Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Day two of the killing spree

Yesterday was our first day in the abandoned hospital (which is scheduled to be converted into lofts).  We had a two hour pre-call scheduled, but worked so late the night before the we ended up coming in just 15 minutes before general call, so we were playing catch up all day.

We’d leave two of us on set with the gaffer, and the other two would go with the best boy to try and rig, since someone decided it was a great idea to shoot in a part of the hospital that we hadn’t cabled, so there was no power.

We also had to run power to the building that’s housing makeup, hair, wardrobe and the actor’s dressing rooms since the wiring in the building’s really old and there was some concern about the power being overloaded (1400 watt hair dryers will blow a fuse faster than anything, and they’ve all got 1000 watt heaters in the rooms, computers, radios, etc… buildings built in the early 1900’s just don’t have the power for all the stuff we use now).

We got to meet the very nice makeup, hair and wardrobe folks, and the crew of the other movie that’s shooting on the grounds – also very nice folks, even if there’s been some problems with walkie-talkies (there are only so many channels and when there’s two companies, it gets messy as there aren’t enough channels to go around).

We had three moves (we started out in a parking lot, moved to a house across the street from the hospital, went to a park on the other side of the hospital, back to the house and then into a hallway in the hospital), and on the last set of the day the smoke machine set off the fire alarm (that no one realized was still active since the building’s abandoned) and at least 6 firemen came out.

The upside of this is that they can’t use the smokers now – good for me since that stuff really makes my lungs hurt.

Call time 8:45 am

Wrap time 9:30 pm

The producers on this are inexperienced, but they’re super nice guys, and are trying their best not to run us into the ground. We’re on a 14 hour deal, but they’re trying to keep it to 12 hour days, and they’ve been really trying to address problems and keep everyone happy while making sure things progress. All of us appreciate this a lot.

The director (also a super nice guy) really moved along and shot five pages in just over 12 hours.

I’m off to work.

Filed under: Work

7 Responses

  1. wen says:

    Only 1400 watts? That must be the economy model; mine is 1800. Combine that with all manner of irons, trimmers, computer, printer, lights, and ac and I can blow a trailer or a poorly wired room faster than any one on set… Hi 728! 706 loves you!

    I can not believe they are turning that building into lofts! The decontamination in that building was spotty at best (we were told the basement *should* be considered off limits. Where did we shoot for 5 days? Right.)

    Not to mention the bird crap, rats, asbestos, and the fact that the entire hospital was built on the largest ant hill west of Africa (makeup/SFX makeup should be warned that those ants love FX blood and to seal everything in ziplock bags. Bloody clothes included)

    Our shoot was broken into 3 times. Computers, cameras (mine included-accidentally left there after an 18 hour day) props, wardrobe, G&E- nothing was safe. The 4th floor is supposedly haunted…
    They should flatten that building and turn it into a park. Please be safe there!

  2. Peter says:

    I can not believe they are turning that building into lofts! The decontamination in that building was spotty at best

    A point which will be realized, finally, some years’ hence with the birth of the first few two-headed children :)

    Peggy sez: The two-headed children have children of their own now – that place has been closed since the late 70’s or early 80’s.

  3. Jedediah says:

    Is this the one over by Whitsett and Laurel Canyon?

    Peggy sez: No, it’s in East LA

  4. JCW says:

    Being the superstitious sort, my first thought
    is who would want to live in a deserted hospital being converted into lofts where all manner of things went down… Yuk. Bet there’ll be some sleepless nights!

    Secondly – screen smoke. I did three nights on a film (outdoors) with smoke and I wanted to puke!
    You’d think outdoors it wouldn’t be so bad – but it was!

    What’s in that stuff anyway? For the record, this was during the Flying Elvi scene in Honeymoon in Vegas. Those who were “volunteer” extras not paid by the production left in droves after a couple of hours breathing that stuff.

  5. Peter says:

    There’s a whole subculture of people known as “urban explorers” who enjoy sneaking into abandoned buildings.

  6. Jim says:

    Four kinds of fog/smoke:
    1) hot oil – Igebas (you’ll know it when you hear it…), Navy fogger, etc. The classic military smoke screen, or the car that needs rings or valves. On a small scale, the MoleFogger which squirts shots of oil onto a hot piece of metal spewing a stream of nice dense smoke. Not particularly healthy.. small particulates, decomposition products, etc.

    2) glycol – the “disco fogger”.. shoots a mixture of (propylene)glycol and water into a boiler making a form of steam that squirts out and condenses in a nice dense fog. Has a distinct taste when you breath it. In a club where they’ve been running it a while, it evaporates, but you can still taste it because the vapor dissolves in your saliva. Very hard on the throat because it’s a drying agent.

    3) diffusion fog – a very, very fine mist of mineral oil that creates a sort of haze that never really settles out. The particles eventually stick to the walls or floor or get blown out the stage door. Pretty benign healthwise, if they use USP grade oil. No odor, no taste, and if done right, no residue. Very popular with DPs and Stage directors, because it makes the lights really show up and gives a nice distance perspective with things farther away being a bit softer contrast.

    4) dry ice/LN2 fog – actually just cold water fog.. warm moist air, get it cold, it makes clouds, blow it where you need it. Makes things real wet, though.

  7. Steve says:

    Multi move days are better when it’s raining. It’s still good as long as say a PA or Second/Second is there to “help” you move so things go faster.

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