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

8 Responses

  1. geekhiker says:

    I guess crafty is just lucky Health Services didn’t pop by for an inspection that day…

  2. ironrailsironweights says:

    No, no, no. You never serve mummified leg with hot sauce. It is much better with mustard.


  3. JCW says:

    I envy that more often than not you’re busy. Background actor = paid-to-wait. And our gigs are generally too short to know people well enough to prank.

  4. Mark G. says:

    That bike basket prank is genius. Kudos.

  5. steve a. says:

    Some other pranks that have year round uses include sneaking up to someone and tearing a strip of gaffer’s tape next to their ear. They will jump. Another old standard is to light the seat underneath a director’s chair with a lighter while someone is sitting in it…the canvas gets hot, and you are long gone while the hot heat hits home and the prankee jumps up, fanning his backsides. And finally, someone wants a cup of coffee and you offer to get one. But you have wrapped a paper clip around your finger and punched a small hole in the styrofoam. From a distance, of course, you snicker and chortle as the slow dribbles of coffee leak out on the hand and wrists of said victim. Try them out sometime. They have withstood the test of time and been passed down thru the generations.

  6. Eddie Lin says:

    Hi Peggy,

    How are you? I see you’re still going strong! Since 2004! Old skool, baby!

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