Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Some unpleasant surprises

All studio lots have stray cat populations which are tolerated as cats are generally preferable to the rats that flourish with the aid of Los Angeles’ mild climate and discarded remnants of second meals*.

The studios have kitty population control programs, but since it’s just not possible to catch and sterilize them all, there are always at least 20 cats (give or take a litter or three) on each lot.

Normally, this isn’t a problem except when one of said kitties decides that a corner of our set is a dandy place to heed the call of nature. The big stage doors can be locked, of course, but it’s just not possible to seal off every entrance available to a six pound cat.

The nice thing about yesterday’s set was that all the wall outlets were wired. Many times on sets although there are electrical outlets built into the set walls (for realism), they aren’t connected to anything so they can’t be used, which is a pain in a set that, say, only has one entrance which is on camera and we have to try to cable over the wall when there are 30 people standing in the way. This, needless to say, is frustrating, so we’re always glad when we can plug a lamp into a working wall outlet.

The bad thing about yesterday’s set was that the wall outlets were wired, so as I was bending over to plug a lamp into an outlet (which, of course, was installed near the floor), my face came dangerously close to what I can only assume was recycled rat with a side of kibble. Of course, since all the important people were on set I couldn’t give into my initial urge, which was to jump backwards and scream “eeeeeeewwwww!”

Since I live with a cat and dump a litterbox on a weekly basis, you’d think I’d be used to the sight of cat shit, but seeing it in a corner of a set was, well, surprising – as was the puddle of urine I found on the upper floor of the set.

Damn cats.

I suppose I should have told one of the set dressers, but we got busy and I forgot.

They’ll find it soon enough.

*film crews must be fed every six hours. First meal (lunch, no matter what time of day) comes six hours after call, second meal comes six hours after the end of lunch. All of us pray we never see third meal, but we sometimes do.

Filed under: Work, , , , , , , ,

6 Responses

  1. Catherine says:

    Working in TV and the movies is so glamorous! ;)

  2. Dave2 says:

    Hey, at least it’s not stray horses wandering around the set!

  3. nezza says:

    Lovely…! That’s why I always wear washing up gloves when I’m gardening. I get fed up of weeding my neighbour’s cat poo. Smells and looks delicious. I have no idea why it thinks my garden is a litter tray.

  4. Chris says:

    By “discarded”, do you mean thrown into a trash can (and not a PROP trash can on the set), or do you mean, as is far more often the case, bits of second meal secreted in desk drawers, bureaus, file cabinets, credenzas, and other spots for the rats to find, and for set dec to find weeks later?

  5. Charli says:

    My son once wanted a dog, I told him it was no problem, but that I wasn’t about to clean up the poop, that he had to do it. We never owned a dog.

  6. jesse says:

    Ah the third meal! You made me feel young again Peg. You reminded me of when my eye’s where big and the possibilities were endless.
    I got a chance to work on an Independent Movie in 1981. If you had asked me what that meant all that I could have told you at the time was that I think it meant that I could work 24 hours a day for a week and walk away with $75. But it didn’t matter because I WAS WORKING IN THE MOVIES!!!!!!! and the people who ran those movie death camps new all to well that we would do anything to be there and they took full advantage. But I’m singing to the choir………
    But lets get to the third meal course!
    It’s a long story so I’m going to chop it…….
    We were in Watts burning down an abandoned church. The security guard had shown up on a Rat Bike Harley with a sawed off
    12 .ga pump strapped to the ridged frame. I saw this as a sign.
    32 hours later of nonstop filming it was a sign that the Director and the D.P. were coke heads that didn’t need anything more than a mirror for breakfast, lunch and dinner and lunch and…….
    One department stepped forward, the sound dept. They lowered the sound boom literally, collected monies from all that had it and walked into the darkness of Watts to find food. On the night horizon a beacon shone, the white light of a heavenly bucket of Col. Sanders Chicken. So our noble sound men walked into the night.
    Yes, they were delirious so they had forgotten the were “Crackers/
    Whitey” walking into another atmosphere of the human condition.
    15 minutes later with torn shirts, bloody lips and puffy eyes they returned without that third meal, without our money and without their wallets.
    Oh noble Soundmen god bless you and god bless the promise of a third meal that never came.
    Oh, by the way folks, that’s why we have unions in this business.
    God bless you all and let us continue because The Show Must Go On!
    Break-a-Leg Peg!

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