Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Leave this to me, I’m a professional truck monkey

Loading a truck is a bit like playing Tetris ™. Everything has to go in a certain way, even if we’ve got a ‘real’ truck with shelves down the sides.

The reason for this is obvious – we have to be able to work off of said truck, and if stuff’s just thrown in a pile (also called ‘shovel-loaded’), it’s impossible to find anything quickly, and stuff gets broken in transit.

On this shoot, our ‘truck’ is a cargo van driven by the DP, which is carrying our stuff, a small generator, two heaters (the big ones that are the size of a small end table), a bunch of propane tanks, camera cases and grip equipment.

Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of equipment, but we’re all possessed of the same burning desire not to have to unload the entire van every day just to find one stand that’s buried.

Unfortunately, yesterday that’s exactly what we had to do, as the van was shovel-loaded really badly.

We still had to unload everything yesterday (as we used all our lights), but at least this time we got some ‘alone time’ to sit and think about how to load all of the stuff.

There’s a thought process that happens when you have to work off of a truck every day. You really do learn how to load stuff in a sensible manner, and once we were able to sit down and hash it out “Well, let’s put the stands there, and the rags here, that way we can lay the ladders down on top of it all”, it went in fairly neatly at wrap, despite the lack of shelving or ‘tie off’ points.

I’m sure it’ll come out quickly tomorrow morning.

I’m tired, and am off to bed.

Filed under: Work

2 Responses

  1. HappyGobo says:

    Man, that sucks. I was dolly grip on the pickups for a fourth year student film, and they’d basically shovel-loaded the truck (which actually had tie-down hooks and whatnot). Of course, they could have actually packed it fairly easy, but nooo we gotta go out as fast as possible evidently. So me and my buddy, who’d been loaned out from another production that we actually sort of gave a damn about, ended up making sense of the load. The most ludicrous thing was that my buddy was “best boy” so he didn’t get credit for lighting the shot since he knew a thing or two…as the appointed gaffer was an editing major, of all things.

    So, yeah…that shovel-load thing sucks. Good luck on the next day.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just gotta say don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

    I used to do your job, but around 2000 when I was closing in on 30 with a bullet I kinda took stock and did a bit of a 180–I went back to college and finished my degree, then went on to medical school.

    I love my life now and regret nothing, but I must admit I miss my “former life” from time to time.

    I miss the physical work. I miss coming home tired but not having to THINK about work until the next call. And I miss the people, who were almost always wicked smart and wicked fun to work with. Strangely, this is much less true of doctors (though there are a few, thank God).

    So yeah. Even though shovel-loads suck, don’t forget how much fun your job can be.

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