Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

All I needed was two popsicles and a ride home before curfew.

When I was a kid, I never did any babysitting, so I’m not certain that headline joke even makes sense. Be patient – it’s still really smoky here.

So I guess that made yesterday my first babysitting job.

Not for kids, but for the EPK (electronic press kit – you know all those promo bits where the director and cast of the movie sit in a chair in front of a set piece and do sound bites about the movie “Well, working with Joe Blow was just incredible and I know we’re doing something extraordinary here blah blah blah blah” Those are shot on the sets while the movie or TV show is filming) crew that were shooting on the main stage of the TV show I’ve been working on periodically.

Normally, EPK crews are a giant pain in the ass to the shooting crew of any production. Sometimes they show up and want to use our equipment and personnel to light their shot – which is bad if we also happen to need that equipment and personnel to light the movie they’re supposed to be promoting. Most of the time, they bring their own lights but want to use a bunch of ours for set dressing, or they set up right in front of our carts while we’re trying to work – all of us have made at least one accidental appearances in an EPK (I can’t remember which one I got nailed in – all I remember is my sister calling me and telling me that she’d seen me walk through some talking head shot that was airing on some entertainment program, and that I really needed to comb my hair).

Yesterday’s EPK crew, however, brought their own truck with their own equipment and their own guys. They were, however, using our power (it would have been silly for them not to), so two of us had to stay and babysit them because, of course, they didn’t know where anything is on the stage (if they need power pulled out from its hiding place, it’s much easier and faster if they have someone to ask than if they have to search around for it for an hour and then end up calling the best boy and asking him) and we were there to help them and make sure everything got put back in it’s regular spot at the end of the night.

They were all super nice folks (some of whom I remember from the bad old days of low budget music videos) and the day went really well – they had three set ups which were interview areas in different parts of the main set, and although we had a bit of a scramble trying to get them set up in all three at the same time, once we did it was clear sailing and all we had to do was hang out in the gold room and periodically walk around the set to make sure they were okay and answer the occasional random query about where things (various types of cable, the bathrooms, the commissary for lunch) were located. When they were done, they wrapped out their stuff and we wrapped our cable and got the set back to the way it was supposed to be and then called it a day.

I didn’t get a popsicle, though.

Filed under: studio lots, Work, , , , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. clyde says:

    thank you, peggy, for adding me to the blogroll. but i will beg … all you have to do is ask! pretty please?

  2. Charli says:

    On every interview with any actor/dirctor/whatever… you will find the xerox statements:

    “This is by FAR the best movie/tv show I’ve ever been on.”

    “I LOVED working with blah, blah.”

    “They’re the best director I’ve ever worked with.”

    “His/Her performance is the best performance I’ve ever gotten out of an actor.”

    “We look forward to working with each other again.”

    but———– what they really mean was this:

    “I can’t believe how the director screwed us over, what an (bleep).”

    “I’m never working with that piece of (bleep) again.”

    “My co-star, you call that acting? What a fake, I could (bleep) and (bleep-bleep-bleep) before he (bleepity, bleep-bleep).”

    “I’ll never work with those a-(bleep)s again!”

    But come on, who’s going to be honest here? I never babysat either, instead I opted to work at a church nursery. Set hours, a whole bunch of kids, I worked only like four times a month. Good when you’re not legally allowed to work.

  3. boskolives says:

    It sure sounds like you lucked out and got a crew from the top of the EPK food chain, the low end ones are a pain in the ass, all the way down to the knees. As a sound mixer, I’ve been asked to let them “borrow” (borrow? Sorry, I don’t recognize that word, perhaps you mean “rent”?) a lav mic because they forgot to bring one of their own. On more than a few occasions I’ve been asked to let them plug a transmitter into my mixer so they could get a feed of our actual audio that we record during a take. This sounds reasonable until you understand that it means they will hear all of our between the takes talk back and forth from me to the boom op, including rude jokes and a running commentary on the not quite sober lead actor and all the time this person spent in their trailer with the producer, which generated the on-set joke punch line “I don’t need knee pads, I got the part already”. It sure puts a damper on things, as we have to keep reminding each other that the “Dolby” is on. This is our own little in-code, remember those the early dolby ads that said “Shhh…. The world is listening”?

    Wishing you continued recovery from your rapid “gone to ground” episode.

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