Very early morning calls are tough – it’s not just the getting up when it’s still dark (and cold), but any time my alarm is set to go off before 5 am, I get freaked about sleeping through the buzzer and wake up with a start every couple of hours, convinced that I’ve overslept. In an industry where one can’t afford to be late (the saying is “15 minutes early is on time, right at call time is late” and being late too often means no callback), one of my biggest fears is waking up an hour after my call time, wondering why I didn’t hear the alarm.
Luckily, this hasn’t happened yet, and I always get up and about with enough time to stop at the coffee place so when I do drag myself into work I don’t resemble a zombie so much.
Yesterday, my call time was 5 am at Disney to set up for another Christmas party – this one on one of the sets from Pirates 3. One of the Disney execs has a band which performed at the party, so we were there to light the stage and the ‘gambling’ tables (it’s fake gambling – they just give you more chips when you run out. This is how I learned – at the American Pie 2 wrap party – never, ever to play roulette. Boy, if that had been real money I’d have been in trouble).
Our call was so early because the band’s sound-check was at 3 pm, and the party started at 5 pm – which is when we needed to be gone. We barely made it due to the inevitable last minute changes, of course. I was officially signed out at 4:50 and guests were already lining up at the bar.
One thing that was strange, and that I’ve not seen at any other lot, was the guy sitting on the stage watching us. He was there at 5 am when we got there, and at first I thought he was a safety person to make sure we didn’t do anything stupid, but when I asked him he told me he was a security officer. He wasn’t guarding the door, he was watching us work. I don’t get this. What, am I going to put half the Pirates 3 set down the front of my pants and walk off with it?
My boss, whom I’ve not worked for before, was the nicest guy ever, although I’m really surprised that he didn’t snap about halfway through the day – the lot’s executives had been fretting about not wanting lamps to be hung in the air because they were afraid it wasn’t safe – this, in case you were wondering, is complete horseshit.
It’s always safer to have the lamps hanging, especially when you have a stage full of people who aren’t used to being on sets and have been drinking. If a lamp’s on a stand, it can be knocked over, bumped into (and bumping into a hot lamp usually means a nasty burn), someone can trip on the cable (no matter how carefully the cable’s been run and taped down, someone will always find a way to trip on it). So, although to the untrained eye it looks horribly dangerous to have those lamps hanging 40 feet in the air, it’s really much better for them to be out of the way. We’ve always got those things clamped down and tied off so anything that’s going to shake them loose is going to bring the building down first.
I had a good day, too – we didn’t get worked super hard and I made the acquaintance of a very cool bunch of guys.
The bummer of the day was failing in my mission to get a good photo of one of the Disney lot’s hyper-aggressive squirrels. Lot workers have been feeding them for so long that they no longer have any fear of humans – in fact, they’ve developed a sense of entitlement for whatever it is that any random human happens to be eating. Several years ago, while eating at the outdoor tables, I had one jump on my plate and start eating my sandwich, and another time one actually chased me after I attempted to pull my plate out of his cute little paws.
Since I was trying to eat healthier after the other night’s delicious Korean BBQ meat-fest with a friend’s nephew who’s in town for a couple of days and wanted to try something new, I’d gotten a salad and soup, so I chose a carrot as squirrel bait. Squirrels like carrots, right?
Apparently, they don’t. I chose my victim, crouched down, held out the carrot and aimed the camera. While the squirrel wasn’t afraid of me in the slightest, he got spooked by the camera – he was charging full tilt towards me until he saw the weird silver thing I was holding, and then he stayed out of arm’s reach, hopped back and forth and chattered at me (if you’ve never seen a squirrel dance from one hind foot to the other while making “worry hands” with his front paws, you’ll just have to trust me that it’s very cute. Note to self: next time, put the camera in video mode). He had no idea what I had in my hand, he only knew that by all rights, it belonged to him.
Here he is trying to figure out if whatever I’ve got is worth coming near the scary silver thing:
Once he got up the courage to take the carrot, he carried it a distance away, figured out what it was and dropped it:
Picky little fucker. When I got back to the stage and told our security babysitter what happened, he said “Well, why the hell would he take a carrot? Most people feed them french fries or potato chips.”
Note to self: next time, put the camera in video mode and choose a better bait.
After work, I went with some friends to the LA Kings game, where the home team got stomped by Calgary – but we had great seats, so a good time was had by all. I was surprised how many people were there, since LA tends to empty out around the holidays.
I got home and got to bed about 11 pm, and I’m still tired today.
Filed under: Photos, Work