Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Holy Crap!

I knew there was going to be an article in the LA Times about me, but I had no idea it was going to run on the front page of the Calendar section.


Although I still feel the attention isn’t justified (I am, after all, just a worker bee), I’d like to welcome any new readers and raise the following points:

I welcome reader responses, but sometimes can’t reply to them due to a seriously overloaded work schedule (or an exhaustion-blown brain). Don’t take it personally if I don’t reply to your comment or email right away.

I try really hard not to lapse into techie jargon here, but I sometimes slip. If there’s a term you don’t understand, please ask and it will be explained.

Swear away. I have a potty mouth, why shouldn’t you?

Speaking of potty mouths, this blog does sometimes raise adult subjects and uses adult language. It’s probably not appropriate for children, although I doubt any of them would want to read it anyway.

I’d also like to apologize to the writers of all the wonderful blogs out there that I haven’t had time to read lately. I still love all your blogs, I just don’t get the computer time when I work 14 hour days.

Since I have Monday off (woohoo!), I’m going to a friend’s party tonight.

Filed under: Non-Work

29 Responses

  1. genius says:

    Hey, nice work! as a set dresser in the trade it’s nice to see someone from below the line let everybody know how “glamorous” our jobs are , keep up the good work!

  2. Anonymous says:

    ahhh…so this is what a blog is. very snazzy and really, it’s wonderful for industry outsiders. i just made my first short and really wished i had this sort of practical anecdotes to look to. can’t wait to read on. thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Keep up the good work. I wish I could write something like you’re doing, but would get caught and never work again. As an AD I can appreciate a crewmember’s perspective on the industry and the other reason I would get caught so fast (AD’s know too much). Don’t hold back. Once the inudstry figures out that there are spies in the midst they may clean up their behavior, but I doubt it. I have bookmarked your site and will read it as often as I can. See you at call. Peace, sista!

  4. Charli says:

    Please keep the tech jargon, exercises my brain. Also, congrats on the front page but uh, would have been nice if you had placed a pic/text insert on what they said about you. Not like I get the LA Times here, unless of course, you got in on the front page of the Inquirer and you’d really rather not say.

    Wool socks, get some wool socks.

  5. Meg says:

    Love your blog. My husband is a grip, so a lot of what you talk about is familiar territory, but you’ve got a great way of writing about it. Ah, 7 am beers….

  6. Dave2 says:

    Just don’t forget about those of us who knew you BEFORE the fame and fortune hit.

    And I want Jeremy Piven to play me in the movie.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Delighted to read the times article, especially about a fellow “worker bee”. I do background on tv/films and have probably worked the same production with you. Gotta sympathize, the hours suck, the conditions can be horrendous, the hurry up and wait difficult, and the occasional superego impossible to please. Not sure what it is, why we do this, I guess you just have to love being involved in it. Keep writing, I’ll definitely be back.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I feel for you. And although we don’t have it quite as bad as ya’ll in production, we in editorial also have gripes. Long hours, and no meals are provided (unless you are working on location near the set on a big budget film) and pissing fights between executives, producers and directors. Their true colors come out in the cutting room. And now days, we are not only required to cut picture but fully track it with temp. music and sound fx. Oh yea, I could go on, but like you said…there are also things about the job that you love. It’s definitely an acquired taste. But sometimes I feel our unions are not as strong as they should be and Producers only care about the bottom line when it comes to “below the line.”

  9. Enjoyed learning about you and your blog in the LA Times! Crew people are THE hardest working people. THANK YOU CREW PEOPLE!!

  10. Hey girl, I see you suddenly bombarded by industry people!

    Good to see your profile raised… but don’t forget about us lowly old readers will you!

    peace and love


  11. Anonymous says:

    I read the article on you in the Times and then visted your blog. Great stuff! Finally there is a voice for the crew! I am a sound guy who’s worked on features and tv for years, so I feel the pain. Although our cables and gear weigh much less, it a grind none the less. AH the 7 am beer, I know her well……

  12. GeeBee says:

    Great stuuff,
    I’m a DP working on a high profile sitcom..
    been around since 1980/ actor’s strike.
    Nothing has changed, or ever will, we have to maintain our professionalism at all costs… I’d be honored to have you on my crew, anytime.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Saw the LA Times article and am glad to see blogs that are of actual purpose. I’ve held quite the disdain in the recent rise of useless musings of ordinary high school students or boring office water-cooler variety material. But blogs bearing some resemblance of direction and substance – entertaining, informative, and bringing light to different lifestyles – are indeed worthy of the internet space they occupy. Keep up the great work.

  14. dawn says:

    i’m so glad i found your blog through the l.a. times article! i was having a case of the below the line blues today, but it makes me feel better to know i’m not alone!

  15. Gaffer's Mom says:

    Glad to learn about your blog from the LA Times artcile. My daughter’s a “grip-trician” working indie films/commercials/some TV in NYC. The blog sounds a lot like my long phone conversations with her. In the LA Times piece, some gloves invented by a gaffer are mentioned as being very popular. Sounds like a great gift for my girl. Where can I find them?

