Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

What I did with my holiday weekend

Sunday, I did a favor job, even though what I really wanted to do was go to a BBQ and stuff myself full of booze and tasty meat products.

Normally my answer to questions about working for free or for a vastly discounted rate is a resounding ‘no’,  but the person doing the asking has thrown me a lot of work, and the job was crewed with extra wonderful people who I really like, so of course I said yes.

This particular day was a shoot for a short film referred to as a vanity project.  Somebody writes a short script, hits up friends and family for money, rents some equipment and starts shooting. Most of these projects are completely insufferable, but this one actually seemed rather clever, and director and producer were super nice guys – I hope they make it really big, or at least get their pick of the bimbos at Sundance.

We had a 9 am call time in a parking garage at CBS Radford, which was okay as we were out of the sun.  Then, just as it started to get hot, we moved to the Universal backlot, which is host to a dizzying variety of microclimates. Parts of the lot are like working in a microwave, and parts of the lot require a fur parka when the sun goes down. Mostly, the facades are hot (concrete and glass with no wind) and anything near the lakes is nice but buggy during the day and freezing at night.

Of course, we were in one of the hottest areas during the day – the lot’s European Village set – complete with steep hills, cobbled streets and a layout which prevents any winds from reaching the set while it bakes in the sun.

Attempting to push carts up a steep hill over cobblestones can be an adventure to say the least. On a show with a budget, we’d have a driver and a stakebed, but since we didn’t we just had to push and swear.

About halfway though the day, my feet (both of them, not just the one) were aching, and by the end of the day the pain had radiated up to my knees and hips. This is normal for this particular set, sadly.

If you’ve never had the misfortune to try to walk on cobblestones, they’re uneven and slippery. When they get wet (and of course we were using rainbars), they’re like bumpy ice – it’s impossible to get any kind of purchase at all, especially when one’s pushing a cart full of cable (or a cart full of whatever people used to put in carts) up a hill.  I’m surprised humanity emerged with intact spines.

Also, the production staff couldn’t remember my name when they labelled the walkies, so they wrote ‘girl electric’ on mine. I was expecting much snickering about this from my co-workers, but they were either too tired to make fun of it or just didn’t care. I’m sure they’ll razz me about it later.

Call time: 9 am. Camera wrap: midnight. After wrapping all our gear and loading our truck, we left at 2 am.

When I finally did get home, all I wanted to do was faceplant into the bed, but the long day of sweating in the 80+ degree heat left me smelling so bad that I had to take a shower, which put me in bed about 3 am.

Between the long day and those fucking cobblestones, I was so sore I could hardly walk Monday, and even yesterday I was still dragging. A swim helped, but I didn’t really feel rested until this morning.

It wasn’t all that bad, though – we only had a 3 ton truck (that’s small, in case you were wondering), so we couldn’t get all that peeled, and I was working with some wonderful fun people, so the time went fairly quickly.

Tomorrow, I have my mandatory unemployment interview, where I’ll try to explain to them that I don’t really apply for work in the traditional sense.

Wish me luck with that one.

Filed under: studio lots, Work

2 Responses

  1. Tiffany says:

    Good luck on the interview! Looking forward to hearing about how it goes.

  2. Marci Liroff says:

    Fuck.. Just fuck. Am I allowed to say that?!
    I know how you want to do the right thing and jump in and help out your friends who have helped you and given you jobs….but fuck!

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