Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Even bigger bird problems

The stage that we’re shooting in is infested with mockingbirds. They’re nesting in the big steel beams that support the building’s roof, and there are at least 4 of them directly over the sets.

For those of you who live in an area that doesn’t have mockingbirds, they’re small brownish birds who sing when it’s dark. Loudly. Mockingbirds especially like singing loudly when it’s dark and there are humans nearby who desperately wish they’d shut. the. fuck. up.

The stage’s resident mockingbirds are normally pretty quiet on days when it’s just the riggers and construction – the house lights are on, and there’s a lot of construction and rigging-related noise which seems to make the birds think laying low is a good idea.

But when the shooting crews come in, they shut off the house lights to make it nice and dark, and when they’re ready to roll sound they stop us from working so it gets dark and quiet and then it’s mockingbird party time.

I don’t understand how a two ounce bird can make a noise that loud (and it’s one particularly vocal bird who’s the main source of noise) – it reverberates throughout the stage, and only stops when they call cut and the ambient noise of 100 people frantically trying to fit a day’s work in between sound takes starts again.

They’ve given up trying to quiet the birds so they just roll anyways – which means they’re going to have to ADR just about everything shot in the stage.

That’s certainly going to add a chunk to the cost of this movie.

Filed under: Work

5 Responses

  1. Not4me says:

    Years ago they used to have a pigeon problem on some of the old stages at Culver, but I never heard of mockingbirds. Who’s renting stage space with these kind of sound problems?
    Peggy sez: As much as I love to point out bone-headedness on the part of production, this time it’s really no one’s fault. They scouted these stages months ago before the birds began nesting and even if the birds had been there, it would have been daytime so they would have been quiet. The higher-ups on this movie actually should get some kind of medal for deciding not to disturb the birds and just paying what’s going to be a shitload of money in ADR costs after the fact.

  2. LostOnLocation says:

    Sounds like a job for a Xenon. If it does not cook em it might fool em into being quiet.

  3. nezza says:

    I guess they don’t call them “mocking” birds for nothing then…!

  4. Charli says:

    To kill a mockingbird…

    I actually had one swoop down on my head when I got too close to its nest. I was mildly amused. Stupid birds. Well, in the south we’d just shoot ’em, but this isn’t the south.

  5. rich says:

    its what poppas gonna buy you

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