Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Like sticking one’s head in an oven

Summer has officially arrived Los Angeles – early last week the temperatures were in the 70’s, later in the week they were in the 90’s, and over the weekend they broke the triple digit barrier – although today it’s cooled off to a relatively brisk 90.

One of the advantages of living in a place that used to pass for a desert is that it cools off at night- the knowledge that once the sun goes down the temperature is going to be in the high 60’s or low 70’s it’s much easier to cope with 100 degrees during the day.

This past weekend, however, nature played a cruel joke on Los Angeles and it didn’t cool off at night so much as become marginally less hot and miserable, but still too hot to sleep.

If I wanted to toss and turn in my sweat-soaked bed at night, struggling to breathe and wondering how to sleep in a bathtub full of cold water without drowning, I’d go to Florida. Or NYC, but at least I could manage to sleep on the fire escape there.

Although I’m not near the beach, which is the preferred place to be when the weather gets this hot, at least I’m not in the San Fernando Valley, which is 10 degrees (or more) hotter. During the summer, I dread going into the Valley even though I sometimes have to do so.

Since I’m currently on a short enforced vacation due to bursitis in my left shoulder (what I really need to do is take a few weeks off, but right now I can’t do that because there’s not enough money in my account to survive another strike so I’m only taking a couple of days of turbo-rest and I can actually let the thing heal when SAG walk out and I’m unemployed for an entire month. Or four),  I decided to take the time to drive up into the valley to go to Contract Services for the I-9 debacle.

Contract Services are the people who keep track of who in the union is in good standing, up to date on safety training and able to work, and a few years ago someone there had a really good idea.

For those of you not in the USA, when you work here you have to fill out a form called the I-9, which is a proof of citizenship/work eligibility. The information required to prove work eligibility is just about all someone else needs to apply for credit in your name, buy a bunch of expensive shit and then not make any of the payments and leaving you to sort it out, which can take years and years and turn just about every hair you have grey.

So, Contract Services decided that we’d all go there once every three years and fill out the I-9 info at the office and they’d keep it on file and not show anyone and the production companies could just give them the list of names and they’d tell them if we were cool or not, and then we wouldn’t have to fill it out the form for each job and subject ourselves to potential hair-greying problems.  Saving a couple of trees by reducing the amount of paper required would also have been a good thing.

Except that none of the production companies will accept the Contract Services on-file I-9, so we still have to fill one out each time we start a new show, plus since Contract Services simply will not admit that this program, while a good idea, just. isn’t. working.  we still have to go up into the inferno that is Encino once every three years and fill out that stupid fucking redundant form that no one ever accepts.  My complaints about this have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Perhaps I should complain louder. Or write someone a very angry letter which would probably be put in the same file as the I-9 and used against me at a later date.

I’ve been getting up at the crack of dawn and not going to the gym because of my shoulder, so I’m starting to bounce off the walls.  I’m not working tomorrow, either, but that will be the last day I can afford to be off work so that shoulder better hurry up and get better.

Dammit.

Just for a giggle (and because I’ve been home and able to partially catch up on my internets), Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl has some hilarious pictures of what San Fernando Valley heat will do to a pillar candle:

http://www.crazyauntpurl.com/archives/2008/06/enough_talking.php

I won’t be able to completely catch up on my internets, though – the way I hold my arms when I type hurts that damn high-maintenance shoulder after a while.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. opus says:

    Enjoy the heat, I live in the Arizona desert we’ve had all most 30 days straight of triple digit heat. Normal for this time of year and at night it cools down to the high 90’s or low 100’s. There’s no cold water coming out of the faucet as the constant heat makes it warm bordering on hot.

    Good luck with your shoulder, hope there isn’t another strike but it doesn’t look good.

  2. Charli says:

    Living by the beach is no guarantee that you will cool off, depends on the house/apt you live. My apt. does not have a window that faces the ocean, instead, I get a courtyard and to make matters even more ridiculous, my window faces away from the ocean, sigh. I left the window in the bathroom open all night, not really to make a difference. We have a fan.

    When I moved to Cali after having lived in Texas and Georgia, I discovered that homes/apt here in Cali by the beach don’t have a/c. Oh, the beach air will cool you off – they said to us.

    LIARS!

  3. D says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the whole I-9 debacle for years. If we don’t fill it out, we’re not on the roster, but productions don’t consult it anyway so we’re left to waste our time in a bureaucratic goose chase that accomplishes nothing and benefits no one but we have to do anyway. This freaking business.

  4. i live in texas so take your heat add in high humidity alsmost what you get on the Gulf coast, little to no wind and the heat starts as early as March (2 yrs ago we hit triple digits then and had rolling blackouts as sev elect plants were down for maintenance and usage spiked to July levels of consumption) and ends in last sept or early oct Personally I consider it summer when it no longer gets cool at night -when you get outside around dawn and its in the 80s its summertime to me :(

    for your shoulder if you can afford a doctors visit you could get a steroid shot or pill scrip to reduce the swelling

    and to aleivate your stress level on sev levels go to the pool instead of the gym

    you can move your arms around as in water aerobics to stretch out your wshoulder muscles while not putting a load on the joint

    also you can use a kick board if you can find one or a float to just work your legs to get some exercise in

    Its how I worked out a weak upper bicep attachment and a triple tramatized knee

  5. Thinking good healing thoughts for your shoulder, sweetie <3
    I wouldn’t go around betting lots of cold hard cash or anything, but I do have a sneaking suspicion that there will not be an actor’s strike.

  6. meg says:

    My husband worked on location in Death Valley. In the summer, they turn off the water heater and reverse the hot and cold faucets, using the water from the water heater as “cold” because it is waaaay cooler than the “hot” that comes out as really really hot straight from the pipes. After that location, he added “Death Valley” to the list of places NOT to work.

  7. I’ve done commercials in Death Valley, and it is indeed a hideous place to work. I’ve done features in the South East (N. Carolina) in August and September — filming in the tobacco fields under the open sun — and it was like working in a steam bath.

    Life is lived and worked on the curve, where whatever you’re accustomed to forms the baseline. What we consider hot here in LA might be nothing compared to Houston, but residents of Bhagdad might find the Texas summer a blesed relief from their own summertime hell. Such comparisions are pointess — it all depends on what you’re used to. We’ve had four thermonuclear heat waves this “Spring” in LA, and each was miserably hot.

    Suffering is suffering, wherever you live — and it sucks.

    As for the Contract Services I-9 nonsense — I quit showing up every three years a decade back, and there have been no repercussions. I still get paid, on time, for every job — and I still have to fill out a fresh I-9 form each time.

    I’ve never understood this. Does Contract Services really think I might have renounced my American citizenship sometime in the past three years, fled the country to Mexico or Canada, then had a change of heart and decided to sneak back into America to resume my former (now illegal) life at same address and phone number I’ve had for twenty+ years? And if they don’t consider that a realistic scenario, then why do they expect me to continually re-prove who I am?

    This is the kind of pointless bureacratic bullshit that turns liberals into conservatives.

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