Friday, I was back on the comedian’s* show (shooting the sketches that air between the live bits, I guess. I don’t ask too many questions. I just show up and do what I’m told).
My call time was 6:30 am as I came in with first unit, who were shooting day exteriors with no lights, but had to have an electrician in case they had to run power from the putt-putt generator to the monitors.
The problem with my being the “just in case” electrician is that these particular producers get freaked when they see a crew member not doing anything even for a minute. The other day, my boss got a talking-to because I sat down and read three pages of the paper (which was all I got through since I was scrambling for power most of the day), so the first few hours of the day were spent doing the ‘duck and cover’ whenever I saw anyone from production (at one point, I was crouched near the bulkhead of the camera truck, behind the folded up pop-up tents, with the key grip’s jacket over my head because the producer was sitting on the lift gate making phone calls).
Once I figured out that I wouldn’t be needed on first unit since the DP was powering the monitors off of the camera batteries, I called my boss, who told me to go to the stage and rig since I could do more there than I could while covered with coats, crouching in the camera truck.
It took us forever to rig two chicken coops because we were on a stage that didn’t have any ‘perms’, so everything had to be rigged from a scissor lift – that means the lights had to be hung, and then the cable had to be run back to the corner (because we can’t have the cable hanging down into the set, can we?) where the power was – on a stage with perms, we’d just run it out and drop it down. Rigging from a lift means that the section of the cable which will be ‘in the air’ has to be pulled up into the lift (after estimating how much we’ll need to go from the first tie-off in the corner to the lamp in the center of the room), run over the hanging fluorescents (this means whoever’s in the lift has to pull the cable up and over each and every fixture, tie the cable off to the ceiling providing we can find a tie-off point that’s strong enough, move the lift, pull the cable up over the next fluorescent fixture, tie it off, etc…), and then connected to the lamps.
Meanwhile, the set dressers couldn’t do their job until we were done because of the giant scissor lift (which was the worst one on the lot – it would only turn left. One of the guys was calling it the NASCAR lift. The lot’s supposed to service those things, but they never do) in the middle of the set they had to dress.
We barely got done in time.
First unit got to the stage about 5 pm, and they shot two scenes which took until about 11 pm (that’s pretty fast, especially since one of the scenes was extremely complex and involved not one, but two stunts). My coffee-chugging and sugar-eating stopped keeping me awake at about 10 pm, so the last hour of the day was really tough. You can’t yawn on set – once you do, everyone else starts to yawn as well and then they get mad because no one wants to look like they’re tired.
Once they finally called wrap and we started moving around (because we had to wrap all the equipment that night), I got a second wind and felt much more awake.
It took us a little over an hour to wrap the stage, so we left about 12:15 and I got home about 12:30.
I spent Saturday with a mild case (I was only sick for about 12 hours) of the stomach flu that’s been going around town, but I’m feeling much better now.
Oh, and many thanks for the kind words – my uncle’s much better as well. He’s already able to talk (although not very clearly. The only word he’s really able to enunciate is “shit”. Yeah, I inherited that potty mouth of mine), and he’s getting some movement back already. The doctors think he’s got a reasonably good chance of getting 90% of the movement back on the affected side.
*This particular comedian (who shall remain nameless, please) has been accused by another comedian (who is extremely unfunny, IMO) of stealing material. If you ask me, which no one did, I think if you’re going to rip off someone else’s jokes you may as well pick someone who’s actually funny.
Hey, it worked for Dennis Leary.