Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Design flaws

This past week, I’ve been doing a few days on a no-budget indie movie. It hasn’t been bad – the director is the nicest guy in the world, and is really efficient so the days haven’t been very long.

The show’s shooting in an old TV studio that was abandoned and is now being rented to productions by some people who don’t have a reputation for being overly honest (and that’s saying something in LA), so when one of the production’s RED cameras went missing, the people who run the stage were, of course, the prime suspects (also because the theft happened late at night with no sign of forced entry).

Of course there’s no way for us to prove this, but every time I’ve had the misfortune to work at this particular excuse for a stage, something has gone missing – and the film crew rumor mill about stuff like this is usually fairly accurate.

I feel bad for the misfortune that’s happened to some very nice people, but what’s really been on my mind has been the dull ache that I’ve had in my left hip for a long time (and have ignored in the hopes that it would just go  away on it’s own) which has suddenly progressed to stabbing pain in the hip – it hurts no matter if I’m sitting, standing, laying down, etc..

Today, I finally took the plunge and went to the doctor. He told me it’s nerve damage from years of wearing a toolbelt that sits on the hips (anything around my actual waist is uncomfortable for 14 hours at a stretch, in addition to making me look like a Volkswagen).

Me: “So I can say that I’ve literally busted my ass?”

Doctor: “No, more like you’ve dented your ass.”

Oh, that’s just great. A dented ass. Does that raise or lower my stock?

Luckily, I’m not working again until Friday so I’ve  got a couple of days to let said dent heal. Today, I went out and got a new belt – buying stuff that’s marketed to the film industry is hideously expensive, so I went to a still camera store and got a really nice heavily padded toolbelt for about $30.

If the additional padding doesn’t help, I’m going to have to go the way of the farmer john toolbelt and suspenders (the toolbelt is loose and hangs from suspenders), which I hate. I’d rather have the stuff attached to me where at least I’ve got a chance of feeling it if someone tries to tag* me.

The larger question here, though is this:

Why run nerves where they’re going to interfere with such a convenient resting place? Any woman will tell you that hips are great for  load distribution – toolbelts, squirming  toddlers, grocery bags, stray bits of lumber, etc..  they all migrate to the hips because that’s the easiest place to carry the weight.

Who was it that was using the phrase intelligent design in relation to the human body? I call bullshit. This is the best example of stupid design I’ve seen recently.

Don’t even get me started about shins.

*sneaking up behind someone and affixing a clothespin to their person.

Filed under: Work, , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Floyd says:

    How common is tagging on a set?

    Are actors immune because it might ruin a shot?

    Any idea how old the practice is?

  2. Nathan says:

    Obviously, I don’t know exactly what ailment you have, but I had something similar a couple of years back. Turned out to be sicatica…a pinched nerve in my lower back. It wasn’t caused so much by something hard banging on my hip, but by poor weight distribution (I was carrying around an overloaded backpack over one shoulder).

    The thing that finally got me sorted out (after much dithering and disbelief on my part) was when I went to an acupuncturist a few times.

    IIRC, they make a “cross-chest” tool belt for Railroad workers that distributes the weight more evenly.

  3. churk says:

    Ah yes, tagging. I’d forgotten that from my grip days. I used to make these really long tails on them with grip tape. Good times, good times…

  4. Charli says:

    Peg – get thee to a doc who has a MicroCurrent machine. I had a friend back in Santa Cruz who was a homeopathic doc and she had one (cost around $10k) and she’d charge $150 per treatment. Either chiropractor or homeopathic somewhere around L.A. will have one.

    I played rugby and well, sort of got injured, lower back injury. Now, this injury somehow pinched a nerve on my lower right hip. This MicroCurrent machine comes with two gloves used as a conductor for the current, and by the way, you can’t feel the current.

    My doc friend placed one of those gloves on my hip and the other at my ankle, placed the machine at the right setting and I lay there for about 50 minutes.

    Nerve pain be gone!!!

    I had lived with this ‘pinch’ for weeks and weeks and wasn’t sure what to do about it, one treatment, I was cured. Think about it, nerve damage, use a ‘current-electrical’ treatment, puts everything back to the right wave order.

    Try it once you can afford it, these treatments are rarely covered by insurance.

  5. Sam says:

    Ah, I got pegged yesterday. Working with a camera crew of guys that had known each other for yonks and decided I needed to be broken in. Always amusing. ‘Twas a peg yesterday, though, which they kept trying to add a second and third one too. I’ve never tried to tag someone with a clothes-pin – isn’t that a bit hard?

    And I agree with Charli. I screwed a nerve (somehow, can’t remember) running down the inside of my knee playing soccer and the microcurrent machine fixed it right up. Prescribed by someone with a real medical degree and everything! I was lucky enough to get most of it under insurance because of the health insurance I have here in Oz, but I don’t know how worker’s insurance works over there in the US, so it might be a tad pricey if you have to cover the total cost.

  6. Peg:

    I went to the construction-suspenders belt ten years ago, and haven’t looked back. It helps a lot with the weight distribution (from waist to shoulders), especially with those goddamned walkie-talkies we’re now required to wear – particularly the older “bricks” we often get stuck with on less-than-big-budget productions. Yeah, I suppose I look like an idiot in suspenders, but since I carry heavy things for a living, maybe that’s just what I am — an idiot. Either way, I’ll never go back to a regular tool belt.

    Female juicers look good no matter what belt they use, so don’t worry about that.

    I watched the grips score a “double-tag” on our 1st AD the other night — an ex-grip himself, who doubtless tagged hundreds of unsuspecting victims over the years. He’s also something of a putz, and richly deserved getting tagged.

    Karma — it’ll get you everytime..

  7. geekhiker says:

    All the old guys I knew always wore the suspenders. Now I guess I know why…

    As for the design flaws, remember that old joke about running a sewage treatment pipe through the middle of a recreation area?

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