Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

All nighters galore!

To recap: I spent Thursday and Friday nights teetering 80 feet above downtown Los Angeles in a condor, but didn’t get as much sleep as I’d hoped for as I kept having to re-adjust all night. Normally, once you go up and get in position, that’s it until wrap so you can sleep (or nap in between worrying about some drunk clocking you, in my case), but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

The shots kept changing, and I kept having to readjust my light and the position of my bucket (the part where I’m at). This was complicated by the seemingly endless web of power lines that were in my way no matter what I did. When I’m operating an elevated work platform (i.e. condor), I have to stay a certain distance away from all power lines, and can’t arm my bucket out over any sort of power line at all.  This complicates things when a gaffer’s attempting to do any sort of precision lighting.

Gaffer: “I need you to move about 20 feet left on the arm”

Me:”No can do, sorry. Power lines”.

Gaffer: “Fuck. Can you go right?”

Me: “About five feet and then I’m into the lines on the other side.”

Gaffer: “Fuck. Come down and move your base”.

Moving the base entails descending 80 feet, disconnecting the power feeders, rolling off the leveling blocks and then re-assembling the whole mess 15 feet to the right.

Which is much better than hitting a power line and dying, but it resulted in my only getting a couple of quick cat naps on the one night where I really, really needed to actually get some sleep.

Of course.

After they called wrap just after dawn, we had to drive the condors three blocks to the crew parking area, as we had a police escort and the riggers who were coming in later that day wouldn’t have that and even though car vs. condor usually works out in favor of the condor, why tempt fate?

Finally staggered home, caught a nap on the couch, and then went to the warehouse location near the beach where we lit three scenes in about 8 hours, all of which looked pretty good given that I was starting to see things that weren’t there.

I got home Saturday around midnight, slept about six hours, got up and frantically cleaned the house for the inspector (entering accompanied by the building manager), then went to work again.

Sunday was night exteriors, which we tried to keep small due to having a crew of two, but which still resulted in our running around like crazy in a very dicey neighborhood (apparently there was a shooting a few weeks ago), until about 2 am.

I’ve mentioned before that the all-nighter no sleep thing was a lot easier when I was younger, and it’s not getting any better.

Between the no sleep and the being on my feet all night, I woke up Monday hurting like hell and hobbling around like an old woman (bent over, clutching my lower back, shuffling my feet because it hurt too much to lift them). Despite that, I finished up the house and then waited for the inspector.

He came, looked at the smoke detectors, and then left. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. The building manager was too anxious about the inspection to be rude to me, so the whole event was, if not pleasant, at least not as painful as I’d anticipated.  I went and did laundry, drove to the gym,  swam for half an hour and stretched, hurt less, went home, slept almost 11 hours.

I worked on Tuesday on a friend’s show which is normally a really easy and fun show to work, but I was still groggy and not all there so it was a lot harder than it really had to be – plus, I still felt crappy this morning after sleeping for 10 hours last night. Guess I’m still trying to make up that sleep deficit.

I’m working tomorrow, so we’ll see how I feel after another night’s sleep.

I’m still internetless, so I’m just going to wind it up while I still have the neighbor’s intermittent wireless signal.

Filed under: crack of dawn, locations, up all night, Work

4 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    Yes. Hitting a power line and dying can really put a crimp in your day!

  2. JCW says:

    When I finished up a Monday thru Friday all nighter gig a little over a month back, I slept 12 hours a night two nights running.

    They’ll be back in town for one more night of pick up shots in two weeks… luckily they do not need people established in prior shots… I will NOT be working it.

    It’s true that the older one gets, the harder it is to recover from such jobs.

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