Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

It’s there, but I don’t have it

It’s been a very long time since I fell asleep at the wheel while driving home.

The first time, it was after a 16+ hour overnight in the high desert and I dozed off while stuck in rush hour gridlock. I woke up when my face hit the steering wheel, but luckily my foot never came off the brake.

There have been a few more times over the years – mostly just weaving on the road and having to roll down the windows or stomp the floor of the car with my left foot.

It just became a thing. Night work meant a fun drive home trying to out-weave the drunks, but I never felt concerned (if I should have is another post).

But I was really frightened Saturday morning when I dozed off while travelling southbound on the 405 at approximately 80 mph.

Luckily, I just weaved in my lane and then stomped the hell out of the floor of my car and made it home.

Wait.. let me back up.

This time of year work is thin, so when I got a call to work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I said yes before I asked any questions.

It was only after I was booked that the best boy told me it would be all nights on the other side of town.

Nights bother me a lot more now than they did when I was younger – I have a much harder time adjusting, and if I’m flipping between days and nights it’s even worse.

It would have been bad form for me to say ‘no’ after accepting the job, even with the construction in the unit above me (they say they’re remodeling it, but really I just think they’re chopping holes in the walls, patching them and cutting them out again just for practice), so I was stuck.

Lucky for me I was with a wonderful bunch of guys that I really like a lot – but that construction starts up at 7 am and I can’t sleep later, even with earplugs and a white noise machine, so even with the interim days off I spent an entire week on so little sleep I think it might have qualified as cruel and unusual.

As an added bonus, Friday’s pre-call ‘breakfast’ of a seemingly harmless turkey burger resulted in a three-day bout with rotavirus.

I got picked up for this week as well, which is great, but it’s been 7 am call times all week. Between the sleep loss and the power cleanse today was the first day I’ve felt even vaguely human.

Tomorrow, our call time is 6 am in west bumfuck, so I will have to get out of bed at 4:30. AM.

We have 9 pages to shoot, but it’s all day exterior and we don’t have enough lamps to make daylight*, so it can’t go all that late.

Since I didn’t post anything last week, please enjoy an apology photo of uplit trees and a condor with someone besides me in the basket:

P1050103

 

*It is possible to shoot day exterior at night, but you need a lot of equipment. Like a 48 foot trailer full of HMIs. Then, when the sun goes down, we unload the truck and curse our poor life decisions.

 

 

 

 

Filed under: crack of dawn, cranky, locations, long long drives, movies, Photos, up all night, Work, , , , , , , , ,

It’s resolution time!

No, not mine.

At this stage of my life, I’ve given up all hope of self-improvement and am just aiming for remembering to brush my teeth.

No, no.. it’s that time of year when folks make a resolution to get in shape and descend on the gym like a horde of sweaty, confused locusts.

While I certainly want to encourage people to exercise, this time of year can be unpleasant for those of us who have become accustomed to the less-populated gym of the off months.

I realize it’s not possible for the staff to walk everyone through the basics of gym citizenship, so here’s a few points directed at the resolution crowd:

1. Re-rack your weights. For fuck’s sake – do you think those dumbbells are going to grow eyes and legs and show themselves back to the rack? Of course you don’t. Fucking pick them up and put them back. If I trip over them I’ll tie your shoelaces together while you’re sitting on a bench chatting.

2. Speaking of which, if you’re not actively using something, don’t fucking sit on it. It’s not your private garage fitness room, it’s a space you have to share with several hundred of your new best friends. Normally, I’d say watch the bodybuilders and do what they do, but those bastards plant their asses and proceed to gossip like fishwives, so in this regard, ignore them and keep the long involved conversations to the juice bar or the couches in the lounge area.

3. You might think that eau de mouffette dans un jardin smells divine. You might want to douse yourself with three bottles of it before you work out just to share. Please don’t.  This goes double and triple for the pool and the steam room. Do, however, feel free to liberally apply deodorant. Please, for the love of all that’s fucking holy, liberally apply deodorant.

4. Wipe your sweat off of the equipment. You’re carrying that towel around for a reason – it’s certainly not a fashion statement. If I have to scrub something down before I can use it, I’m going to find you and bill you.

