Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Finally! Some work!

Today, I was on the rigging crew for the first time in a long, long time. I don’t mind rigging and had the best day working with a really great bunch of guys.  Also, it’s not as hot this week as it was last week. It’s still seasonably warm (which, in August in Southern California is quite warm indeed), but that feeling that someone should be basting me was gone.

Our call time was 7:30, and we all did ‘new show’ paperwork (this is the second episode of the first season of this particular show so this is the first day they’ve had a location), and then went to the lamp dock to pick up our equipment.  When you pull equipment that’s to  be used at one location, it’s called a ‘drop load’, as in ‘we’re going to drop the load there, use it, and then return it’.

The drop load was there, but the truck wasn’t, so we counted and sorted and labeled and eventually drifted back to the stage where we helped the best boy pull some things off his truck for the location.

We then had coffee, and wandered back over to the lamp dock – still no truck.

Turns out, production had, for some reason, told transportation that we wouldn’t be going to rig until after lunch, so no one had gone to get the truck.

Boss: “That’s insane! Why would I wait until after lunch to put a rig in? I’d like to get home before next week.”

So, after our boss talked to the transpo captain, our truck appeared. Since we had a stake bed, which doesn’t have a roof, the truck was full of some sort of smelly, hard fruit and sticks. Guess they’d had it parked under a tree.

First order of business – find a broom and clean out the back of that truck. Nobody wants smelly crap stuck to the equipment, and more importantly, sticks add a degree of difficulty to loading a truck (some cart wheels won’t roll over them, one can slip on them, etc..)

That done, we loaded, headed over to the first unit truck, loaded some additional cable from there, and then headed out.

Once we got to the location and had a look at where, exactly, the cable run needed to go, it became very apparent due to some changes that had happened since the scout we were going to need more cable – just about double what we’d brought.

So we put in what we had, unloaded the dimmer packs and lights we’d brought, left two guys there to start getting the stuff in place and then headed back to the lot to  pull some more cable off the first unit truck, since apparently production wouldn’t allow any more equipment to be rented for that location.

Which is fine – equipment that rides on the main truck is usually marked with a particular color of tape so that we know not to return it (the bar codes have to match at the end of the season), and it’s not a big deal to lift some more cable.

By this time (about 2 pm) it had gotten hot. And humid (objectively humid, not humid for Los Angeles), and we were standing in the back of a stakebed (that still smelled faintly rancid from whatever that stuff was in the back) trying to get everything loaded in such a way that it wouldn’t fall over and become a big mess by the time we got to the location.

Since the trucks were ‘gate to gate ‘ (the trucks are parked with the cabs in opposite directions with the lift gates touching so that equipment can be rolled off one truck and right onto the other – sort of like a motorized Pushmi-pullyu), we were blocking some of the VIP parking spaces, but figured we’d be out of there soon enough.

Right when we had two heavy head carts on the truck but not tied down and our driver had headed off to the restroom, a man came wandering up, looked at me and said, “Excuse me, that white Mercedes is mine and your truck’s blocking me in. Do you think you can move the truck to let me out?”

I looked around for the driver, didn’t see him, so I told the man (I’m still to hot and tired to make up a clever nickname) that we’d move as soon as we could.

He said nothing, and looked down at his iPhone as he walked a few feet away to wait in the shade  of a fake bus stop while we found the driver.

The driver came out, apologized to the man for the inconvenience. The man ignored him. We strapped down the carts and pulled the truck forward enough for him to back out. He kept his head down, looking at his phone as he walked to the car. He pulled out and then drove off.

Our driver waved and cheerfully warbled “You’re welcome!”

The man didn’t wave back, although I’m fairly certain he was no longer staring at his phone.

We strapped our carts down and returned to the location to run cable.

Call time: 7 am

Wrap time 7 pm

I sweated off my sunblock before lunch so I resemble a cooked lobster. Awesome.

Filed under: locations, studio lots, Work, , , , , ,

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