Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Down time

Long days with not much work happening are more emotionally draining than short ones – you’re still there for 12 hours, but doing less, so the boredom hits. At least when the day’s busy everyone’s running around and the next thing you know it, they’ve called wrap.

But when it’s a slow director or something that’s time intensive (like stunts), the day just drags, so we try to find ways to pass the time.

Part of what happens when crews have too much time on their hands is pranks.

Today’s prank was the effects people putting fake decayed body parts on the crafty table, which was a failure in that no one really cared about it, and some folks even made jokes about the bottled hot sauce going well with mummified leg in the event that lunch was late.

Crafty table

Guess they should have waited until some of the suits came on set if they wanted a reaction.

We also did a lot of talking after we finished our respective newspapers, and in light of the body parts at crafty, we started trading prank stories.

Which got me thinking. Of course I like to paint myself as a wonderful person who loves everyone and would never, ever do anything like dropping a live squirrel into the open sunroof of a camera operator’s BMW, but the truth is that I succumb to the lure of the cheap laugh just as readily as anyone else.

In addition to the squirrel incident (which didn’t really happen and wasn’t me especially if it was your BMW), I have been involved in some way, shape or form, with the following pranks:

Nail-gunning a director’s shoes to the stage floor (not while he was wearing them, of course).

Various tomfoolery involving clothespins (you sneak up behind someone and ‘tag’ them by attaching  clothespins to their person. It’s harder than you’d expect).

Soldering a pink girly bike basket to a guy’s (very macho) lot bike.

Hoisting said bike up to the stage perms, dead-hanging* it and then making sure there were no lifts around to retrieve it.

Various tomfoolery involving cell phones (Facebook mobile with saved log-in information has added a whole new realm of possibilities to this).

Actually, reviewing this list I’m not all that much of a prankster. Some of the stories that I heard today put me to shame. And gave me ideas.

Next show. There will always be a next show.

* Dead-hanging means that instead of running a rope out from the catwalks (where it can be easily retrieved), one secures an item directly to the perms out in the ‘o-zone’ off the walks. The only people who are allowed to go off the walks are the grips, so this prank doesn’t work on them.

Filed under: humor, Uncategorized, Work

Friday Photo

Yesterday for some reason, half our extras were hearing impaired. Which is fine, except when one is carrying a stand through a door and yells “Points!” and no one moves and then one curses under one’s breath before remembering that they can’t hear.

This makes one feel like the proverbial heel, so then one goes to the crafty table to console oneself with fatty snacks and finds this:

and it's 7 percent what?

What I want to know is.. what’s the other 7 percent?

Filed under: camera, Photos, Work

Why I lie.

Sometimes, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I make something up. Usually, it’s something boring, like data entry, telephone customer service, or prostitution.
I can usually get a feel for when I need to lie – but today while I was at  the gym I missed it, probably due to fatigue after having worked out.
I’ve seen the lady many times before, both in the locker room and on the gym floor, and she’s always seemed nice enough. Today, she waited until I was naked, then asked me what I did for a living, and due to oxygen deprivation after a swim I told her I worked set lighting.
She paused,  then asked me if there were any way I could get a script to Past Her Prime Starlet.
I tried to explain to her that PHPS would likely not even speak to us dirty toolbelt people, and probably wouldn’t even hit her brakes if she saw one of us in a crosswalk, so my attempting to get a script to her was futile at best and a fast track to the ‘don’t call her to work any more’ category at worst.
She just kept telling me I should help her out, and I kept trying to explain to her that she was, as they say, barking up the wrong tree.
Remind me next time someone asks to tell them I pull cans out of the garbage for a living.

Filed under: cranky, Non-Work

Stop rolling your eyes or they’ll stick like that.

It started, I’m told, at Paramount.

Some poor craft service* person needed to wash serving utensils, so he (or she) used the bathroom sink. Hey, at least the dishes got washed, right?

The health department got wind of this and became quite cross.

So cross, in fact, that they shut the show’s craft services down due to some sort of food service health codes,  which I’m not even going to try to explain beyond the obvious statement that putting communal food out on a table so the crew can nosh violates just about every one of them.

The health department people then went to visit craft service on a few other shows, became enraged by the open bowls of potato chips (or something) that they saw, and shut down the craft service of every show on the lot.

But that wasn’t enough. There are many other lots with movie sets in Los Angeles, you see, and the terrier-like health department decided that  they must inspect them all to see first hand the disgusting filth in which we wallow.

So they moved on to Warner Brothers, then LA Center, and then a few others and finally, as we knew they would, they raided our show.

Despite preparing the best they could, our craft service people were also shut down, lectured and told that they better be in compliance with the aforementioned food service laws by Monday or else.

So today, when we came to work, we saw this:

Safe sugar

Yes, that’s a box of pastries which  have been individually wrapped for our safety.

Also, no more sandwich bar on the crafty truck. We’re not allowed in there anymore because we have cooties.

And we can’t have real milk with our coffee. We have to have prepackaged ‘creamers’ which are mostly corn syrup and artificial flavor.

Luckily, this is just temporary until the health department decides to pick on someone else. Then, everything will go back to normal.

*Once upon a time, Craft Service was just the extra person on the set – they’d pull cables, push carts, massage the producer’s girlfriend’s feet, etc.. Then, OSHA declared that meal breaks must occur every four hours in order to prevent hypoglycemic comas and rampant cannibalism. There was, of course, an uproar.  Lighting set-ups can sometimes take four hours. Setting up stunts can take four hours. Makeup can take four hours.  If we stopped to eat every four hours, we’d never get anything done.

So, now we have a table of food that we can graze on, and because of that, OSHA allows us to take meal breaks at longer intervals. It’s supposed to be six hours, but sometimes it’s a lot longer than that.

Filed under: studio lots, Work

Friday Photo

Tsunami Watch 2011


Thankfully, Southern California will escape the terrible devastation that hit Japan, but our normally tranquil beaches are littered with news vans today.

I’m fine – the area of the coast near me is expecting a tsunami of about 20 inches – a mini-nami if you will.



Filed under: Photos

It’s that time of year again.

Springtime – when the weather becomes unpredictable from day-to-day, and bees try to have sex with birds. Or something.

Sure, it’s sunny and beautiful and the flowers are blooming (and work’s busy, so no road trips this year), but it’s cool and overcast one day, and blazing hot the next day.

Today was a relatively hot day at 80 degrees. Sure, 80’s not that hot for California in the summer, but  it’s been around 65 degrees every day until today.

Actually, it was nice and cool right until we moved off the stage and onto a set built in the middle of a parking lot (blacktop, of course) and surrounded by buildings on four sides, so any breeze there was didn’t stand a chance of getting to us.

Also of course I didn’t see the hot day coming and dressed for mid 60’s and overcast, not 80 and sunny. I just about baked. Plus, my discount store off-brand deodorant failed (80 and a heavy shirt was just too much for it), so by the time I got off work I’m pretty sure I had cartoon stink lines surrounding me.

Which was fine, except that I decided to go to the gym after work.

I did not make any new friends there today.

Right at the top of the list of things to do before work tomorrow is get some better deodorant.

Filed under: mishaps, Work

Absent for now

I’ve discovered my recliner has a massage feature. It’s hard to blog with a melted brain

Filed under: Non-Work, Off-Topic

Phone post check.

What I’m doing on a slow day at work (days without much lighting are slow for us, but the grips are getting killed).

I’ll check the formatting when I get home.

UPDATE: looks pretty good. Now I have no excuse except that typing on that stupid touch screen makes me insane.

Filed under: Uncategorized

March 2011

Flickr Photos



Random Quote

"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

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