Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

When working up high, it’s very, very important to stay safe and be certain that nothing falls. Even something seemingly harmless like a roll of tape or a pen can cause problems if it plummets 40 feet.
So, everything is either kept in a container (a box, a milk crate, etc…) or tied off to the rails.

Like this:

20131004-191306.jpg

Normally, one wouldn’t bother to tie off a can of iced tea, but this happened to be in a high traffic area (near the ladder) and clearly someone felt the need to stay safe. And keep their tea out of the cardboard box of water and soda we’d brought up with us.  Anything in the main drink/snack stash is community property and subject to drinking by anyone at any time. But a can, tied off to a railing is clearly private property.

Filed under: Photos, studio lots, Work, , , , , ,

Offensensitivity

Wherever bored dudes congregate, eventually all sorts of graffiti will appear. Mostly names and dates, but also the occasional drawing of a penis, boobs, or political endorsement.

But a few years ago a female co-worker and I found the granddaddy of all obscene scrawls. Naked women in the dirty magazine pose (on the knees with naughty bits facing the audience) with graphically detailed genitals.

If you’re female in this business you have to be able to ignore quite a bit that would, in any other industry, result in a successful lawsuit, but this was a bit much, even though we both admired the artistic talent and attention to detail.

This was a man who could definitely have found the clitoris.

My co-worker decided she didn’t want to spend the next few months looking at these, and used her own considerable artistic talent to make them not so….female.  And very well endowed.

We’re down for a week on the sitcom (actress is “sick”), so I took a day rigging at the very stage where the naughty drawings had been. Of course, the first thing I did upon going into the perms was have a look.

Someone had blacked out the altered naughty bits and added a bit of choice narrative alongside about “art”.

I’m not sure which one I found better – the fact that someone had taken the time to black out dick drawings, which are on just about every surface in the perms (I usually don’t photograph them, but they’re there, trust me), or the dogged effort to compose a few paragraphs about artistic freedom in the medium of marker and wooden beam.

Kudos to you, anonymous freedom guy.

And yes, I feel safe in assuming it was a guy.

In other non-genital related news, it’s finally cooling off here in Los Angeles. Today felt not at all like the surface of the sun, which was nice.

After our down week, I go back to sitcom world for another week or two and then I’m back to hustling any best boy I can find for work.

I will, however, have gotten my required 400 hours to keep my benefits through the end of 2014, for which I am extremely grateful.

Also, I have no idea what’s going on with those super annoying text link ads that you’re seeing. I’m trying to figure out how to turn them off.

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

From one extreme to the other

Monday, I was working the shooting set, so I showed up early, dosed up on free coffee, and then stood in the air conditioning (the stage was so cold I needed a sweater to keep from shivering) and walked lights around at the gaffer’s direction. The set was a slow one – hard to get into, hard to move around once inside, no place to stage lights within easy reach, so we did a bit of running, but still…

That air conditioning was awesome, and our gaffer and DP both understood about the access problems, so there were no ‘impatient moments’ all day.

Since Monday was the last day of shooting, I got invited back to wrap the stage, which was a good thing – nice guys on the crew and a stage so close to my house I can bike to work.

Originally, production wanted to wrap the entire stage in two days with two guys – luckily, they were shamed by the derisive laughter into giving us three days with four guys (that, and the production office is on a stage that was a very difficult and slow wrap, so they were more than likely already watching and re-thinking), which allows us to finish in time without killing ourselves (remember: haste makes injury).

The first day, we wrapped all the loose stuff on the floor (lamps, distro, etc..) and took down all the lamps and hardware from the pipe grid (luckily, no vertigo moments for me).

Today we realized just how lucky we were to get the extra days and extra guys when we went up in the perms and saw exactly how much cable was there – when you see a light hanging above a set, there’s a lot of cable associated with said lamp (enough to run across the perms from the ‘can’ to the lamp and then down to where the lamp’s hanging, usually right above the set. Average cable to hanging lamp ratio for stages that have power available in the perms is 150 – 200 feet. If there’s no power upstairs, then double that as the power will have to run from the ground up to the perms, then across and down again), but what we saw was bordering on overkill – and not laid out neatly either – this stuff looked like Medusa’s hair on a windy day. Twisted, knotted, piled up randomly – someone at some point had tried to make space on the floor by tying bunches of cable to the knee rail every five feet, which meant that we had to walk along while bent over and cut the ties before we could even start to wrap.

Normally, we wrap the stuff on top first and then work our way down, but when it’s not possible to find the top, we just have to pull.

One selects a cable, pulls like hell and if the cable doesn’t move at all (or if it moves a teeny bit and that vein in the forehead blows out from the strain), then one chooses another cable and pulls like hell.

Repeat until at least two colleagues have been tripped and mess is untangled enough to tell what’s what and then pull like hell again – only with more precision.

Did I mention that it’s currently about 90 degrees outside and all the heat in an un air-conditioned stage rises to the roof? We were all completely soaked in sweat within a few minutes, so we were all very happy to come down at lunch. Not so much to eat – a meal followed by wrapping cable in the heat in a bent-over position leads to a terrible mess that looks absolutely nothing like Medusa’s hair on a windy day, but more to get a break and walk upright for half an hour or so.

I wasn’t hungry, but was afraid not to eat at all, so I had the filling of about a quarter of a sandwich and an iced tea. I normally don’t drink really cold drinks (they hurt my fillings), but today the ice-cold felt so good I didn’t care.

Then, we went back up the the perms and finished wrapping the cable. After lunch, we had an extra guy who had been on the cluster fuck that was the other stage (and who came over to help us after they were done over there instead of going home and relaxing) and we went much faster with the extra person. We managed to get everything in the perms wrapped.

Tomorrow, we’ll lower it all down to the floor (one coil at a time, using rope because although this particular stage does have hoists available, production won’t rent one for us) and then check it in when the rental house guys show up.

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Photos and a question

First, the photos:

Really old cable.

Is it fiberglass or is it asbestos?

Now, the question:

This is really, really old cable. The cable we’ve used for, well, just about forever has rubber insulation, and this is clearly not rubber.

In a debate about what, exactly it was, half of Monday’s crew thought asbestos, and the other half thought some sort of fiberglass.

So, who’s right – or were we all wrong?

What the hell is this stuff and do I need to make a panicky call to my doctor because I got my face too close to it?

Filed under: Photos, studio lots, Work, , , , , , , , , ,

September 2014
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