The main topic of conversation on every set as of late has been the impending writers’ strike – since very little real information is forthcoming from anywhere, armchair quarterbacking is rampant – they’ll strike, they won’t strike, they might strike but they’re not sure, they’re having a naked tea party right now, and so on.
For the past few days, though, people have been talking about the massive fires and assorted issues (who we know who needs housing, the related bad traffic, the related bad air, when the hell this is all going to end and what they’re going to do when they catch the people who started a few of them).
The fires just keep getting bigger (pushed by Santa Ana winds – someone emailed me and asked me why the firefighters just can’t “do something” – they can’t really fight 100 foot tall flames which are being driven by 60 mph winds so they just have to wait for a break in the weather), although the light is gorgeous. One of the camera assistants today described it as “perpetual magic hour“, and that’s pretty accurate. The golden orange glow of the sun’s last rays has lasted all day.
It would be enchanting if it didn’t also smell of smoke and rain ash at seemingly random intervals – oh, and it’s really hot and the humidity is about 5%. I have a humidifier at home, but frankly it’s not doing jack shit right now. I suppose I should just be grateful that I’m not one of the approximately 500,000 people who have had to evacuate their homes, and am in not in an area that has any risk of burning.
Today, while standing at craft service perusing the morning snack, the conversation shifted back to the writer’s strike and what, exactly, the hell we’re all going to do if we get put out of work over the holidays.
A passing woman (I don’t know what department she was from – I only saw her a few times throughout the day) stopped, glared and spat “Those fucking assholes – they already make too much money. They can all go to hell.”
I just stood there, my mouth hanging open despite being filled with half-chewed food.
While I should note that some IATSE members do bear some ill will towards SAG, DGA, and WGA* members (many of whom routinely cross our picket lines and some of whom have hurled abuse at us while doing so), most of us, while we desperately hope the writers (and actors and directors) won’t strike, understand why they need to and will support them.
After all, we’re all in the same little boat that’s floating on rough seas and there’s a producer with scuba gear sawing a hole in the bottom and waiting to pick us off one by one if we don’t stick together.
However, even if she was a producer, saying something like that while standing on a set took some serious huevos. I just kind of stared, afraid to say anything because I was just a day player, but wanting to see if someone else was going to say something, but everyone just walked away, leaving just the two of us alone in a weird kind of standoff – her glowering and me with a mouthful of food.
Then, we started lighting so I had to chew what I had, throw out the rest and get the hell back to work.
*IATSE = International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees.
SAG = Screen Actors’ Guild
DGA = Director’s Guild of America
WGA = Writer’s Guild of America