Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Craft Service Envy and Chair Thefts

We had an hour “Pre Call” today, which means that we came in an hour before everyone else did, so that we could do some prep work (moving our carts, pre lighting, etc..) before the rest of the crew came in.

The good thing about being there that early is that you get the good stuff off the craft service table before the rest of the crew has the chance to pick over it like vultures. No one eats before they come in, because there’s stuff at the stage, so everyone is very, very hungry by the time the food hits the table – usually right at call, so you have to stash your plate somewhere while you work for an hour..

Our ‘crafty’ guy doesn’t put much out, so folks actually run to the table when he’s got something new. He had nectarines this morning, and we took about four of them and put them in one of our carts to ripen. Good call, too.. they were gone in ten minutes. In a few days, when they’re ripe, I’ll eat one in the middle of set and watch the stampede to the crafty table because folks will think he’s put more out! Heh.

There is also an epidemic of chair stealing.. On a set, you stand for 12+ hours a day, and those places to sit (chairs, apple boxes, stools, boxes, furniture when the set dressers aren’t looking) are prime real estate. The second you get up – the seat’s gone. Usually. On “Enterprise”, someone is just taking them (the set pieces, I understand.. they have to go back to the furniture rental place, and the apple boxes get cleaned up by the grips, but we had a few camp chairs marked for our department scattered about and now they’re all gone).. When you’re strung out and crazed from working these hours, this is a BIG DEAL. My boss threw a fit over it, and an APB was put out for the chairs.. we got a couple of them back, but I have no idea where the others are.. probably on another stage somewhere.

Connor – one of the actors – was doing a very heavy scene were he’s badly injured and is put into a tube thingy.. there’s all this drama, they shove him into the tube and as the scene draws to a close, we all hear this “OW!” – turns out the effects guys had pulled him into the chamber too quickly, and he whacked his head on the back wall..

My boss has become a snarling hypercritical maniac.. I was warned that this would happen.. Apparently he’s only nice to new employees for a week and a half to two weeks, and then he becomes a raving jackass. If he keeps this up, I’m off the show. Life is too short to tolerate that shit. I’ve nicknamed him “The Walrus” as he’s sort of bristling and bellowing all the time.. Now all the boys are doing impressions of him bellowing. It’s hilarious.. I think that’s another nickname that’s going to stick.

Jolene’s (another of the actors) dog – a very, very cute King Charles Spaniel whom I just love – kept barking during takes – this set off the dog who plays “Porthos”, and then she started barking. Havoc. The DP started screaming, the AD’s started screaming, and then the dogs barked more.. The more the dogs barked, the more the DP yelled, and the more the crew laughed at the silliness of it all.

Call time: 6 am.
Wrap time: 10 pm.

Filed under: Work

I know now why everyone in the future wears jumpsuits!

Still on “Enterprise”. Still can’t remember what day it is.

BUT – I’ve figured out why everyone in ALL of the “Star Treks” wears a jumpsuit……….

Plumber’s crack. It’s the heartbreak of our generation, and by the time we ‘reach the stars’, it will happily be eliminated..
Where did this theory come from? Today, on set, one of the carpenters was bending over to fix part of the furniture, and he had some REALLY heinous plumber’s crack.. My boss grabbed my pencil, and dropped it, point first, right into the guy’s butt crack. The whole crew broke up laughing, and I politely told the carpenter to please keep the pencil. Really. I don’t want it – now.

Seriously, though..just about everyone onscreen in all of the shows has worn a jumpsuit. The actors are complaining because the jumpsuits are a) hot as hell and b) a pain in the ass.

Day dragged on.. still in the same set, but today is the last day – for this set.. we’re all sick of it. It’s getting torn down tomorrow, and I couldn’t be happier!

Call time 9 am
Wrap time: 12:30 am

Filed under: Work

Someone please shoot me. I’ll pay you.

Still on “Enterprise”. I forget what day it is.

Started the day’s work with a SIX page fight scene (WITH stunts). Stunts virtually guarantee that it’ll be a long day, simply because of the nature of how they work (it’s the ‘measure twice, cut once’ theory. Rehearse the hell out of it, because you may only get one take).

This episode’s director is fucking incapable of moving at anything other than a snail’s pace. He does a million takes, and then blames the AD’s when he gets behind schedule. To coin a phrase, Shit rolls downhill. When the folks at the top get pissy and angry, so does everyone else. My boss has been an absolute pig all day, but he’s getting yelled at. It’s a chain reaction. Once it starts, folks just get more and more panicked, and it snowballs until the entire crew are reduced to snarling assholes.

It doesn’t help when you come in first thing in the morning, look at the call sheet and know that you’re going to be in a blackened stage for a long, long time. .

Call time: 8 am
Wrap time: 11 pm

Filed under: Work

“Enterprise” drags on. And on and on and on.

I’m starting week #3 of “Enterprise”..

It’s the next to the last show, so folks are getting crazy, and everyone is on the phone all day trying to line up the next job. Still pulling horrible hours.

