Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Sometimes I don’t want to be right

I was really hoping my prediction about getting all my week’s calls for the same day was going to be wrong.

Nope – four calls for Tuesday and then nothing for the rest of the week.  Not ideal, but not a bad thing, either, as yesterday it started to rain and, predictably, all of Los Angeles went into panic mode and the terrifyingly wet streets.

So I cleaned the apartment, did the laundry, did some work on a side project that’s been keeping me too busy to write posts as often as I’d like, brushed the cat and got my annual physical (my cholesterol is good but my blood pressure has me at death’s door in the next week or two. Damn parents. This is their fault).

Since next Thursday is a holiday, there will only be three work days next week so although I’ll be happy to get some work I’m not holding my breath.

Since I’ve been roped into doing some cooking for Thanksgiving (cornbread, herb rolls, carrot cranberry salad and kale chips), it might not be bad to at the very least have Wednesday off.  The cornbread’s my great-grandmother’s recipe and has to be started Tuesday as the cornmeal needs to ferment (I know, it sounds gross, but it’s really good).

We’ll see. I’ll be happy for any day I get.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , ,

Precipocalypse!

Earlier in the week, the overly tanned weather bot had predicted a slight chance of rain, maybe but probably not.

So yesterday, I watered my garden (my celery children are sprouting! I can’t wait to devour them), and figured I’d have to come back Friday to water again if it stayed so unseasonably warm.

Then, this morning about 3 am, I started having dreams about the dog eating my homework. Odd, since I don’t have a dog and haven’t had to do homework in a number of years.

I woke up enough to ID the crunchy paper sound as water falling on the battered aluminum ladder that permanently resides in the alley behind the building and thought that I’d wasted a trip to the garden to water when, if I’d just procrastinated a bit longer, nature would have taken care of it for me. I hate it when that happens.

When I finally woke up at a more civilized hour, it was still raining, but lightly. A bit more than a drizzle, but not quite what one would call a rain.

Since any sort of dampness whatsoever throws the streets of Los Angeles into complete chaos, I opted to don my rain gear and walk the 1/2 mile to the physical therapist’s office instead of taking part in the gridlock.

As I was leaving, my neighbor walked by and  said “You’re venturing out into the storm? Be careful!”

When I got to the physical therapists office it had picked up a bit,  but was still not, by any means a heavy rain.

The receptionist asked “Oh, is it still storming out there? I can’t believe it!”

Welcome to Los Angeles.

After spending an hour having the physical therapist beat me about the head and shoulders with a Flintsone-type hammer (or at least that’s what it felt like), I headed out into the superstorm of light drizzle.

Spoiler alert: I got home okay.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , ,

And why wouldn’t it?

Today was our last day in our ‘hero’ house, so we had, in addition to the day’s work, some scenes to re-shoot (one because the producers didn’t think our stunningly beautiful lead actress looked ‘pretty enough’), and about a million inserts.

The call sheet looked like a Tolstoy novel before editing, and we all knew it was going to be a long day – even if they wrapped on time, we still had to load our truck. In the rain, of course, because why wouldn’t it be raining on the day we had to clean up and load our truck?

After several weeks at a location, you get comfortable and stuff spreads out despite efforts at housekeeping, so there’s a massive last-minute expedition to hunt down the scattered gear and organize it (Boss: “Why are the tweenie* doors on the back of the toilet in the bathroom?” Me: [pause] “I. Don’t. Know.”)

After they finally called wrap – at the last minute before the producer stomped on set and pulled the plug, because why wouldn’t they use every minute they had to finish the massive call sheet – we were cleaning out the house, happy to be done with the place, but trying to work as quickly as we could as the siren call of home and a hot shower was too much to resist.

The homeowner had thoughtfully provided wooden ramps so we could wheel carts up the low stairs into the house, as I was carrying one of the aforementioned tweenies down the ramp, I slipped on the wet wood and landed right on my knee.

Of course. If I’m going to get hurt at work, why wouldn’t it be right at wrap when my co-workers really need me? I’m told I screamed like a girl when it happened, although I have no such recollection.

Our medic iced the knee, gave me some painkillers and some paperwork to fill out (in that order. Hope I did it right), then wrapped it (the knee, not the paperwork) so it would hold weight and I hobbled out to help load the carts.

One of my co-workers had slipped on the same ramp a few hours before and injured the opposite leg, so we joked that between us we made one complete electrician.

I’m icing the knee now in the hopes that the swelling will go down – I’m officially in 10 hour turnaround (the elapsed time between when one is dismissed for the day and when one must report back to work the next day), so I can’t ice for too long.

That sleep thing needs to happen.

Tomorrow’s work is in a hospital, so if the knee really hurts I know where there will be a doctor or three.

Call time: 9:30 am

Wrap time: 9:30 pm

We closed the doors of our truck at 11:00 pm.

*The tweenie is one of the workhorses of the lighting department. It’s a 650 watt light that’s small enough to hide easily, but puts out a nice amount of light, and no matter how many of them we order, it’s never enough.

 

Filed under: hazardous, locations, long long drives, mishaps, movies, Work, , , , , , , ,

The Derp is Deep.