5. The cardio areas and the pool get very, very crowded. Please, if you see people waiting, keep it to a half an hour. I know, I know. No one likes to have to get off the treadmill or out of the pool after only half an hour (personally, I hate it), but remember we’re sharing space here. If you stick it out, the gym will eventually be less crowded and you’ll be able to stay on for the full hour (or even more!)

6. Speaking of the pool, at various times of the day classes will reserve lanes. Although this particular gym has a masters swim program (and we’re pretty mellow), mostly they’re aqua exercise classes populated by sweet little old ladies who will gut you like a trout if you don’t get out of that lane three seconds ago. You’ve been warned.

7. If you don’t know how to use something, ask. One of the trainers will help you, or if you can’t find them, another gym member will be more than happy to walk you through how to properly use the kegelnator.

8. Please be nice to the locker room attendants. They’re very nice ladies (gentlemen on the guys’ side) and have to clean a bathroom all day, every day. Think about that before you scream at them.

9. This particular gym provides towels. It’s a very nice amenity, and we’d like the gym to continue to provide it and not decide it’s too much of a pain in the ass to bother with. So pick them up and place them in the hamper when you’re done with them. They’ll be happy to be with their friends.

10. Gentlemen, if you’re rocking those 70’s style running shorts, please wear an athletic supporter underneath. Sit ups and unsupported junk in tiny shorts is something I can’t unsee no matter how much I drink.

Happy New Year and have a great workout!

Filed under: cranky, humor, life in LA, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , , ,

You can never find one when you want one

My garden, while only about a mile from where I used to live, is currently 8 miles away.

Interestingly, it takes the exact same amount of time to drive as it does to bike, and since the bike doesn’t burn $4 a gallon gas I usually prefer to ride than drive.

But lately I’ve had this shoulder issue, and it seems to cycle (no pun intended) between ‘getting better’ and  ‘won’t this thing ever stop fucking hurting’.

Today’s physical therapy appointment wasn’t until noon, and since I’ve been in a ‘getting better’ phase, I decided to bike instead of drive. Hey, I’m unemployed and gas is expensive (for the US).

So I hopped on the bike and headed out. I swear I behaved – I didn’t lean on the handlebars and I stayed off of the drops. I got to the garden fine – no pain and I felt really good. I dumped my veggie scraps into my compost bin, watered the seedlings (leeks, rutabegas, parsnips, beets and celery that looks like it’s not going to come up), admired the out-of-control fava beans (looks like I’m in for another 50 lb harvest from my tiny plot), and weeded for a few minutes.

I then headed out as I needed to be at the PT place.

About a mile into the return trip, I started hurting. Bad.

I then, for the first time in my life, decided to do the sensible thing and catch a bus back home.

I found a bus stop and sat. And sat, and sat and sat.

With the clock ticking (can’t be late, don’t want to anger tiny Asian woman who is torturing me), I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer and started riding, figuring eventually a bus would catch up to me and then I could give my poor shoulder some rest.

Except no bus came. I kept looking over my shoulder, hoping I’d see something – anything. Any bus would do.

Nope. Nothing.

Normally, when I’m biking, I have to avoid being flattened by a bus approximately every five minutes, so the complete lack of buses just when I really needed one was maddening.

Every time I looked back and didn’t see a bus, I’d let loose with a torrent of language that would likely shock a sailor. At one traffic light, a police car pulled up beside me, and the nice officer asked me what the problem was.

“I’m hurting and need to catch a bus, but now I can’t find one.”

“So.. they’re just like cops, then?”

Yes, indeed. Just like cops. Only not on a frantic manhunt which involves several innocent drivers getting shot up.

I finally saw a bus two block from my apartment.

Bastards.

Filed under: cranky, humor, life in LA, Los Angeles, mishaps, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s the 6th day that gets you

The problem with six day weeks isn’t days one through five. Those days are fine. Long and filled with silliness, but fine.

Nope it’s the 6th day. That’s the shitty day. The day when one hurts as soon as me gets out of bed. The day when one can’t seem to focus or remember much for longer than a few minutes.

Sunday, I got up, shuffled to the kitchen and stared into the fridge for about a minute before I realized that everything inside had gone bad and would need to be thrown out.

I then did laundry, shuffled around aimlessly and then went back to bed.

I’ve started out our last week tired and unable to think – and  this week will most likely be 14 hours every day with 10 hour turnaround every night.

So I come home and make some incoherent notes and then go to bed.

