Headquarters on ocassion, I could earn good money for good work before heading to evening performances and rehearsals.  In my second month, I was recognized as a TR Elite, and I was so pleased with the work I’d gotten, I went and had custom window stickers made for my truck, to show off a sense of pride and loyalty to the service.

In March, I moved to Los Angeles, and found that the difference between the two was a bit of a shock to the system.  There was no center to the LA business model for TR, there was no Downtown focus, which led me to believe that either the businesses in Los Angeles had solved Tasklike problems in a more efficient way, or that TR hadn’t been marketed to them effectively.  Regardless, I pulled on my boots and got into the fight, earning enough to keep the lights on.

Then, something went rotten in the state of Denmark. For some rather apparent, and other not so apparent reasons, TaskRabbit restructured earlier this month, and I’m waiting to meet someone who is pleased with the changes on either side of the fence.  I understand the legal ramifications of wage rates, and appreciate the additional assistance in the form of insurance for some of the jobs we do, but most of the changes folks are up in arms about revolve around the workers having input and control over the task.

Previously, a job that was unfair or undesirable would be responded to in the way free market economies deal with unfair and undesirable employment, it destroys the source of that employment, protecting skilled labor from abuse.  Now, the only input we have is a dollar rate, and a schedule.  Putting the control over most of the task work in the hands of the least qualified person in the equation, the TaskPoster, or work provider. In the San Francisco model, when Executive Admin Assistants, Project Managers, and Receptionists are responsible for organizing the details for these jobs, this has moderately low risk, and I’m certain it works out just fine for the Taskers up there.

Down in Los Angeles, where the average TaskPoster is a consumer, things get pear shaped fast, as the TaskPosters tend to ask questions that, under the old system, a rabbit would be able to respond to, now, there’s no control. I cannot change the price of a task if the taskposter requests it, I cannot cancel a task if the taskposter requests it, I cannot use more powerful technology to interact with the taskposter, as it’s all through the APP, and the website is practically a digital paperweight for the workers, but that’s not the insulting part.

When assigned work, I found that the address of the job has been hidden for the Posters’ privacy.  Chat logs are monitored, and I’m assuming, since all phone calls are proxied through a TR server now, phone calls are likely recorded as well. All of this big brother BS is aimed at the workers who are doing the work for you, and the sliding scale is gone too, in place, is a flat 20% deduction.  Every “Tasker” I know hates the feeling that TR is watching and listening to everything, while keeping us in the dark about the work they want us to go on.  The last half dozen jobs I’ve gone on, the posters complain about the app, and I have nothing I can do about it but apologize, and try not to complain too much, after all, they’re listening.

Also, removing the option for paying a tip to a worker is tacky, and since this type of labor is experimental for a large number of the posters, they’re not sure if they should or not, and I’m not rude enough to ask, and since TR has stopped using a sliding scale, and simply takes 20% of every job, It’s no wonder that the workers are running to competing services who haven’t gotten too big too fast.  Welcome to Big Business/Big Brother TR, you’ve officially made me feel like I’ve earned my place as the “Help.”

Live from Los Angeles: Month Two

IMG_0363SMSo, March was a huge month.  Op top of working a bunch of big shows, and the chance of getting involved in a couple of smaller grass roots musicals, my nephew came into the world on the 27th.  Huge congratulations and lots of love to Josh and Jen, They have a beautiful baby boy who I’m sure will be spoiled fantastically by family and friends.

It’s started off as another big month, Ron Perlman is wearing two hats as both a show-runner and lead on a series called “Hand of God,” being produced by Amazon.  The pilot is currently filming downtown, I’m glad to say I got to work on it so early.  It looks to be a fantastic production.

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For now, I’ve got some pet projects in the works, I figure I can drop names in a little while to help keep me motivated for later.  I’ve decided that in lieu of writing in continuity, I’m going to finish writing a pitch piece of a series I’ve had in the hole for a few years under a working title of “Smooth Operators”, with the hopes of pulling a small team together to get it shot, It’s small scale, not huge in length, an easy piece to chew on while other projects are slow-burning in the background.  With two other plays, and a larger project running in the background, It’ll be nice just to get a piece of writing finished to let others have a look, and possibly to move forward with.  I’ve also managed to get out and about to a few auditions, there are some really fantastic theater companies around pasadena, I’d be glad to get a chance to work with some of them.

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The “Wait Staff” a short film being produced by Christina Russo will begin filming on the 26th of this month, which means another big leap forward, and SAG eligibility for yours truly.  I don’t expect to sit on that laurel for very long, but it’s progress nonetheless.

Keep your eyes over here for more progress as the projects keep rolling on, and thanks for stopping by!

-T

Live from Los Angeles: Month One

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So, I’ve been off the grid for a little while, Life has been pretty busy since the move.

The first month in LA has been great.  After an 8 hour drive, and some awesome cardio getting all of my stuff up two flights of stairs, I’m all settled in.  My kitchen is getting some use; I’m cooking a lot more than I used to, which is good (fiscally), even if I could stand to cook better food than I do.  Granted, It’s not all finished and furnished; there’s a makeshift couch and dinner table, and a large cardboard box functioning as a TV stand for the moment.  The important thing is that I have everything I need to start working, which I have been doing quite a bit.

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If you watch Scandal, Revenge, or (wait for it) N.C.I.S., there’s a good chance you’ll see me on your TV screen in the next 6 months.  Nothing huge or career-making, but getting paid for good solid work.  In addition I’ve worked on two Independent features, and I’m slated to star in a third shooting early April, which, if all goes according to plan, will kick off my SAG Eligibility.  Now, there’s going to be a great number of people with questions about union membership, but, lets just throw out there that it is incredibly complicated, and there are decisions left to be made.  For now, I’m thankful for Central Casting, and for everyone who’s helped me get started down here.  I know some people have mixed feelings about Central, but there’s something that they’ve done for me that has been fantastic.  They haven’t paid me a million bucks or gotten my name in lights; they don’t really do that for anyone, but they’ve gotten me on location working with people I admire, which was an odd transition in my mind.

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A television actor I watched in a show years ago was suddenly giving me direction for a scene.  Then, not long after, being on set and seeing an actor who has spend 10 years perfecting a character for one single show I’ve enjoyed walked up and said “good morning” to me.  It’s about being near people who aren’t just trying to make it, but are making it work.  Without the equivocation of “I’m an actor, yeah I know…”  It’s invigorating.

Now, I had to take a step back this morning, and evaluate the whole board to make sure I’m heading where I want to, but so far, things are promising.  I have a roof over my head, a place to think and create, and the resources to do so.

So, that’s my first month. I’ll try and crank one of these out every 30, but who knows what’ll happen in the meantime.

Hopefully big things will fall my direction. Until then.

-T

Welcome

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Welcome to my website, here you can find up to date information about my creative endeavors as well as my exploits as a professional actor.  I’m currently rebuilding, so bear with me for a little as I get my act together, and thanks for stopping by!