Oh, did I say ‘get a job’?

What I really meant was ‘send around a resume and make a million calls only to be told that film industry work experience doesn’t transfer over to the real world’, which I kind of already knew.

One person did tell me that I’d make a really good insurance salesperson, which I’m not sure if I should interpret as an insult or not.

For some reason I always thought jobs paying only commission were illegal, but there seem to be a whole lot of them listed. Or maybe it’s just Craig’s List.

Or maybe it’s just me.

I won’t take anything that’s going to pay less than unemployment, as the state’s UI is just barely more than my bills, so slinging fast food at the drooling masses isn’t on the card, and speaking of drooling masses, what the hell is up with people wanting a photo of applicants? Is that not also illegal?

Also, if you’re going to list a job for copywriters on the internet, the very least you could do is make sure your follow-up email is correctly spelled.

In other news, the entire town is currently in the grip of a rain related panic. Not only is the predicted hellstorm of skywater going to moisten the city like it’s never been moistened before, but it’s coming from the south so it’s warm.  The good citizens of Los Angeles can’t seem to wrap our collective minds around the concept of warm rain.

“It’s sort of like a shower, right? Except outside tand I have to wear clothes.  And it’s all sticky. Like humidity, but we’re in California so that can’t happen here.”

Save us all.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , , , , , , ,

Wackiness Ensues

Friday, there was a big long discussion about the equipment we would need for our day exterior yesterday.

Since Monday was predicted to be overcast, we anticipated having to manufacture our own sunlight and requested a tow plant (a generator which is towed as opposed to being mounted on the tractor) and two 18ks.

Production shot us down and told us we could have a 5500 watt portable Honda (referred to as a putt-putt) and a 4k HMI.

The first problem we had was the rain. We were shooting inserts for a scene which had been shot in full sunlight, and since we were being rained on no matter how close we got the camera to the hand with the key (or something) the one small light we had just wasn’t enough to make the shot match, were we even able to use it.

Which brings me to the problem with the generator itself.

Most of these portable generators have a 60 amp outlet, which is enough to power one light which pulls about 40 amps.  So we were very surprised to see this:

Who thought this was a good idea?

That, dear readers, is a 60 amp outlet with a 20 amp breaker, thus rendering said outlet completely useless for our purposes.

None of us can figure out the logic behind  doing that, but clearly there was some as every single putt-putt on the lamp dock with a 60 amp outlet had a 20 amp breaker.

So, after a mad last-minute scramble, we procured a 1200 amp tow plant and an 18k (but just one – not the two that we’d asked for) to get the shots we needed.

At, might I add, considerably more expense and delay than had we been able to arrange all this Friday.

Once we got back to the stage, the rest of the day was all about screaming babies and trying desperately to get them to shut the fuck up and look adorable for 10 seconds.

The babies, of course, were having none of it, and since legally we can only keep them on set for a certain amount of time, we’ll have to go back and try to get the shot another day.

Oh, and Happy Valentines Day, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Filed under: Photos, Work, , , , , , , , , , ,

Aquapolypse!

Here in Los Angeles, we take all sorts of natural disasters in stride. Earthquakes, tsunamis, out-of-control wind-driven fires, killer bees, Brett Ratner… none of them even make us drop our lattes.

Until the unthinkable happens and water begins to fall from the sky.

Then, we panic uncontrollably, run screaming to the grocery stores for supplies (can’t run out of Pinot Grigio, now can we? Oh, wait.. Are you supposed to drink white wine or red in a raging storm that will be the death of us all? Somebody help me before my head explodes), drive recklessly through the damp streets, crash our cars and then swear never, ever to leave the house ever again if there’s even a hint of that evil sky water on the horizon.

So with the news predicting an all-out onslaught of scattered showers throughout the weekend, my lack of work was not such a terrible thing, since I get very, very nervous even attempting to drive (or bike, or walk) around panicky Angelenos who are trying to clean the local grocer out of anything even remotely edible while fighting the onslaught of frizzy hair.

Although I did venture out to visit  the gym, I  avoided all grocery stores and, just to be safe, hardware stores and booksellers.

As predicted, it’s been drizzling intermittently all afternoon and I’m now home,  watching the news coverage of the colossal traffic jam.

Oh, the humanity.

Filed under: camera, humor, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Photos, , , , , ,

But I waaaaaant to!

I thought I had a day of work today, but it got cancelled at the last minute – which is fine.

Okay, it’s not fine. I need the money and losing a day of work sucks ass, but since there’s no use crying over spilled milk I went to the chiropractor instead.

My plan was to get an adjustment, magically feel better and then spend the rainy afternoon swimming.

When I shared this plan with the doctor, he paused and said, “I don’t think you should go swimming today. I think you should go home, ice your hip and take it easy”

But… but it’s raining.

One of the few guilt-free pleasures in my life is swimming in the gym’s heated outdoor pool on a rainy day.

For some reason, people don’t want to get in the water when it’s rainy (go figure), so I’m usually the only one in the pool. The water’s heated to the mid-eighties which is a bit too warm for lap swimming, but the rain on my back is cool and it’s quiet and relaxing and I can concentrate on my form instead of trying not to get kicked in the ribs as my lane-mate passes me.

