Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

On our way to lunch, we met an elephant right outside Hollywood Center Studios.

I didn’t get her name, but she plays the harmonica with her trunk.

No, really.

She does.

Filed under: Photos, Work

Dr. Evil

The lot manager at Hollywood Center is a fat, ill-tempered bald guy with a dent in his head who rides around on a Segway.

The grips have nicknamed him Dr. Evil.

Everything we use has to be safety rated – electrical equipment has to be UL-rated, and grip equipment has to be OSHA approved and given a weight rating (if the chain holds 1100 lbs, but the bolt holding the chain is rated at 300 lbs, then the ENTIRE rig must be weight-rated at 300 lbs. This is to minimize the risk of deaths/injuries from preventable equipment failure. Items which do not have a weight rating may not be used on sets to hang equipment over the heads of innocent people).

When hanging pipe grids, the chains holding up the grids are hung from these things that look like square hooks. They’re hardened steel, and they are specially designed to hook over the wooden beams of the perms.


Dr. Evil wanted the grips to just use chain – wrapped around the beam and secured with an “S hook”. The grips refused (rightly so, as this is horribly unsafe), and there was a huge fight.

S-hooks aren’t OSHA approved, nor are they weight-rated (wrapping chain around the beams isn’t really all that safe, either). Dr. Evil wouldn’t back down, so the grips had to get their union rep out, who apparently had quite the dust-up with Dr. Evil in the office.

Dr. Evil, in the end, gave in but made the production company buy the proper equipment – which Hollywood Center should have had on hand in the first place.

Today, at lunch, one of the grips told us how Dr. Evil got the dent in his head.

The grip told us that once upon a time, Dr. Evil climbed onto the roof of a stage to turn off a light because he was afraid that if he left it on, it would start a fire.*

Because he was unable to turn the light off by conventional means, he decided to break the light bulb**

Since he broke the light bulb, he had to climb down off the roof in the dark, fell, and dented his head when he landed.

I don’t know how true it is, but it’s a damn good story.

* Lights generally do not start fires. Most electrical fires are wiring related. In our case, we overamp cable and the connectors burn. While alarming to bystanders, even this is really more funny than dangerous.
Okay, it’s dangerous. But still very, very funny.

**I refuse to believe that anyone is that stupid. Even Dr. Evil.

Filed under: Photos, Work

September 2005
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"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

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