The posts are there, I just haven’t gotten to them yet – When I can, I’ll go back and actually post them. I know it’s ‘blog cheating’, but it’ll still be entertaining, I promise.

I’m off to work after the Monday 10 hour turnaround for the Tuesday 14 hour  day.

Filed under: cranky, locations, movies, up all night, Work

The beginning of the end, maybe?

This past weekend was a real eye-opener for me. I knew the industry was slow here in Los Angeles, but when I sat in a continuing education classroom at Contract Services with a bunch of guys who are usually always busy (and I mean always), all anyone could talk about was  how thin work has gotten around here.

Yikes. If the heavy hitters aren’t making ends meet, what hope do the rest of us have? I’m currently getting enough work to keep the wolves at bay, but that, of course, can change at any time.

For those of you not familiar, over the past few years several other states (and countries) have been handing producers suitcases full of cash in order to lure film production away from California. I think the technical term is incentives, but really it’s a bribe.

And it’s worked very successfully.  There is currently almost no production in California, but Louisiana and Georgia (the newcomer to the world of corporate kickbacks) are hopping.

I love my job and I’d like to keep doing it, but I’d rather drink poison than move to Georgia or Louisiana (nothing personal, you understand), so the question is how long I can hang on. An added complication is my being  well past the age of being able to snag a rich husband.

Note to parents of girls: Look at my life. This is what happens when you teach your daughters self-reliance. They end up alone, without  Botox, veneers, or overpriced sports cars and worrying about how to pay the bills.

I just have myself and the cat, so as long as I can get enough hours to keep my health insurance, I’ll tighten my belt and soldier on.

But what about the people with families?

One state ends their sop and another starts up. Since most of these subsidies actually cost the states money (currently for every dollar of film revenue that Louisiana brings in, it spends $7.30*), it’s baffling that they keep doing it, but I’m certainly not one to underestimate the capability of humans to not in any way, shape or form learn from our mistakes.

Most of us who have spent our entire working lives in the film industry have skills that don’t easily translate to the real world, and even if we do decide to branch out, we have resumes that are confusing and frightening to anyone not familiar with the transient nature of film production (“No, it’s the same job, for the same people.. just with a different name on the letter head”).

So Wednesday, I have a career counseling appointment at The Actors’ Fund to see if I have any chance of any sort of work at all once production in California dries up for good.

Or, even better,  if I can manage to start some sort of business that legally appropriates taxpayer money just like the studios are doing.

I suspect not, but we’ll see.

*http://www.labudget.org/lbp/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/LBP-Report.Louisiana-Film-Tax-Credits.pdf

Filed under: cranky, life in LA, rants, , , , ,

Friday Photo

Earlier this week, I worked 40 hours in three days, with a five hour turnaround (one show to another, so there’s no minimum) between day two and day three.

Although I knew it was going to hurt, I wasn’t prepared to still be exhausted two days later.  Guess I’m getting old.

So, since I still can’t think and am planning on doing a lot of napping today, here’s a photo:

We know all your secrets

From a reality show about cooking (hence the restaurant setting). Careful what you say!

Filed under: camera, cranky, Photos, up all night, Work, ,

Some weeks are better than others

This week started out so well. Work’s picking up, the weather’s been gorgeous, etc…

Until Tuesday, when I decided to go to the grocery store, and because I needed some bulky stuff, I took the car.

Midway through my backing out of my parking space in the six-space carport, the neighbor’s little rat-dog ran across the alley and under my wheels, and in an attempt not to flatten said rat-dog, I swerved and hit the support post instead.

Which would have been fine, except my current car is apparently made of vacu-formed tinfoil as the low-speed oopsie resulted in the following:

One torn off driver’s side mirror

One severely dented front driver’s side door.

One fucked up front quarter panel.

One fucked up front bumper.

One $500 deductible.

One rat-dog owner refusing to admit that she’s at fault.

Awesome. So now, I’m on the hook for five Benjamins and my car has to go to the body shop for an undisclosed amount of time.

Also, I’ve spent eons on the phone with said insurance company and will now get a point on my license and jacked-up rates for the foreseeable future.

Lucky for me my insurance covers a portion of the rental car – not all of it, of course, but some of it.

Gods bless America.

So for the next week or so, I’ll be driving a Prius, which is what the rental car company gave me. Side of smug is on the house.

