Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

I’m back!

For the past few days, my favorite person in the world has been whomever invented Polartec fabric. I wrapped myself in about four layers of the stuff and was pretty damn warm at Castaic Lake.

The only thing that was cold was my face. My boss suggested one of those ski masks that cover your face, but aside from the bank robber look not doing it for me, how am I supposed to drink coffee while wearing one of those things?

The location itself was a pretty tough one – we had our trucks in the campsites just above the lake, and the set was 30 feet down the hill on the shore of the lake itself. The production company had stairs built (which was a good thing – that hill was steep), but they were really crowded (that and I don’t do stairs well because of my knees), so I ended up just running up and down the hill all night (there was a little trail and it ended up being faster anyways). We kept two guys downstairs on the set and two guys upstairs by the trucks so we could meet in the middle with equipment – that way we were only running up and down half a hill all night.

I lucked out and got posted upstairs near the trucks – which also happened to be near the space heaters and the coffeepot. Maybe that’s why I was warm.

On night one, we had some lights placed underwater (they make special lights for this), so one of the guys had to go into the water with them. Right before he went in, he asked our boss what his dive rate was on this show – normally, you get extra money for going in the water – and I jokingly turned to him and said “The dive rate’s a cup of Cheez Nips and a punch in the mouth.” (this is sort of a riff on the fact that there’s a really low ‘dive bump’ on this movie).

It reads really lame now, but it was hilarious at 3 am. Now it’s mushroomed into a huge joke on set (“Hey, great job! Come to the production office for your rate bump*!”)

I went straight from my motel room in Castaic to last night’s Granada Hills location – in a neighborhood that doesn’t get filmed in very often (I can tell because the residents are putting up lawn chairs on the sidewalks to watch the movie being filmed. Normally the residents where we’re filming shout curses at us while they’re calling the permit office trying to get us shut down).

We’re back there tonight, for a night exterior in the rain. That same guy’s got to get in the pool tonight – and the water’s just as cold as the lake was.

Don’t worry, he’ll get his rate bump.

*A rate bump is a temporary raise – generally for doing something extra shitty, such as wading into a cold body of water at night.

Filed under: Work

December 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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