Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

A traffic snarl and a big smelly tree

There’s something kind of post-apocalyptic about standing in a traffic lane on an empty Los Angeles freeway at 7 am.

Empty freeway

The problem with a movie shooting a scene that takes place on a freeway is that the freeways are never naturally empty – LA has traffic slow-downs in the middle of the night, so when someone wants to shoot, they have to close the freeway down for a couple of days.

Today, we wrapped a location that did a big stunt on a freeway in Long Beach, which meant the roadway had to be closed for quite some time – while they were rigging, shooting and until we wrapped all our stuff off of it – thus snarling traffic and making the locals wish we were all dead, so our first mission of the day was to get our stuff off the roadway as quickly as possible.

All of us went down to wrap, but after the first truck-load came up from the roadway to the staging area, two of us stayed there with our boss to sort the equipment as it came up. The equipment has to be staged in such a way as to make it easy to find things and count everything, which means it’s got to be separated by type and subrental (when you rent stuff from a rental house, and they don’t have it on hand, they get it from another rental house and it’s called a sub-rental).

Since we have three days to wrap this location, all we did yesterday was stage equipment. There’s still a lot of stuff to wrap, so although we’ll do some returns tomorrow (we have to – there’s too much equipment to be able to pile it all the staging area at one time and have any room for other departments to work) we’ll spend most of the next two days doing exactly the same thing – sorting equipment, staging it, and then counting and loading it when the rental house guys get there to check it back in).

Our parking lot staging area was very close to a really big tree that happened to be full of nesting egrets (snowy egrets and some brown ones), which was nice because they’re really pretty birds, but bad because under the heading of “things I’ve learned today”, I’d have to add that a big tree full of egrets smells really bad. Kind of like an uncleaned birdcage, which I guess in a way it was.

Plus, they never stop making a noise that sounds a lot like a chicken being stepped on.

I’m going to try to get a shot of one tomorrow – an egret, not a chicken being stepped on.

Filed under: Photos, Work

3 Responses

  1. jdcccw says:

    There’s the beauty of a mega budget – when they filmed one of the Matrix sequels up here in Alameda, they just went and built their own freeway!

  2. Charli says:

    I would be an irate commuter if a movie closed down a freeway. Do you ever leave stuff behind? I imagine it would be your assets if you left rental equipment behind, and lights are not cheap, I’ve noticed.

  3. Melinda says:

    How exactly do you close a freeway? I bet it involves a nightmare of paperwork, permits, insurance, police….

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