And five days of work turned into three.

How was your week?

Filed under: cranky, life in LA, mishaps, Non-Work, Off-Topic, overspending, , , , , , , , ,

Why I lie.

Sometimes, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I make something up. Usually, it’s something boring, like data entry, telephone customer service, or prostitution.
I can usually get a feel for when I need to lie – but today while I was at  the gym I missed it, probably due to fatigue after having worked out.
I’ve seen the lady many times before, both in the locker room and on the gym floor, and she’s always seemed nice enough. Today, she waited until I was naked, then asked me what I did for a living, and due to oxygen deprivation after a swim I told her I worked set lighting.
She paused,  then asked me if there were any way I could get a script to Past Her Prime Starlet.
I tried to explain to her that PHPS would likely not even speak to us dirty toolbelt people, and probably wouldn’t even hit her brakes if she saw one of us in a crosswalk, so my attempting to get a script to her was futile at best and a fast track to the ‘don’t call her to work any more’ category at worst.
She just kept telling me I should help her out, and I kept trying to explain to her that she was, as they say, barking up the wrong tree.
Remind me next time someone asks to tell them I pull cans out of the garbage for a living.

Filed under: cranky, Non-Work

Gaaah!

All this internet synchronicity stuff is supposed to make everyone’s lives easier.  Applications talk to each other, share bookmarks, recipes, plans for world domination, etc..

Everything’s automatic, so humanity can waste away our lives playing video games. Or something.

Until it stops working.

Now, all of a sudden, Twitter and Facebook aren’t speaking to one another and despite my telling them to work it out and get over it, there’s still an internet stony silence.

After upgrading my cell plan,  I now have a smart phone (which is turning out not to be all that smart). I’m told that I can do all sorts of things with it, except when it posts something to a blog (this one or the couch blog), Twitter, Facebook and the RSS reader don’t see it.  Also the formatting’s seriously fucked up.

Which sucks, because one of the reasons I got the smart phone was to make updating the blog easier. And to play time-wasting games.

Of course, there’s no way on any of the mobile apps to change this sort of setting, and no matter how hard I press the buttons on the ‘real’ computer, nothing changes.

The ‘smart’ phone also has a battery life of approximately 15 seconds, so instead of uploading clever shit to the internet, I now spend most of my day frantically searching for someplace – anyplace – to charge the damn phone before it dies and I can’t call ‘911’ when some axe murderer appears out of nowhere and attempts to say hello.

Stupid phone. Stupid internet. Stupid technology.

I’d also like to take this time to mention that any ads you see on the blog are placed there by WordPress. I have nothing to do with them, I get nothing from them and I can’t turn them off no matter how hard I try.

Filed under: cranky, Non-Work, Off-Topic, rants

Corporate vandalism in a broke city

DISCLAIMER: I did a long-ish bike ride in the heat today and am tired and cranky. Lector Caveo.

As you may or may not know, the city of Los Angeles is broke. Even more broke than the proverbial joke. They’re cutting back on services to the needy, laying off police,  firefighters and teachers in an attempt to make ends meet.

One of the financial responsibilities of the city is graffiti removal. On vertical surfaces, this involves juvenile delinquents (the ones who got caught) slapping a coat of paint that doesn’t quite match the building over the graffiti, and it’s done.

But stuff that’s been sprayed on sidewalks requires a skilled crew to come out with a sandblaster, at what I can’t imagine is a small expense.

Did I mention the city’s broke? Yes, yes I did.  So you can imagine how upset I was when I saw this:

Assholes.

Yup. That’s a misguided attempt at ‘viral marketing’ spray painted on a city sidewalk.

It’s going to have to be sandblasted off, costing the city money that it doesn’t have.  

Of course, the city won’t go after these idiots for the removal costs, but they should.  Also of course, someone’s being robbed right now and there’s no police around because they’ve had their hours cut.

Assholes. Straining a broke city’s resources because some ad agency asshat wanted to try out that newfangled stuff that the kids like.


So fuck you, overpriced flip-flops and the worthless shit-stain of an agency you rode in on.


If I find the person who cooked up this ‘idea’, I’m going to beat them to death with their own copy of Adweek. Or an overpriced flip-flop. Whichever’s closer.

Filed under: cranky, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, Photos, rants

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