Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Only other set lighting folks will think this is funny.

I’ll post some more photos tomorrow, but for today, here’s a special one just for the other juicers out there. On the hamburglar show, we had a 1400 amp plant, and Friday, we were pulling 8 amps.

You can get 8 amps out of a wall outlet.

I think the most we ever pulled was 400 amps. This is what happens when you light a show with Kino Flos.

For the non-juicers out there, normally we have a problem with overloading generators, so to see us pulling this little power out of one is funny as hell.

Filed under: Photos, Work

Big weekend update!

Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy to write a blog entry after work, and this last week was one of those times, so here’s a summary:

Wednesday: I picked a good day to come back to work – we shot in a hallway for the entire 12 hour day, so even though my back still hurt a little I was able to sit down often enough to make it through the day. When I got home, I cuddled up with the ice pack and went right to sleep.

During my absence, about half the crew (including the lead actress, director and DP) picked up some really nasty bug and were looking like zombies all day.

I’d just like to take a moment to point out that the few of us who had “allergy issues” and wore masks for the whole shoot (and were ruthlessly mocked for doing so) didn’t get sick.

Yeah, who’s laughin’ now, pukey?

Thursday: damn good thing my back felt better, because this was a loooong day. Call time 8:30, wrap time 12:30 am (on Friday), due to special effects (any shot involving an exploding dummy takes a while to set up) and the lead actress not being able to stop vomiting long enough to get through a scene (poor thing – I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy).

Friday: Last night of the movie. My back felt MUCH better, although still stiff, so I kept the back belt on all day. Call time was at 12 noon, and we wrapped at 1:30 am, which wasn’t bad since we had more special effects to shoot, but once again we were in the same room all day (after the morning’s mad rush to get a bunch of inserts – in sets that had wrapped days ago – that the editor needed). By lunchtime (at 6 pm), the fatigue was hitting everyone hard and the whole crew were getting punchy and laughing hysterically at really unfunny jokes. For some reason, I got the “Small World” song from that ride at Disneyland stuck in my head at lunch and couldn’t get it out. Damn.

The big bummer of the day was that I’d taken a bit of a liking to the DP and thought there was reason to suspect that he liked me back (that’s so third grade, isn’t it?), so I was really disappointed to not get anything more than a handshake at wrap. I mean, I wasn’t expecting tongue or anything like that, but more than a very platonic handshake and a statement that it was a good show.

Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

Photos tomorrow. Or Monday. Or whenever I get motivated to do much of anything other than sit on the couch and stare at the TV.

Filed under: Work

Just because I’m bored!

The doc cleared me to return to work on Wednesday (that would be tomorrow). Good thing, too. It wasn’t hard to sit still when my back hurt, but now that I’m feeling better, it’s pure torture.

Enjoy some photos:


sunshine on a cloudy day

Art Deco detail lobby

warning tag

heat wave flowers

It’s 90 degrees F here right now, so the flowers seem to be confused.

Filed under: Photos, Work

The one where I hurt my back again

It all started with my being in too much of a hurry to move a damn ladder 18 inches.

Wednesday, we were hanging Kino Flos from the ceiling.

Kino Flo lamps are, well, they’re about the size and shape of a rectangular electric guitar case (4 feet long by about 20 inches wide, and three or four inches deep). They have a little doohickey on the back which enables the lamp to be hung from a gobo head, which is something that’s affixed to a rig the grips put up and allows us to avoid drilling into a ceiling in an asbestos-riddled building (most locations would prefer that we not punch holes in the property, so the grips have all sorts of ways of rigging lights without putting holes in drywall – too many for me to explain).

So when one is hanging Kino Flos from an elaborate grip rig on a ceiling, it’s important to note that the little doohickey on the back of the lamp that allows it to be hung from the gobo head is about two feet away from the end of the lamp that connects to the ballast, which connects to the electricity, which allows the thing to light up, which is the whole point of hanging it up there in the first place.

Bear with me, I’m hopped up on muscle relaxers right now.

So, while standing on a ladder hanging the light, I got in a hurry because they were waiting on me, and instead of moving the ladder 18 inches in order to attach the head feeder, I just leaned waaay back, spun the light around, did my thing and then leaned waaay forward to spin the lamp back into position, and ended up tweaking my back again.

I thought it would clear up overnight, but when I got into work Thursday morning, I could hardly walk – after getting a large dose of painkillers from the on-set medic, I was able to function, but just barely.

My boss assigned me to work that set’s makeshift dimmer board (don’t ask), and forbade me from lifting anything, even though it hurt me to see my co-workers scrambling while I sat on my ass, unable to stand up without bracing myself against something.

By the end of the day, my back actually felt worse, so I took Friday off in the hopes that more than more than a one day weekend would give me time to heal up enough to return to work.

Incidentally, this also means that I missed out on the sixth day pay (day six starts in time and a half), which would have made the rate not so bad.

I’m taking Sunday off as well, because right now (Saturday night), my back’s still stiff.

Hey, that’s an improvement – yesterday, my back was agonizingly painful and I could barely walk.

What does make me feel better is the knowledge that I’m not the only one who got hurt Wednesday. One of the actors cut his head open with a dull rusty chair.

During a scene where his character tries unsuccessfully to throw a chair through a window (so they can escape from the Hamburglar, of course), he threw a bit too hard and the chair bounced off the Lexan (that was in the window instead of glass because the window’s not supposed to break and I’m pretty sure that throwing a chair at plate glass will break it – the glass, and maybe the chair) and hit him in the head when he turned around to deliver whatever line it was that came after said chair-hurling.

The kids in this (and they’re all kids – I’m not certain that any of them are even legal drinking age), don’t seem to understand the concept of pulling their punches. Don’t get me wrong – they’re really nice, they’re all good actors, and while they’re doing a terrific job of looking attractive while the Hamburglar picks them off, they’re destroying props and sets because they don’t understand the concept of faking it – you can’t really slam the door because they’ll add the noise in later, you will deafen the sound guy, and the door, since it’s a set piece, may fall off the hinges if you’re not careful. You can’t really bang the fake Rolex hard on the table because it may be plastic, and the only one they have. You can’t use all your considerable upper body strength to throw the chair at the window as hard as you can because Lexan doesn’t break very easily and the chair will just bounce off and fuck you up when you least expect it.

This is not the first time I’ve seen something like this happen. I know they teach fake slapping (it’s all in how you hold your hand. There’s a certain way to cup your hand that doesn’t hurt the person being slapped and makes a really loud noise) in acting school – why do they not teach a class on how to fake violent actions with furniture as well? It would have saved this poor kid about 10 stitches in his head.

It’s okay, though. The stitches are in the back of his head, and if he ever has to shave his head, well, chicks dig scars, right?

Also, our staging area (and Grip’s) got broken into- someone kicked the doors in, but they didn’t get anything because we’d all moved our stuff into the old chapel which was way closer to that day’s set.

I’m off to dose up on more pills and lay in bed watching movies.  Keep your fingers crossed for me – I really want to return to work on Monday.

Filed under: Work

February 2007
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