Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

“Danika” Day 13

What a rotten day. I was late because I got lost trying to find the stage – it’s one I haven’t been to before, and I looked briefly at the call sheet, thought it was a place called Delfino (which I have been to), and went there. Oops. I had to call my boss to get directions, because I stupidly left the call sheet at home.

Thank heavens for the Thomas Guide.

The stage where we’re shooting for the next three days (Thursday is the last day of this movie) is a few miles up Interstate 5 – almost in Santa Clarita – and it was well over 100 degrees outside when I got there and we had to start pulling lamps off the truck. We rushed and got all the lamps set up and patched into the stage power in about an hour (which is really fast), and then..

Our lights didn’t work.

HMI’s are funny – because of the way they work*, they’re picky about power, and they did NOT like whatever was coming out of the stage’s transformers. We’d get them burning, they’d burn for a few minutes, and then click off. Finally, we figured out the nature of the problem (after trying everything we could we could think of in a desperate effort to get the damned things to burn), so we had to run cable from our truck into the set – while the entire production sat and waited on us. It’s never, ever good when production’s waiting on you.

After we got everything working, the sound guy kept saying that he could hear the fans on the ballasts so he went and covered them with a blanket. This made the ballasts overheat and the lights click off again. We then had to reroute all the power for the THIRD time to put the ballasts in a different room.

The best boy was really pissed about all this. It took us almost to lunch to get the problems sorted out. We ended up swapping out a few lamps, and the rental house guys tried to help us troubleshoot when they came out.

Did I mention that today was the day production really, really wanted to start shooting an hour after call?

Production didn’t want to pay for the stage’s air conditioner, so the stage management turned it off about four hours into the day – we tried to get it turned back on by arguing that since we weren’t using their power, it would even out. The compromise is that they’ll let us turn it on during lunch and between set ups. That means that inside it’s 90 degrees, not 100.

Cupcake’s back, and for some reason he’s being REALLY rude to me.

Two more days.

*HMI’s don’t use a bulb (or globe) like normal lamps. The globes have two metal rods which sustain an arc of electricity – kind of like an arc welder, or a lightning bolt.
They have ballasts, which electronically ignite the bulb and maintain the correct amount of power to sustain the arc. The old ballasts from the 70’s were magnetic, and were basically a big clutch. They worked great, but they were heavy as shit. The new ballasts are computerized and although they’re a lot lighter, they don’t work as reliably. They need clean power and they HATE any kind of moisture.

Filed under: Work

2 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    Cupcake’s been stalking you, and is now jealous because he saw you shopping with Mr. Movie Star.

    Oh that, and you probably shouldn’t have run over his cat. That will do it every time. :-)

  2. Peggy Archer says:

    Darn it!

    I have GOT to stop running over people’s pets!

    Do they have a 12 step program for that?

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