As a film and photography intern who hasn’t worked in the construction industry before, I’ve found my time here at Giroux Glass, Inc. to be extremely eye opening. I’m currently a film student at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and I’ve come to find that construction and glazing are a lot like working on a film set. In film, you’ve got departments that work on very specific elements of a production such as production design or sound or lighting. In construction, you have subcontractors such as Giroux that work on a specific element of the overall project (in this case, the installation of the glass). Within the individual departments in film, there are set and safety protocols that everyone needs to follow. The same is true for glazing. It can be a very dangerous job if safety rules are not followed. And finally, at the end of the project (film or glazing), when everything comes together, you can say, “Look, I had a hand in making that finished product!” There is concrete evidence of your work that you can share with friends and family. That is partly why I enjoyed photographing Giroux’s finished projects. It’s not only a way to advertise to potential clients about the work Giroux does, but it also gives the crew photographs of their work that they can look back on. They don’t have to go back to the job site in order to see the amazing work they’ve done.
Besides the incredible work that Giroux does, I was also struck by the company culture. The phrase “All work and no play” certainly does not apply here. The very first day of my internship I got to go on a trip out to Las Vegas to film a team building exercise on wine making at Grape Expectations. Since then, there have been a number of fun events including the July 4th BBQ, a baby shower, and birthday celebrations. And, although I won’t be here in December, I’ve heard from multiple sources that the end of year Christmas party is spectacular! Everyone is so nice (even if they seem to scatter when the camera comes around…) and are willing to help out whenever possible. In one of the videos I made, Cesar, the shop manager, said, “It’s a family” and he is so right. Everyone is very supportive of each other.
While I filmed and photographed a number of jobs over the last few months, there were a few that stood out to me. The first was the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills which just recently opened to the public in June. I got to take a tour with the project manager, Ralph Deligio. It is such a beautiful hotel and the balconies and rooftop bar have amazing views of Los Angeles. From the shower doors in each bathroom to the glass store fronts and the giant mirror in the lobby, Giroux really did have a hand in pretty much every room of the hotel.
The second job that stood out was the Metropolis Building in Downtown Los Angeles. It was the first time I got to go with a glazing crew on an active job. This was to replace a window on the 20th floor so a swing stage had to be utilized. I learned so much about the installation process that day and everyone there was extremely helpful. I was able to film the entire process so I had a lot of fun capturing different angles of the work being done.
Finally, I also really enjoyed seeing the Ford Theater which has been undergoing some massive renovations lately. As a theater lover, it was great to discover and explore a performance space with such a history. I’m relatively new to Los Angeles and was unaware of the Ford Theater prior to my visit with the project manager, Bruce Johnson. It really is a lovely space that has a sleek new look thanks to the renovations that Giroux and others worked on.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity Giroux has given me this summer to practice my camera skills and create some fun content for the marketing department. I’ve learned a lot and really appreciate the experiences I’ve had. As I head back to school for the fall semester, I know I’ll be able to take what I’ve learned here at Giroux and use it moving forward.