Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Loud Dusty Noise

Once upon a time, when the world was new and our corporate overlords pretended to care about the health of the dirty toolbelt people, there was such a thing as a ‘build day’.

A build day was when the stage upon whatever it was to be shot got turned into a mill – the carpenters came in, cut wood (but not the cheese – at least not until after lunch), sawed, sanded, nailed, painted, etc…

Then, as if by magic, sets would appear. Once this step was complete, the rigging electrics and grips would come in and run cable, hang greenbeds, ‘rough in’ lighting, and so on. Then more painting, drapery, furniture, etc…

After all this was complete, the beautiful and important people would come in and do the real work.

This is now a thing of the past. In the wave of rampant stupidity that’s currently masquerading as cost cutting in Hollywood, this production decided to save money by having us and the grips rig during the build.

This, in case you’re unfamiliar with carpentry in general, means that we were trying to work over the cacophony of saws, grinders, welders, sprayers, and four loud radios (each, of course, tuned to a different station).

The noise made it impossible to hear someone 10 feet away, much less the boss standing on the stage floor, 48 feet below the perms, to give us any sort of direction, changes, or warnings (such as “stop dropping that cable in – the producer’s standing in the set”), since rigging crews don’t normally carry walkies and just yell at each other.

The noise was only one of the problems. In addition to the dust and probably toxic fumes,  this particular stage has air conditioning vents and fire sprinkler pipes that are placed very, very low over the walks – about 4.5 feet, so one has to duck to go underneath them, which is fine until one has a  60 lb. coil of cable on one’s shoulder.

Since I’m trying to keep my back from exploding, I bent my knees and did the ‘duck walk’ all day.

That, plus the trips up and down the stairs to the perms have left my legs aching.

But I was working with really wonderful people who I like a lot, so it was several  really good, albeit long, days.

Tomorrow, I’m back standing on set while eating crafty. I’ll feel like a vacation.

Filed under: crack of dawn, hazardous, studio lots, toxic waste, Work

3 Responses

  1. boskolives says:

    Some day it will be a crime for a person to call themselves a producer if they are not capable of producing a shadow on a sunny day. Until that day, we will have to continue to smile and pretend to care what they say while doing what needs to be done in spite of them instead of because of them.

  2. Sounds like Hollywood Center Studios. Working up high there (with all those fucking AC ducts) is an ordeal.

    This build-and-rig clusterfuck has, unfortunately, become standard operating procedure for pilots and regular season start-ups the last few years. I HATE those first few days of breathing sawdust and paint fumes while trying not to crush the carpenters and painters under the wheels of a man-lift as I hang 5 K’s directly over their heads…

    It’s the worst part of the job. The only good thing about working a build-and-rig is that you suddenly appreciate every other work day that doesn’t include carpenters and painters.

  3. lighttech says:

    it will all change someday
    just like the last time, when it did some poor guy died –now we have to do the safety passport stuff.
    so it will happen again then this will change

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