Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

An “oops” kind of day

Yesterday, the game of catch-up continued as we were denied the request for a pre-call. We needed the pre-call as we had to connect the power runs to get electricity to the set. When one runs cable through the doorways of a building (as we often do), the doors must be able to close after we leave in order to lock said building.

This means we have to go around before call and after wrap and connect or break the cable runs where they go through the doors. Generally, this takes about a half an hour. In this case, we have four or five entry points into the main building and one into the hair/makeup building, so ideally we’d just fan out at our call time, connect everything, and then at everyone else’s call time we’d be up and running.

Yesterday morning, because we weren’t allowed to come in half an hour early, we were still connecting the cable as the DP was standing on set wanting to see some lights.


Luckily the DP on this show isn’t a screamer and when our boss told him that we were still connecting the cable runs he said “no problem”, and went to crafty to get some coffee. I love that guy. I also love my boss, who’s not a screamer either (and a lot of gaffers would really have been screaming right then).

The makeup and hair people had an hour pre-call to get the actors ready, and couldn’t use all that extra power we ran into the building for them because we weren’t there to connect the cable at the door.


Later in the day, we had to move our staging area from behind the reception desk in the lobby (which was perfect – it was central to all the sets we’ll be using and out of the line of sight of prying eyes) to one of the patient rooms due to fear of theft (the reception area can’t be locked and the rooms can).

This meant we had to carry a truckload of equipment (the stuff that came off our truck and the drop-loaded rigging package) through the hallways and past all eleventy-seven producers who had set up camp right in the middle of the hallway that happened to be the only way to get into our new staging area.


Have I mentioned that these producers are very nice but inexperienced? Experienced producers generally do not sit on set all day.

Experienced producers stay in their offices, doing lines of coke off the script and making angry phone calls to, well, someone*.

Yesterday also saw the return of the hated smoke machine. Apparently, production companies are allowed to disconnect the fire alarms while we’re shooting in order to fill the building with smoke, so I had to spend most of the day with the creepy rubber fetish gas mask thingy on my face. The one provided for me didn’t really fit, so now, not only do I have a nasty bruise on the bridge of my nose from the mask but I still had a sore throat at the end of the night.

That’s not really an oops, so much as a heavy sigh. I’m off today, but the next day I’m back (Thursday), I’ll bring the mask that I bought a few months ago to fend off paint fumes on a rig. It fits better, so I won’t have a bruised face and someone else will be able to use the mask I had yesterday.

Call time: 9 am

Wrap time: 9: 30 pm

Today, and my big plan is to do laundry (my sheets are smelly), go to the gym and clean my bathroom.

*I’m kidding. Maybe. Some producers prefer to do lines of coke off a stripper’s ass, or that nice titanium surface of their laptop. Other producers skip the coke entirely and just start drinking at 9 am.

Filed under: Work

6 Responses

  1. Nez says:

    Perhaps the powers that be should all be forced to do multiple Sudoku puzzles (diabolical level) to increase their understanding of how ‘logic’ and organisation works.

  2. Will says:

    You gotta love the guys with the laid-back attitude. Goes a long way.

  3. calimike says:

    I love the term “pre-call”. As a Key Grip friend of mine once said to a UPM, “Pre-call? I don’t need a pre-call. I need an earlier call time. Pre-call is when I’m in my car, driving to work.” Allegedly, her head then spun 180 degrees, then fell off onto the floor.

  4. boskolives says:

    As a sound mixer, I seldom run into problems with the newbie producers. Besides not wanting to reveal how little they actually know about set procedures, they’re much to busy covering their ass and dodging decision making.


  5. heather says:

    i am starting a low bug thing on monday in tor-on-to.

    willing myself into thinking it will be worse than it probably will be, just so if it turns out ok, i will be pleasantly surprised.

    but i am just the monkey who types the callsheet.


  6. Sal says:

    Damn. Wish someone had told me when I was producing our short that part of my job description included doing coke off a stripper’s arse, or starting drinking at 9am

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