Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

Ladder to the perms

Back in the old days, to get to the perms one would climb a rope ladder. Then, someone figured out that this was probably unsafe and something about which the dirty toolbelt people might be able to sue.

Enter the wall ladder.

If you’ve ever tried to climb a rope ladder, you will agree that a ladder fixed to a wall is much safer.

But still not that safe.

Enter the cage.

The cage prevents said ladder climber from falling to his or her death (or severe injury) and features a handy platform halfway – not for resting, but to allow more than one person to climb the ladder simultaneously. One person climbs the bottom half, and when that person steps off the lower ladder and onto the platform, the next person starts up.

Mostly for safety, but also because no one wants to  see what’s up a co-worker’s shorts. Trust me on this one.

Filed under: camera, Photos, studio lots, Work, , , , , ,

Cooperative obstructionism

The waning days of a rig are the most frustrating. Most of the work is done, so it’s just small tweaks – pan a light, add a gel, etc.. But since there’s more crap hanging in the air and stacked on the ground and stuff is harder to get to, the illusion of forward momentum is much harder to maintain.

Boss: “Pan that light. No, tilt it. No, wait. Dammit, that tree’s in the way. I can’t see. Stay there and I’ll get it moved”

It’s frustrating for us, it’s frustrating for the gaffer and the DP and people trying to dress the sets while we’re rolling lifts through them, and everyone else. And we can’t put anything off until tomorrow because the stage shoots tomorrow. And since all of us have to work the set, we can’t stay super late because there will be turnaround issues.

In our contracts,  we have specific turnaround times – the time between when we’re dismissed for the night and when we have to report to work in the morning. Although it can go as low as 8 hours (usually on what’s called a distant location where the crew is staying in a hotel and being driven to the set by the teamsters), it’s usually 10.

A forced call is when we’re brought back to work before that time has elapsed. When a call is forced, we start the day in whatever pay bracket we ended the last day in (double time, usually), which, as one can imagine, is expensive, so production never wants to force a call without a very, very good reason or rivers of tears from the director.

Also, it’s not good for a crew to have a call forced. We come to work tired and not at our best, which means we’re far more likely to have or cause an accident than we would be had we just gotten enough sleep.

So we tried our best not to destroy the sets as we added a few lights, changed some other lights and finally went home.

It’s as done as it’s going to get, and my main challenge tomorrow will be to stay away from the junk food at craft service.

Filed under: studio lots, Work, , , , ,

Friday Photo

Lucky perm graffiti

A bas-relief perm graffiti, taken at Hollywood Center Stage 8.

Filed under: Photos, studio lots, Work, , , , , , , , , ,

Pain is for quitters

Due to the physical therapy, I’ve been feeling pretty good, so when a friend called asking if I wanted to work a wrap day…

I don’t think I need to finish that sentence. My answer would have been yes no matter how I’d been feeling. Work is work, and my main objective is to get enough hours to keep my health insurance.

The first half of the day was easy – I was in a lift, taking down lights that were hung from the pipe grid.

Then, after lunch, we got sent up to the perms to drop out some lights. Dropping out lights isn’t all that physically taxing but is very repetitive. One unties the lines, then loops the rope around the handrail and then lowers the light (never, ever, let the rope slide. Friction creates heat and heat burns gloves and hands. Use a hand over hand motion) to the ground.

After a few hours of this I was, as the kids say, fucked up big time.

As I descended the ladder at the end of the day, a twinge let me know I’d overdone it, and on the drive home the nagging pain that I thought I’d conquered resurfaced.

Not, of course, enough pain to stop me from doing some kick sets in the pool after work, but still… pain.

Just enough to remind me that I overdid it, but what the hell am I supposed to do? Turn down work because my wimp of a body isn’t performing?

I don’t think so.

I was, however, very glad to have today off. I went to the physical therapist, who tried her best to make things better and then sent me home wearing a weird patch that lit up and hopefully, will make everything better before I have to push carts up an incline tomorrow.

Yay work!

Gotta keep that insurance.

Filed under: Work, , , , , , , , ,

It takes some getting used to

Last night was my first time going up in the condor in almost a year. Although I’m not normally too terribly afraid of heights, it does take me a bit to adjust to being in a lift after extensive periods of time spent on terra firma.

We were shooting on a Y-shaped studio lot street, so we used three condors. Mine was the lowest, armed out over the intersection, mimicking various streetlights. This had two advantages. It kept me lower, so there was less adjustment panic, and since I was a few feet below the tops of the facades, I was sheltered from the wind (spring has not yet sprung here in Los Angeles, so it’s still a bit brisk at night, especially up in the air).

The other two condors, at opposite ends of the street, were ‘full stick’ (meaning they were at full extension of 80 feet, almost straight up) and at the mercy of the wind and fog.

At least it didn’t rain, but the billowing clouds did make for some entertaining nighttime viewing:

Misty night in the air

The operators in the other two condors told me that the wind died down after about an hour, so everyone had an easy night.

Most terrifying night in a condor ever was the night I was armed out over the LA river for an elaborate car chase scene – my base was on one of the bridges and my bucket was full stick, so the distance to ground was about 200 feet. Adding to the terror spawned by an overactive imagination was a windy night and a very ‘bendy’ condor arm (some of the arms flex more than others).

At the end of the night I think I might have kissed the ground.

Filed under: camera, Photos, studio lots, up all night, Work, , , , , , , , , , ,

Retro(ish) Friday Photo

From the Flickr archives:

Fake blood dispenser

What’s the best way to drip fake blood (corn syrup and food coloring) over a set? Why, with a repurposed ‘maple’ syrup dispenser which once held a product also made from corn syrup and food coloring.

The fake blood is harmless, but very, very sticky. And nearly impossible to get out of your hair.

How do I know this?

Please enjoy a bonus photo from back in the days before digital, when we used Polaroids:

Bloody!

Bloody!

That, my friends, is a largish puddle of fake blood from a low-budget horror movie which, to the best of my knowledge, was never released.

There was so much blood that we had to clean the cable before we sent it back to the lamp dock – since production wouldn’t pay for a pressure washer, we had to use a kiddie pool. We wrapped the syrup covered cable, then dropped the coils into the kiddie pool and scrubbed.

By the end of the day I looked like a serial killer, my hair was sticky and matted with fake blood and although I had no groceries I was afraid to stop anywhere on the way home.

The place in the back of the car where I dumped the wet clothes for the drive home was stained red until I got rid of the car.

Filed under: humor, Photos, Work, , , , , , ,

March 2013
S M T W T F S
« Feb   Apr »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Flickr Photos

Archives

Categories

Random Quote

"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 872 other followers

Twitter Updates

Blogroll

Not blogs, but cool

%d bloggers like this: