Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Obstacle courses and other obstructions

I’m sure there was a really good reason the producers of this movie opted to shoot in a private home instead of building a set on a stage.

I just can’t think of it. The house is in the flight path of both LAX and Santa Monica Airport, so there’s a constant stream of jets and single engine planes flying over. The damage list is already alarmingly high (film crews don’t mean to destroy your house, it just kind of happens) in both the ‘hero’ house and the house next door where we’re staging equipment.  We’re also racking up overtime because of crowding and noise.

The problem with even the largest house is that the walls won’t come out, so traffic jams happen when the DP decides to, say, place the camera in the only door leading into a small bathroom or at the base of the only staircase.

On a stage, the walls of a set can wild (come out easily) for faster access and there’s always a way around whatever equipment’s causing the traffic jam.

The other problem in our current location is our own self-generated noise. Since this particular home is built in the loft style with very high ceilings and a lot of tile, there’s no noise dampening at all.  Even whispered conversations are magnified, and because the important people have taken to sitting in the set and talking (and laughing, and singing show tunes) while we’re trying to work, it’s almost impossible to hear anything, even with the walkie turned up all the way.

The ADs can’t do anything about it because it’s the executive producers doing the laughing and singing, so we all just have to suck it up and try to do our best.

The other problem we’re having is equipment. This particular rental house (and the producer usually chooses the lowest bidder) apparently sent all their good gear to the subsidy states, because we’re being sent out some spectacularly old equipment.

The problem with old equipment is that it almost never works properly, since it’s not been maintained. It’s just been sitting in some warehouse, waiting for either the scrapper or a show that doesn’t have a choice about taking it.

Even the dust on this thing was old.

Yes, that’s a light that’s so old it was manufactured in West Germany. I think stirrup leggings were still in fashion when West Germany ceased to exist.

Why has this thing not been scrapped? Oh, right. Because they can send it to us, and not have to bother shipping any of the good equipment back from Louisiana.

Except that this light, along with about 40% of our other lights, didn’t work.

The rental house has been out every single day to exchange bad lamps, ballasts, stands, etc…

But the new stuff they bring out isn’t any better than the busted up garbage we’re sending back. Normally, after a few fuck ups, the rental house gets embarrassed and starts sending out the nice new shiny stuff that they normally only send out on commercials (commercials pay the best, so they get the best stuff).

But since I’ve not seen anything shiny or new, I’m guessing this isn’t going to get any better.

Filed under: locations, movies, Photos, Work, , , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    It’s like when I show up for a client meeting and find that they have set up a slide projector for me to use in my presentation. Irony can be so ironic sometimes.

  2. lighttech says:

    all this stuff that needs fixing and I –who art the one who fixes stuff sits at home –humm who are these morons maybe I can drop of a resume???

    and you getting busted stuff reminds me of a rental shop i worked at years ago, the owners where starting to hire “monkeys” and let go or scare off the “good old “crew guys like me for lower pay and such
    well the new guys and the new shop foreman ( aka the whipper) who was there to “speed” stuff up thought that quantity not quality was best and on one show we where doing out in Malibu they sent out a busted lamp. when the monkey that drove out for that busted lamp, got back to the shop and checked it back into stock. He did not check it in to “repair” he just left it by the work station, Well the next monkey found it and sent it out on the same truck to the same show, Then add one more times of this routine till they sent a “good” lamp.
    I personally just watched the whole thing and never said a thing, as being an old crew guy we had told them a million times “do it right and you will never have issues” and they did not care even that new foreman did not

    The thing that was wrong with he lamp you ask –it was missing a LENS!!!! for Christ sake. the one thing if you do even the basic look over –YOU FIND!!!
    man did I give that foreman shit over letting “his” guys do that one 2 times the wrong way!!

  3. A.J. says:

    I simply can’t get over the fact that the lamp’s so old, the plate says “Arnold & Richter.” I’ve worked with some pieces that are decades older than I am, and they’ve all been “new” enough to say “Arri”.

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