Lucky for me, today’s last-minute work call was standing on set in the air conditioning, not rigging outside in the extra humid late August oven we call ‘outside’.
We were even on the same stage all day, so barring using the restroom, I didn’t even have to stick my head into the dreaded outside all day.
Most stages hold more than one set – they usually have one big set, and then various smaller sets get crammed into any space they can, leaving not a lot of room to move things – like BFLs on large stands – around, but we’ve all gotten used to this.
Surprisingly, it’s much, much harder to work on the small sets than on the big ones. Not only is there not a lot of room for the gaffer to light (“Move it back. More, more, more… Dammit. Now you’re into the next set. Shit”), but cramming three actors, lights, a camera, a dolly and various crew into a 12′ (4m) square set takes talent and imagination.
The only thing that really makes it possible is ‘wild’ walls.
Even then, it’s tough, though. If we have to hang a light from the grid and need to use a ladder and the grips have to lay flooring for the dolly, there’s no way we can both be in the set and the same time so some jostling takes place.
We do try to work it out, though.
So we lit the small sets, tried to avoid tripping over each other, tried to avoid making our boss curl up in a ball and cry (at work. What he does at home is his business), and worked our way through the day, in the air-conditioning.