Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Crosstown traffic and unexpected noises

Yesterday’s work day was at Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studios, which is in Manhattan Beach (bet you didn’t see that one coming). Manhattan Beach is literally all the way across town from me – and involves travel on two of the most notoriously traffic-clogged freeways in the region (the 10 and the 405) – and yet, by using the sneaky surface street route, I made in to work in about 50 minutes (if I’d stayed on the freeway, it would have taken about an hour and a half to get there). A 7 am call time helped as well – with an 8 or 9 am call time at RMBS, there’s simply no route that will get me there in under two hours.

Yesterday was also a new crew (only one of whom I’d met before) and a new stage – when anyone comes into a set that they’ve never worked before, there’s a bit of confusion – where things are stashed, the best route through the set with a big light on a stand (which is too tall to roll through a normal height door), where the distro boxes are (they’re usually tucked behind walls, and more than once I’ve run power to a box 80 feet away, only to find out that there was a box hidden 10 feet away), things like that.

Luckily, whoever designed the rig on this stage was thinking – everything was hidden from camera, but in plain site from behind the set walls, and the other folks working the set were very helpful (and nice) and the day went smoothly.

Except that I’m now on the AD’s* shitlist for making noise during a take. But it’s not my fault – it was the coffeemaker, I swear.

This particular coffee machine had a little dispenser for hot water off to the side, and since I’m still croaking like a frog, I drank hot tea all day in an attempt to soothe my throat. Since I’m usually pretty good about gauging how much time I have before they call ‘rolling’ and I have to be quiet, I ran the hot water right before they rolled, figuring my tea could steep during the take when I had to be quiet – except that this machine made a weird pumping noise right after it finished dispensing water – and right after they’d rung the bell (the bell rings once at the start of the take, and twice when they’ve cut – that way, if you’re not anywhere near an AD, you still know when they’re rolling because the bell is really loud).

Whoops. I set my tea down and walked away very quickly, but I still got busted.

The day’s main topic of conversation in between takes was the impending rain – according to the news, it’s supposed to rain today (of course I just went outside to take the trash to the curb and it’s sunny and gorgeous) and you’d think the world was ending or something. It’s astounding what we just learn to live with here in LA – earthquakes, crime, smog, traffic, Brett Ratner – and yet the threat of water throws us into a panic.
Thanks to the world’s fastest director, we shot just under six pages in nine hours, and I got off work just in time to get stuck in traffic on the way home – but it was a gorgeous afternoon, so I didn’t mind sitting still and looking at the pretty clouds in the blue sky.

Wish me luck parking at the lot today. Since I opted to sit here and write while drinking tea instead of getting over there at the crack of dawn, I’m going to have a hard time of it.

* AD = Assistant Director. On TV shows, they’re the ones roaming around trying to make sure everyone stays quiet during takes. On movies, it’s a PA (production assistant), but for some reason TV shows don’t use as many PAs as movies do.

Filed under: life in LA, long long drives, studio lots, Work, , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses

  1. Stan says:

    Back when I lived in Hollywood, I was working in El Segundo. So I’m quite familiar with the route to that area. I never took the freeway. Down La Brea to Stocker, then over to La Cienega and down to Aviation. Taking the freeway was like pinning a big “KICK ME” sign on your back.

  2. Charli says:

    We postponed our trip to San Diego because of the chance of rain. I lived through 28 days of rain in Santa Cruz, rained the whole month of March (I think it was March?) and let me tell you, it’s a pain in the ass. Rain is fine, if it rains in the middle of the night.

  3. CookieDuster says:

    There was ONE honest anchor on the news last night who referred to it as “Drizzle Watch.” Must have been one of the sports guys. LA is the only place I’ve lived where water from the sky is treated as a bizarre phenomenon.

  4. snarkolepsy says:

    rolling eyes

    I think everyone is so excited there may be rain, they totally over-blew the whole prediction.

    Up here they were predicting an inch on some areas. F-them. We didn’t get any, and most just a sprinkle. F-them again. I’d love to be outside without my lungs seizing up from the thick coating of dirt covering everything. Think sepia.

    When it does rain it will be a like a biblical event turning the lakes and oceans brown from the filthy run-off.

  5. nezza says:

    It takes me about 6 minutes to get to work. And that’s on a bad day.

    I don’t know I’m born do I??

    And just to make you even more jealous, we also had rain today.

  6. laurie says:

    I have been waiting for the rain all day. Where is the impending doom of dampness? Where? I want my money back!

  7. GroovyBrent says:

    Ooh… rain. I wonder if I should have put the top up on my jeep… Crap… now I’m not going to be able to sleep because I’ll be worrying about it.

  8. boskolives says:

    I have a similar commute problem, going from Van Nuys to Fox or Sony with an 8am (or so) call.

    My solution?

    If I leave the house at or a few minutes before 6am, it’s less than a 15 minute drive.
    1. I stop in a restaurant,
    2. have breakfast,
    3. do the crossword.

    This is followed by a calm and short drive to the lot. No white knuckle worry filled drive, crazed because I don’t want to be late and some a-hole ahead in traffic is too busy on the phone to see that traffic is moving.

    If the show has a good craft service set up, and they get in early enough, I can cancel out steps 1 and 2, and do 3 at the sound cart.

    Just another mixer,

  9. JCW says:

    Hmmm…were’nt working on Medium, were you?

    Peggy sez: Nope. “Bones”.

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