Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Get down, get funky. Or something.

Right after I hauled myself out of bed in the morning, I got a call from the best boy  of Reluctant Porn Star to come in and replace someone who’d called in sick.

They were shooting all the way across town in a roller rink that hasn’t seen a remodel since the Carter administration (perfect for a movie set in the 1970’s). After almost two hours of fighting traffic, I dumped my bags in the truck and started changing gels on the lights we had rigged in the ceiling over the rink.

Roller rinks, in case you’re not familiar, are made of sanded and varnished wood, kind of like a basketball court. Ladders and nice smooth antique wood surfaces don’t really go together very well, so we had to keep layout board (4′ by 8′ sheets of heavy cardboard) under the ladders. Which was fine, except that we had a limited amount of time until the company moved inside and having to move the board does tend to slow one down.

As soon as the shooting crew moved inside, the rink got insanely hot. I guess they decided to rely on the building’s AC instead of renting a stand alone industrial one, which never works when one has close to 200 people inside plus a bunch of really hot lights. The smoke machine didn’t help, either.  The stuff they use to make theatrical smoke is supposed to be harmless, but after a while it makes my chest hurt and my eyes burn.

Some of the extras didn’t really know how to roller skate, and were careening around the rink, out of control – one kept smacking into the wall which didn’t hurt anyone, but another crashed into the dolly and took out one of the camera assistants.  Walking through the crowd of unsteady projectiles while carrying a hot light was an added degree of difficulty for the day. Lucky for me I managed to avoid getting hit.

In addition to the work for the day, we shot a music video for the band who were playing in the scene. One of the things I hate about working on music videos is, well, the music.

It’s not that I don’t like music, it’s that I don’t like hearing the same song over and over and over and over. I’m not sure if it’s worse when it’s a song I like or a song I don’t like.

Our last shot of the night was outside in a parking lot visible form the street, also known as paparazzi Christmas.

As soon as they spotted their thespian prey, they crowded as close as they could to the set without violating trespassing laws. Unfortunately, this made it very difficult for the rest of the crew to do our jobs.

When I’ve got a cart full of equipment, I’d really rather use the sidewalks as walking in the roadway is a hazard, but when there are ‘photographers’ blocking the sidewalk and refusing to move because “it’s public property and you can’t make me”  I go in the street and hope for the best.

Luckily this was late at night on a weeknight.

After wrapping, packing the truck and driving back across town, I got home at 1:30 am. Tomorrow, I have to be at work on Been Done Before at 8:30 am.

Filed under: hazardous, life in LA, locations, long long drives, up all night, Work, , , , , , ,

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