Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Dead, dead dead…

There’s absolutely no work out there – the current pastime is trying – via our union’s email list – to guess when it’s going to pick up. The most popular guess seems to be “in a couple of weeks”, but that may just be wishful thinking.

In my experience, it’s normally dead from June until August (all the TV shows are ‘down’, and there’s just not that much feature film work left in Los Angeles. Most of it’s gone to Canada or Australia).

So far, I’ve managed to drum up just enough work to fuck up my unemployment (of course).

AND – I didn’t get my last check for “Material Girls” – I should have gotten it a week ago, and it never showed up. My first thought is always “maybe it got lost in the mail”, but that normally doesn’t happen. Production usually forgets to issue them, so it’s just a matter of calling and telling my boss that I didn’t get the check. He’ll then call production, and they’ll cut a check.

The production office is open long after the movie finishes shooting (I think “Material Girls” wrapped last week) – they stay open until the movie finishes with post production – special effects, sound editing, ADR/Foley, etc..

I’m off to Santa Barbara. I’ll be back tomorrow night.

Filed under: Uncategorized

A heartfelt apology.

In a previous post, when I referred to George Lucas as a ‘crazy midget’, I in no way intended to insult, disparage or defame ‘little people’.

I also did not intend to insult, disparage or defame in any way those unfortunate folks who suffer from mental illnesses.

So stop with the hate mail!

Filed under: Uncategorized


I am just about ready to strangle The Blonde.

It all started a few weeks ago.. we’d done a ‘trailer’ for our little short (just about two minutes) – so we could show it to certain people in hopes of either selling it as a TV show, or getting the money to do a full length movie.

The feedback we got was that the trailer was confusing, disjointed and didn’t give a good idea of what we’re about. This came from friends of mine that work in acquisitions, so they see a lot of these things. I know good advice when I hear it. I recut.

The new trailer’s about 4 and a half minutes, and it’s much, much better. I’ve already had to pay for two portable DVD players because folks laughed so hard they spewed whatever they were drinking onto the player and fucked it up. This is not a bad thing.

The problem is this: at some point, you have to just accept that what you have is good and not make changes (i.e. it’s ‘locked’). Too much tinkering results in a crappy film.

The Blonde is listening to EVERYTHING that anyone says to her, and she calls me, frantic to make some stupid fucking change that someone she just met (or someone’s nephew, or some bartender) suggested. I refuse, and she gets pissed, and then I have to spend an hour trying to explain to her why said change is not a good idea.

Now, she wants to send out the old two minute trailer because some idiot told her that 4 and a half minutes is “too long”. I’m in the midst of trying to explain to her that it’s not too long (just so you know, over 5 minutes is considered ‘too long’) – that it’s as short as it can be and still maintain some sort of narrative thread.

The other problem is that if you lose someone’s interest the first time, you’ll never, ever get another chance. They’ll see the bad trailer and write us off as idiots, and then we’ll never get another ‘in’. I’d rather make them sit through the longer trailer that’s at least good.

I’ve been through this before, and I’ve had projects that didn’t get funded because of bad presentation. I feel it in my bones that it’s going to happen again.

I’m going to have to kill her – or at least lock her in the closet for a few weeks so she can’t cause problems.

Filed under: Uncategorized


Comment problems have been fixed.

I think.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Settings Problems

There’s still a few apres-crash problems.

I keep trying to allow anonymous comments, and Blogger keeps giving me the digital finger.

As soon as the setting will save, anonymous comments will be allowed again.

In the meantime, here’s a photo:


This is what the outside of a spaceship looks like (from “Zathura” – the previews actually look cool, BTW).

Filed under: Non-Work, Photos, Work

The Post that Crashed my Blog!

I haven’t seen the new Star Wars yet – actually, I won’t see it as I refuse to give that crazy midget Lucas any more money – and I’m hearing it’s terrible. Mr. Movie Star (who’s back in town) says that it’s not nearly as bad as the first two, but that’s not saying much, now is it?

This landed in my email in box a while back, so I’m sure everyone’s already seen it, but it still makes me laugh.

No one, and I mean no one, can write dialogue like Quentin T.

The TOP 10 Things We Want To Hear Samuel L. Jackson, “JediMaster
Mace Windu,” say in the Star Wars Prequel

10. You don’t need to see my goddamn identification, ’cause these ain’t the
motherfuckin’ droids you’re looking for.

9. Womp rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’ll never know, ’cause I wouldn’t
eat the filthy motherfucker.

8. This is your father’s lightsaber. When you absolutely, positively, have to
kill every motherfuckin’ stormtrooper in the room… accept no substitutes.

7. If Obi-wan ain’t home then I don’t know what the fuck we’re gonna do. I
ain’t got no other connections on Tattooine.

6. Feel the Force, motherfucker.

5. ‘What’ ain’t no planet I’ve ever heard of! Do they speak Bocce on ‘What’?

4. You sendin’ the Fett? Shit, Hutt, that’s all you had to say!

3. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the motherfucker’s a carpet. Yeah
Chewie got a hair problem. What’s the brother gonna do? He’s a wookie.

2. Does Jabba the Hutt look like a bitch?

1. Hand me my lightsaber… it’s the one that says, “Bad Motherfucker” on it.

Number 6 is still my favorite.

My blog crashed last night. It totally disappeared from the internet (I got a ton of “What happened to your blog” mails – why don’t any of you people sleep?), and I sent Blogger a couple of frantic, panicky emails..