We’re having a dry year, too. Who knows when I’ll have a nice quiet swim again?

Although I was tempted to ignore his advice – after all, he’s not a real doctor – the fact that he made my hip about 90% less painful is reason enough for me to listen, even though it’s a different kind of pain to imagine the empty pool at the gym while I sit on the couch with an icepack.

Hopefully there will be work next week.  And rain.

But not at the same time.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , ,

Lefty Loosey

Normally, all nuts, bolts and damn near everything else that must be twisted to be tightened follows a rule: Righty tighty, lefty loosey – meaning that twisting to the right (or clockwise) tightens, and twisting to the left (or counterclockwise) loosens.

This rule is so all-encompassing that it’s never even occurred to me that anything could ever be any other way, so today when I had to replace the flush lever on my toilet (the interior lever broke because it’s a cheap plastic bit of crap, but the nice metal ones don’t fit my toilet), I expected this repair to take approximately three minutes (unscrew, replace, rescrew, flush). Except that for some reason I couldn’t loosen the damn thing. I tried and tried and tried and kept getting nowhere.

Eventually I figured it was cross threaded, so I tried to tighten it in order to hopefully get the thing working again, and – it loosened.

It was threaded backwards. Both the old one and the new one.

Nothing has ever broken the ‘righty tighty lefty loosey’ rule before, and it couldn’t be a fluke since both of them were like that, so I nervously stuck my head out the window and scanned the sky for horsemen.

Finding none, I finished installing my flush lever (constantly reminding myself to turn the screw the wrong way) and proceeded to flush with impunity.

In other apocalyptic news, it’s raining in Los Angeles – while this is a good thing since we’re currently suffering from a drought and desperately need any water we can get, it does dramatically increase the traffic accidents throughout the city as Southern California drivers can’t seem to get the hang of slowing down and leaving more time to stop.

No, I didn’t get hit, but it will be the lead story on the local news tonight.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work, , , ,

An unexpected reunion

When I strolled onto the stage, I wasn’t expecting anything other than the normal workday (set it up, break it down, set it up, break it down, lunch, repeat, go home), but I saw someone I haven’t seen in at least 2 years – the Local 80 Goddess.

She’s a good friend, but we don’t see each other that often due to conflicting schedules, so we got to catch up between lighting set-ups, which was nice.

This sort of thing happens a lot in the film industry – we develop occasional friends that we see when we’re on a show with them or when we happen to run into them, not because we don’t like them, but just because there never seems to be time. I’m off, friend’s on a show. Friend is off, I’m on a show. I’m on a show in Utah, friend is on a show in Texas (not so much anymore, of course, but back in the day the LA crews used to travel a good bit more than we do now and it was one more excuse not to be able to return phone calls), and so on. We’re happy when we see each other, but so many friendships (for me, at least) seem to get put on hold and picked up again at the whim of the work schedule.

It’s amazing I manage to keep any friends at all, really.

Speaking of work, it’s starting to slow down a little bit – the few TV shows that were shooting are wrapping up in anticipation of a SAG strike (which is now going to put me out of work even if it doesn’t happen), so I’ll have more spare time to catch up and do the stuff I didn’t get to during the earlier strike-induced four months of unemployment.

At least it’s cooled off some – it even rained a bit today. I’ve got the windows open now and I’m actually a bit chilly, which is very nice. I still have residual brain lag from the weekend heat, and the combination of hot and dry had convinced the neighborhood ant population to invade my kitchen looking for water, shelter, and cheap booze.

I’ve been using the hippy citrus spray, and it’s not working that well, but I’ve always been hesitant to spray anything stronger on a food preparation surface. I won’t have to worry about it for a few more days though, thanks to the rain.

Filed under: Work, , , , , , , ,

After a long weekend, more rain.

This holiday weekend was especially good to me since the antibiotics finally got the better of the upper respiratory infection and I managed to walk three steps without breaking into the horrible rasping cough (although I have to admit it was fun watching people scatter like cockroaches the second I started. One guy even got up and moved to a different seat in the movie theater despite my assuring him in between wheezes that it wasn’t contagious) I’ve had for what feels like forever.

Thankfully, it’s mostly gone now. I even managed to go for a bike ride Sunday and only had one coughing fit right after I accidentally inhaled a stray bug (that’ll teach it to mind it’s own business).

Good thing I got the ride in, too.  It’s supposed to rain for the rest of the week, which of course means the entire city has descended into a panic about wet Ugg boots and the local news is doing a feature about the horsemen spotted running across the sky somewhere in the San Fernando Valley. Or something.

In other happy news, I finally got my Axium tax paperwork – it was sent out by Avalon in an envelope from PAV (both Axium subsidiaries – guess they’re using up the office supplies that weren’t looted).

Which brings me to this years “How many W2 forms do you have?” contest:

W2 forms

The person with the most forms wins the can of champagne I managed to weasel out of drinking!

I have 17 this year, but I don’t count, of course.

Filed under: life in LA, Photos, , , , , , , ,

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