  16. RJ says:

    It’s always the cold that gets me. I can handle heat (I once had to load mags, in a changing bag, on an old school bus, outside of Lancaster in 119 degree heat (outside the bus) I was sweating so badly and it was dripping off of me onto the changing bag in such volume that I was worried it might soak through and damage the film (of course by that point I didn’t really care anymore,) and I was fine with it,) but the cold… forget it.

    Enjoy your day off. I know how good they can feel after a week on a film. And by the way, congratulations on the Times story.


    My Blog

  17. Anonymous says:

    Read the Times this morning and found my way to your blog. I’m a SAG stand-in and do know how much the crew actually does. I’ve been on the best of sets and the worst and a cohesive, happy crew makes all the difference in the world. Will find my way back here often to keep up on the rest of productions around town.

  18. Meg says:

    For Gaffer’s Mom- try this website for the gloves:

    BTW- I have NO financial gain from this suggestion-it’s a site I found doing a search for electrician’s gloves.

  19. I loved the article-please write for us ( Peggy-as a freelance columnist or sporadic guest writer!

    I forgot about the Opium-wore JUST the body lotion to work last week and stank the joint out-no hot lights even!


  20. Neil says:

    Does this mean you can quit your job and blog full time?

  21. Anonymous says:

    hi there! read the article today in the sunday la times, thought to myself ‘cool…let’s check this out’. started to type in the address and after two characters your address popped up. then i realized – i’d already been here before! doh! anyway, keep up the good work – i work as a PA (and occasional extra) and while i think we PA’s are the bottom rung of the crew ladder and we do bust our asses, i know for a fact it’s an easier job than the g & e’s jobs are. i’ve only met a handful of chicks doing that job, and i’m a chick as well, but PA’s are about 50/50 in the male/female thing. you must be one tough cookie ;)

  22. Spike says:

    We like the industry jargon.

  23. Rob says:

    Wow, what a great article! I had a really good time reading the whole article. I really liked the way it was written and I liked the way how you told it “how it is”. Years ago I worked on a few hot pockets commercials as a PA and I can totally see where you are coming from when you say “very long hours”..Man you guys farking rock!! Hey Peggy, do you know my friend Carlos Chairez? He’s a electrian…tell him Robert from WB said HI.Keep up the great writing!

  24. Peggy Archer says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Neil – nope, won’t be quitting my job anytime soon. if there’s a SAG strike, that’ll probably take care of it for me.

    Meg – thanks for the link – set wear are great, but not for hot stuff :(

    geebee – I may have already been on your crew!

    Dave – Jeremy Piven?

    Thanks everybody else.. I’ve got to get to bed – have a 6 am call in the morning.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Read your artlcle in the LA Times. I”ve never been to a blog before. (Who has time to mess around reading one of those?) Yours is a good introduction. I plan on checking in to see how you are and what you are doing….. As a prop person I feel your pain in oh so many ways. As a female onset I can’t tell you how nice it is to see women in the electric, grip, one-set dressing and camera departments.

    When I got home tonight ( Precall: 5:30am Wrap: 7:54pm) I was looking forward to reading today’s installment. When I saw it wasn’t there I realized: Your not home yet! I get it!

    Gotta get up at 3am so have a good night. Hope to see you on set sometime.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Got to LAX @ 0500 for an 0815 Flt home while going sorting the krap out of the LA times I saw a fimilar pair of boots below a hand smoking. the equipment looked familiar as I am IA 728/665 Hawaii. Then I relaised I know that Juicer. So at 0700 on a sunday I called His cell and left a message. 6+ hours later I was home and had a message confirming he had gone out and picked up a copy the Times to find out what all the messages that morning were about(I wasnt the only one to know who he was)… Keep up the blog

  27. Yadda-yadda-yadda. Congrats on your new found fame. But it still doesn’t change that fact that we’ve have no idea what you look like and we’re no closer to finding out who on the earth the “Mr. Movie Star” ex was (despite quite a bit of speculation among some of your faithful readers)

  28. Jeff Durling says:

    So who is that handsome guy behind the 18K on page 2? Oh wait…..its me! Momma will be so proud

  29. Tail Ends says:

    As a fairly new film director, and admiring your “Totally Unauthorized,” I am hoping to find other serious blogs and bloggers dedicated to sharing similar set experiences, but aimed at warning directors such as myself about who is good to work with and who to watch out for. Agents and casting directors have nothing but good things to say, all before the fact. I hear all sorts of horror stories (as well as accolades at times) about so and so on the set, when they did or didn’t show up, unreasonable demands, inability to remember lines and the like, but no names! Everyone seems to believe that they are going to be sued for telling the truth.

    So, can you or any of your readers out there suggest where I might be able to go for this information? 100% of the people I’ve talked to in the industry would love to have such a resource.

    Again, your site has a lot of style. I’m very impressed with your honesty and writing ability.

    Tail Ends

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