Today, we had the baby(well, actually babies.. it’s a set of twins that play one baby) on set (babies in scenes? Bad.). It took us longer than usual to get the scene because BOTH of the babies would start crying..

Maybe the alien makeup was scaring them.

Call time: 7am
Wrap time: 9:20pm

Filed under: Work

Why do they put food out? It’s not like these people eat.

Went to an “Oscar Fashion” party with The Blonde. Basically, this is a huge shindig where designers throw expensive clothes at stylists in the hope that a celebrity will wear the clothes at the Oscars.

Free food, free booze – but I have no idea why there would be food.. none of these people are eating this week, I’m sure. I’ve never seen so many horribly skinny people in one place before. I reminded me of the “Foodless Eating Diet” in “Good Omens”.

Shot part 2 of our short. Drama Queen didn’t show up (of course), so I got what I could. This means that in between my 60 hour weeks on “Enterprise”, I have to schedule day three of a two day shoot.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Never eat Sushi That’s been sitting out on a buffet, even if it’s free..

Went to the “Bad News Bears” wrap party last night (yes, they did do a remake).

The Blonde told the front door folks that she was The Drama Queen, and they let us in..

Fun stuff! It was at the El Rey theater, and it was PACKED! Billy Bob Thornton’s band was playing (Alice Cooper came out and did a couple of songs with them), and everyone was dancing! I saw a few crew folks that I knew (it’s a small, small industry), and had a great time.

They had a sushi bar, and I didn’t even stop to think that the sushi had been sitting at room temp for god knows how long..I didn’t get sick – thankfully, but the thought that raw fish had been sitting out didn’t occur to me until after I’d eaten quite a bit of it.

I can’t help it. I love sushi.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work

I used to have a life…. I think

Still on “Enterprise”. There’s been “trekkies” protesting at the gates of the studio because the show’s been cancelled (one of whom, to my great amusement, wears a “Stormtrooper” outfit – from “Star Wars”). The only problem is that there have only been about four of them. They’re having a rally next week, and if it’s held near lunchtime, most of the crew will probably go.

Part of the reason that I want to get my swipe card working again is that I really, really need to see this! Oh, I know, I could just go and hang out on Melrose, but it’s not the same at all.

85% of the crew have the flu, and are coughing. I’m freaked out – I can’t afford to get sick, so I’m washing my hands 25 times a day in the hopes that it’ll help. They have a bottle of hand sanitizer on the monitor cart, but I’m not sure I trust it – how many folks are touching that pump every day?

Producer shut us down tonight. He sat there, through the last scene, looking at his watch every 10 seconds.. It’s called ‘pulling the plug’.

It’s fun, but damn are they reaming us.

Monday – 6am – 10pm
Tuesday 9am – 11pm
Wednesday – 9 am – 11 pm

It’s only Wednesday. I feel like I’ve worked a whole week already.

Oh, wait. I have (hours wise at least).

Welcome to the film industry.

Filed under: Work

Beam Me Up, Scotty.. It’s hour 14 and we’re still shooting.

This is my fourth day on “Enterprise”.

Day one, Thursday – I came in just for a night shot and had fun. Worked 8 hours, got home at a decent hour.

Day two, Friday – 12 hours.

Day three, Monday – I lost count.

Call time: 6am.

Wrap time: 10:30 pm (approximately – my cell phone died and I don’t wear a watch anymore). We’re shooting in the lobby of the Paramount Theater, which has magically been transformed to the conference room of Star Fleet.

We’re still there today (Tuesday), and it’s a new show with a new director. Same set, same props, same lighting, same actors, but the guy calling the shots has changed. TV is kind of freaky that way. I work more movies, and it’s just wierd as hell to me to have the director and AD’s change all the time.

Anyhow, there’s a TON of really cool alien makeup, and it’s fun to watch the ‘aliens’ walking around the lot, smoking cigarettes, drinking coke, and eating potato chips.

I’ve never watched the show, so I have no idea what’s going on.

The director for the last few days was LeVar Burton (who was on one of the old Star Treks), and he’s amazing.. He knows what he wants and shoots it fast.
This guy (I have no idea what his name is), is really disorganized, wastes a lot of time and does a TON of takes. Ouch.
I was supposed to have a Valentines Day date tonight, but had to bail at the last minute. I thought we’d be out by 8 pm. Silly me.

I keep having trouble getting onto the lot. Production keeps forgetting to call in a pass for me, so I have to stand there for 20 minutes while the guard tries to call folks (this SUCKS at 5:45 am – no one’s in yet). I have an old I.D. from when I used to work on Entertainment Tonight (or some unholy spinoff thereof), but it doesn’t work anymore. I’ve been to the office twice to try to get the swipe card to work – it would, after all, be in Production’s best interest to not have to deal with this every morning – but they don’t seem to care.

If they’re as tired as I am, I can understand why.

Filed under: Work

February 2005

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