Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

About me

I work in the film industry, as a set lighting technician. When I’m not schlepping cable or burning my fingers I’m one of those seemingly ubiquitous independent filmmakers (when I can find some sucker nice person to give me enough money), but until I sell something the big movies pay the bills. I like my job – it’s never the same thing two days in a row, and its always interesting, even on the days it’s not easy.

Yes, I did go to college. A good one. Yes, I am wasting my education. Although I shouldn’t be okay with this, somehow it doesn’t bother me.

I’m female, I live in Los Angeles, California, with a cat who tolerates my presence as long as I keep the food bowl full, and in my spare time I conjugate irregular French verbs, work in my garden, and roam the city taking photos of abandoned couches, which can be seen on the Abandoned Couches blog. I also write the occasional article for LAist and some of those paper publications.

My knees went to shit a few years back and I can’t run anymore, but I do like to ride my bicycle and swim. Not at the same time, though.

Peggy Archer is a nom de plume, and I’ll thank you to keep any guesses at the real name to yourselves.

Members of the media who are seeking clarification about some of those weird job titles are welcome (and encouraged) to contact me and ask any questions. Please contact me. If you use the phrase “all the gaffers” one more time I’m going find the cutest puppy I can and kick it. Repeatedly. Do you want that on your conscience? I didn’t think so.

Questions, kudos, Nigerian scam emails, sexual propositions, and couch photos may be sent to: randomblogmail@yahoo.com

5 Responses

  1. Dion Eib says:

    I love your blog , It reminds me so much of my years at general telephone .It got very f–ked up there too.

  2. MBFH says:

    I’ve enjoyed your blog ever since the Times article. In fact I got into MAJOR trouble from my production manager at the production company I was working at the time for reading it on the job. I don’t work there anymore.

    Anyway, your exploits keep me feeling connected to the biz, even though my actual crew experience outside of the above mentioned prod co. was gripping for a commercial shoot at an indian casino near Fresno.

    The production company was out of Phoenix. I was hired to grip for three days. The day before the shoot, my car crapped out. I called the Production Coordinator to let her know I wouldn’t be able to work the shoot as I didn’t have a way up from Bakersfield to the reservation. She told me that I could ride up with the talent if I could get to the talent agency office by 6:00 am. That would put me on set at 8:00 am. When I reminded her my call was for 5:30, she told me not to worry, it wasn’t crucial for me to be there at 5:30 and she’d work it out with production.

    When I arrived in the talent van at 8:00, everybody was flipping out that I was almost three hours late. She’d forgotten to mention to the gaffer (who I’d be working with that day) that I was coming up with talent.

    She calmed him down, explained the mix up and he was cool for the whole day. Everyone else pretty much shot me the hairy eyeball all day.

    At days end, there were only a few inserts to shoot, and my boss told me to help a couple of the other grips store some equipment in a ballroom for the next days shoot, then I could ride back down the mountain with talent.

    When I was finished, he told the DP (who was a partner in the prod. co)that he was wrapping me for the day. At which point the DP said (for everyone to hear) “Fuck him! If he can’t get here on time, he can wait ’til we’re ALL through. AND I don’t want him back tomorrow.”

    So the talent van took off without me. The next casino bus back to town wasn’t until 2pm the next day. Luckily one of the camera assistants was heading back to LA for another project and I caught a ride with him.

    The only upside to the whole thing was the woman that hired me also screwed up the paperwork for my pay, and I was paid for all three days. Yay!

  3. As a young film student I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures out there in the real film industry. Nice of you to say that about getting in touch to ask about roles, I always find that an intimidating aspect as it can be awkward if you don’t know exactly what people’s roles are, especially when so many are similar/overlapping.

  4. Surena says:

    You seem so fun I can’t wait to read more of your posts. I worked in theater for a bit and on a few film sets as wardrobe and makeup so it’s fun hearing all the shenanigans that go on. <3

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