Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.


I get asked the question “What made you start this blog?” a lot.

I started this blog to prove myself right.

After years of hearing “Wow, your job must be so interesting”, “People really would eat this up”, and “You should write a book” I started the blog – if only to prove to everyone that I’m really a complete bore and no one wants to read about me or my job.

I guess I’ve been proven wrong, as folks do seem to be interested, but I’m still afraid that I make my job seem a lot more action-packed and fascinating than it really is.

I blog about stuff that happens to me – but there’s a lot of time in between that stuff, and most of it’s spent waiting.

Waiting for talent.
Waiting on camera.
Waiting on lunch.
Waiting to see if they’re going to move on.
Waiting for the AD’s to call ‘cut’ so I can turn the page of the newspaper.
Waiting on the sun to go down so we can light the night exterior.
Waiting for no fucking reason at all.

Even rigging (setting up for the shooting crew) involves waiting:

Waiting to be let into the location.
Waiting for equipment to be delivered.
Waiting on the truck to show up so we can load it.
Waiting for the rigging gaffer to tell us what to do.
Waiting for the guys ‘up high’ to send the rope back down so we can tie on another load of cable.
Waiting on paperwork from the rental house.

I’d say that, on average, about 70% of my day is spent waiting.

When we have to wait, we take the time – even if it is just an attempt to stave off boredom – to talk to each other, find a common ground, and make friends of people we’d otherwise never speak to. I once had a 20 minute conversation with one of the biggest producers in Hollywood who never, ever would have spoken to me if we hadn’t been trapped on a set – waiting, of course – and both been huge Futurama fans.

No matter who we are, where we come from, or what job we do, the beast that is the film industry forces us all to wait – locked on a sound stage, trapped on a location with no cell service, shivering on a night shoot in the dead of winter – and thus we find a strange sort of equality.

Okay, maybe it is kind of interesting.

Filed under: Work

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve only been working as a stills photographer on film sets for a year but I find the whole film-making process interesting…there’s always good gossip, funny events, etc. that I’m never bored on sets despite all the waiting.

    The other interesting thing about stills is that no one perceives me as a threat so I can talk to all different departments without problems….not to mention I don’t have to be there for crew call or wrap…basically make my own hours.

  2. Stan says:

    I think it’s interesting because it’s something that I don’t have any connection with in normal life. I see filming all the time in Pasadena, and I think it’s interesting to know a little bit about what goes on there. Of course it helps that you can tell funny stories and such, too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have only found two blogs interesting enough to bookmark and read, yours and Tom Green’s. Keep up the good work Peggy and thanks for writing!

  4. Neil says:

    It takes a good writer to make all that waiting and boredom interesting.

    (I guess you can always plot out your next blog post in between set-ups)

  5. Devin says:

    Waiting is right. I was on a set yesterday to shoot continuity photographs for them and waited seven hours to work MAYBE one. Crazy!

    Love the blog!

  6. Janet says:

    I believe I am a first timer here so I can say this once and be done with it:

    “Wow, your job sounds interesting.”

    There. May it never be uttered again.:)

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