By 7 this morning they had the problem fixed, and I’m back. I know a lot of folks don’t like Blogger (it’s the AOL of the blogging world), but they put the hustle on trying to get my problem fixed.

Yay to Blogger!

Just in case it ever happens again, though..

The blog is mirrored here.

Filed under: Non-Work

Still slow…. still hot.

Normally, when I make calls to try to drum up work, I try to chat with folks a bit before I tell them that I’m unemployed. It just seems less.. curt, I guess.

Me: “Hey, Bob! How’s the family?”
Bob: “Oh, same old, same old. How are you?”
Me: “Good, good.. What’s new with you? You working”
Bob:”Yeah, we’re doing this three week long indie. You wanna play with us?”
Me: “I’d love to!”
Bob:”Cool. I think I have days next week”

Now, it’s very, very slow, and folks are getting frantic. The calls are going like this:

Me: “Hey, Bob. What’s new?”
Bob:”Are you working? Please tell me you’re working. I’m dying here.”
Me: “Damn.”

It’s normally only slow for a few weeks, but when you work freelance like this, it’s always a panic.

I can always judge how busy it is by how many shoots I pass – and what the trucks look like.

5 ton truck = shitty rate. Probably a student film. I usually just drive past these.
10 ton truck = music video or commercial. Commercials are hard to get on. The rate’s really good and those guys only hire their friends. I can aways try, though. I’ll slow down and try to see if I know anyone on the crew.
48 foot trailer = big show, and probably running for months with more than one crew (first unit, second unit, rigging). Even if I don’t know anyone on the crew, I’ll stop and introduce myself to the best boy in the hopes of getting work.

Right now, I’m not even seeing 5 tons. It’s dead out there.

Maybe not a bad thing. It’s still hotter than hell, although the cheerful weather guy says it’s going to cool off towards the end of the week.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday’s Photo

Set Wall
Originally uploaded by Peggy Archer.

Plastic fake brick walls are fun!

Filed under: Photos, Work

I love Infomercials

Working on them, that is. I can’t stand watching them.

Yesterday was an infomercial for some special knife (“It cuts on a molecular level, Bob. Can you imagine that?” “Why, no, Kelly. What does that mean?” “Well, let me show you!”) – I can’t remember the name.

Infomercials are easy money – no one’s in a hurry (as opposed to a TV show where you’re shooting 7+ script pages a day and everyone’s freaking out about ‘making the day’ so they rush), everyone’s relaxed and having fun and the day rate is sweet.

There’s also no ‘agency people’ there, since infomercials (at least the ones I’ve worked on) aren’t paid for by ad agencies. It’s more of a direct marketing thing, so you have the product reps there, but they’re usually really really nice. Don’t get me wrong. Ad agency folks are nice as well, but they do add a lot of tension because they tend to micro manage every aspect of the commercial.

They’re easy to light as it’s usually a kitchen set or a sofa group and once you’re lit there’s not much to do.

We got there, hung a bunch of lights and aimed them – this took about three and a half hours. Once we were done, it was just little tweaks here and there.

Fun stuff. I’m glad I was in the AC all day, too.. It’s hotter than hell out here right now.

Filed under: Work

Let’s try this without the hangover.

I did absolutely nothing today. I spent the morning laying on the couch, trying not to blink loudly, and when I felt a bit better, I graduated to pounding back Alka Seltzer ™ and laying on the couch, watching “Fight Club” with the volume down really low.

I am Jill’s pounding cranium.

Actually, I feel a lot better now, although I must have sounded really pathetic on the phone, because Mr. Movie Star tried to come back a couple of days early from Cannes, but was unable to get a flight. He does have his moments – I’m touched that he even tried.

In a long distance attempt to cheer me up, he’s left a series of hilarious (and spectacularly filthy) messages ruthlessly mocking The Asshole. Although laughing until Alka Seltzer ™ comes out of your nose is painful, I am officially cheered up – or maybe that’s just the absence of the headache.

I’m not much of a drinker normally. I don’t like paying 15 bucks for a glass of something that’s really, really bad for me (and can get me a D.U.I.). The thing that normally saves me is when there’s a party with an open bar, the cluster fuck to get the free booze is so severe that it prevents me from getting more than one drink every hour or so (or maybe I’m just not that good at shouldering the M.A.W.’s aside. I’m kind of afraid I might accidentally break one in half).

Last night, there were waitresses circulating through the club with trays and trays of drinks – at one point, we had 15 different cocktails lined up on the table and the waitresses just kept them coming. They were so perky and cute and fun, and they looked so hurt when I said “No, thanks. I’m still working on this one” that we just gave up and let them load us up.

When I finally pried myself out of the booth (it had to be around 2 am – the waitresses had stopped bringing around booze and sushi, and were passing around dessert and coffee), as soon as I stood up, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to drive, so I had to have the bartender call for a taxi. Luckily, my car’s parked at a friend’s house, so I can go pick it up now – I have a 9 am call tomorrow on something (I just said ‘yes’ and didn’t ask too many questions).

The quote of the night: as I was leaving, some guy pointed drunkenly at me and saying “I saw you on TV!”. What makes that the quote of the night is that I have no earthly idea where he would have seen me on TV.

While I was standing on Hollywood Boulevard waiting for the taxi, I saw my Craig’s List ‘fuck and run‘ from a few months ago. He walked by, and did that thing where he turned his head away in the hopes that I’d not recognize him.

I just laughed.

Filed under: Uncategorized

May 2005

Flickr Photos



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"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

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