Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

It’s Saturday Night and I’m up in the air. Sort of.

In addition to Been Done Before and Yet Another Cop Show, I’m now picking up days on a movie that’s crewed by some wonderful people who I like so much I’ll happily come and work on a low-budget clusterfuck from hell.

Let’s call it Reluctant Porn Star*.

The one thing that low-budget movies do to cut costs is cut manpower. Which is fine, except that the smaller the crew, the longer it takes to light big, wide shots where we see the entire world (or at least the entire pool and courtyard of a motel that hasn’t seen a remodel since the Carter administration).

The solution? Use your condor operators!

Normally, going up in the condor means that you stay up all night, even when your light’s not in use, because it takes longer than most gaffers want to wait to raise the boom arm, get back into position and have the light come up to full strength (HMI lamps take a few minutes to reach full brightness). It’s much faster to leave the person up there all night with the light burning, but panned off the set so when the light is needed, it’s ready instantly and the gaffer looks like a rock star when the DP says “Wow, that was fast!”

Except when you’ve got an enormous night exterior to light and production won’t give you the manpower that you need, letting the condor operator sit up there doing nothing doesn’t seem like such a great idea any longer.

So, I had to come down and work the set.

Which turned out to be a good thing, as right after lunch a really heavy fog rolled in, and if I’d been up in the air, I would have been soaking wet – which would have been just fucking great for my cough.

Unfortunately, since I’d assumed I’d be up in the air all night, I didn’t take a nap before work, so I was really sleepy, especially since the coffee machine broke right after lunch.

When I die, if I go to hell, my personal torture chamber will be a night exterior with no coffee available.

I got home from work around 6 am Sunday morning, slept for about four hours and then stumbled through the day. I think there was a bike ride in there at some point, but really the whole day’s a blur.

After struggling to stay awake until dark Sunday night, I slept a good 12 hours and then went to the gym to sit in the steam room in an attempt to encourage whatever’s living in my chest to move out.

We’ll see. I’m back on Been Done Before tomorrow.

*This is not actually the name of the movie.

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

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