Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Have you ever wondered

what the inside of a sound stage looks like during a power outage?


It looks kinda like that.

We were wrapping a commercial Tuesday night when the stage lights flickered, and then went out. At first, I thought someone had turned them off as a joke, but then I heard someone say “the whole lot’s black!”

Turns out, we got caught in the middle of one of Hollywood’s infamous power outages and after sitting around outside for over an hour waiting to see if the lights would come back on, decided to return in the morning to finish the job as trying to do, well, much of anything when you can’t see your hand in front of your face is difficult, to say the least.

So, after making a few frantic late-night phone calls to replace crew members who couldn’t come back the next day (you know, weird things like blackouts, earthquakes or raccoon attacks only seem to happen when I’m in charge. Why is that?), we gave up and went home.

Nine hours later, we were back again (because we had to get everything off of the stage before the painters started to spray the cyc since the production company had painted it) to finish up.

After spending years pissing and moaning about not being able to set any equipment (even personal bags) in the fire lanes* (the logic being if you can’t see anything you can feel your way out along the wall), I now totally understand. We had to feel along the wall in order to get out, and I’m glad that I didn’t have to worry about tripping over someone’s backpack or spare sneakers.

At least none of us were up in the perms when the lights went out. That would have sucked.

Which brings me to the second best perm graffiti ever:

 Perm Graffiti

You said it, brother (or sister).

*Fire lanes are the four feet of floor next to the stage walls on all sides of a soundstage – the fire lanes must be kept clear at all times, or the on-set safety people will stop the shoot to make you move the stand or backpack that’s been placed there. After the other day, I completely understand why.

Filed under: Work

8 Responses

  1. Annika says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve done some PA work, but only ever on location. While I’ve never specifically wondered about power outages, I have wondered what some of the differences would be, working on a sound stage.

  2. Meg says:

    My husband the grip was up in the perms this week, and found his name immortalized. “His Name-1912” Har har har, yes, he IS an old-timer, but not quite THAT old.

    Peggy sez: WOW!!! I’ve never seen ANY writing in the perms dated prior to WW2. That’s incredible – where was it?

  3. Dave2 says:

    Did it say where you CAN find your dreams on the other side?

  4. Meg says:

    The “1912” was a joke, referring to my husband’s old timer status. He can still hang pipe and drop lines after all these years with the best of ’em. BTW-a mini mag will save you during a blackout (but I betcha already knew that!) The graffiti is at Fox.

  5. MikeA says:

    So, with how many techs on the soundstage *not one* had a maglite hanging off their belt.

    Geez, things have changed. A nice large maglite can be used for so many things – from hammering stuff down (the Irish Spanner technique) to threatening local crew :)

    However, that was used to be a roadie on tour – if you went too far the LD challenged you to “socapex at 10 paces” :D

  6. Hey, I can comment over here on WordPress!

    Love the graffiti.

  7. tonibaloney says:

    I just read Thanksgiving through this one. I have to admit that I miss the life…

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