Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Sometimes I don’t want to be right

I was really hoping my prediction about getting all my week’s calls for the same day was going to be wrong.

Nope – four calls for Tuesday and then nothing for the rest of the week.  Not ideal, but not a bad thing, either, as yesterday it started to rain and, predictably, all of Los Angeles went into panic mode and the terrifyingly wet streets.

So I cleaned the apartment, did the laundry, did some work on a side project that’s been keeping me too busy to write posts as often as I’d like, brushed the cat and got my annual physical (my cholesterol is good but my blood pressure has me at death’s door in the next week or two. Damn parents. This is their fault).

Since next Thursday is a holiday, there will only be three work days next week so although I’ll be happy to get some work I’m not holding my breath.

Since I’ve been roped into doing some cooking for Thanksgiving (cornbread, herb rolls, carrot cranberry salad and kale chips), it might not be bad to at the very least have Wednesday off.  The cornbread’s my great-grandmother’s recipe and has to be started Tuesday as the cornmeal needs to ferment (I know, it sounds gross, but it’s really good).

We’ll see. I’ll be happy for any day I get.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , ,

All or nothing

Sunday night, I got a work call, which is really unusual. Most of the time, best boys fill their Monday calls by Friday, unless someone gets sick or there’s some extenuating circumstance.

It took me almost an hour to return the call, as I was in the pool and didn’t bother to check my phone (hey, it was Sunday), but when I got out I texted back that I would love the day if he still had it available.

Lucky for me, he did, so I got booked to work on the rigging crew.

Most of our day was spent sitting around waiting for equipment – it’s still fairly busy out there and since most of the rental houses sent astounding amounts of gear out-of-state, it can be a bit of a scramble to get certain things, even when it’s only moderately busy, as it is now.

Apparently it’s been such a scramble that one-day rigs have been getting turned into two-day rigs just because of equipment delays.  Although this rig should have taken about 10 hours, we were only going to be able to complete the cable runs due to not having… stuff.

So we sat, talked, taped cable, sent what we had up into the perms, went to coffee, taped some more cable and then, right before lunch, the rest of the order showed up.

While we finished our cable runs, I got four texts to work the next day. Four. Right in a row. Since I’d taken the first one, I had to turn the other three down and made the joke that I probably wouldn’t get anymore days this week as they all came in clumped up into one.

After a shortish turnaround (day exteriors in winter – early calls to get as much of the light as possible), I worked a 10 hour day on an insert unit where we only had to light the last few shots, so I was fully awake by the time I actually had to do any work.

Sure enough, I didn’t get any work calls for later in the week, but I wasn’t expecting any.

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

Friday Photo

Windshield, post-explosion

Explosions for movies are all about the sound and fury. Huge colorful flames, ear-splitting noise, and little, if any, debris.

The reasons for this should be obvious. Expensive people standing around, expensive cameras, expensive cars, expensive equipment, and last night a very expensive (I’m not sure but I feel safe assuming here) helicopter.

So one does not, in any way, shape, or form, want debris flying off of one’s perfectly safe explosion.

But sometimes it just can’t be helped.

Cars, for example. One can weaken the frame, strip the vehicle as much as possible and try to minimize the debris, but there’s always going to be crap flying everywhere, and last night was no exception.

We had the ‘hero’ explosion (which shook the bridge!) and then when we went in for coverage, we had to step around a truly impressive debris field.

Unfortunately, this was for the television show that fears and hates free publicity, so no shots of the actual explosion – just the aftermath.

I don’t know about you, but I find safety glass hilarious, especially after it’s been blown 30 feet in the air and slammed into the road surface of a bridge.

Filed under: hazardous, locations, long long drives, Photos, up all night, Work, , , , , , ,

What a difference a week makes

I’ll admit I’ve gotten a bit soft, sitting in my nice dimmer room, chair at the ready, no rain, no cold, wearing slippers on show day (when I can’t leave the board) is a possibility…

Then, the show ended, and after making a few calls, I got five days on a one hour drama which has already aired but has such tight security I’ll call it Sooper Secret.

Five days in a row is great, but after day one (call time: 5 am. Wrap time 8pm. Commute: One hour each way) I wondered how my feet were going to hold up.

The fun part was shooting on a closed bridge in the city of Long Beach.

Working on roads that are closed to traffic is fun – the surface is smooth so carts and stands don’t get stuck anywhere, and there’s enough room so that everyone can get around easily.

Working on roads that aren’t closed is scary as hell – one never knows when a driver will accidentally (or, sometimes purposely) take aim at one of the carts or crew members (I can tell you from personal experience that imported German sedan vs. cart full of HMI ballasts isn’t pretty – and there’s no clear winner), despite the presence of police officers and lots of cameras.

The bad part was the truck being approximately 500 miles away from the set – and no direct route back. So if we needed something that didn’t come up in the stakebed, it took a very long time to get it.

Lucky for us the gaffer’s not a screamer.

Tonight was mainly driving stunts, and tomorrow we blow up a car!

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

Friday Photo

20131101-135610.jpg

A backdrop against a stage floor and a pit. On sound stages, any part of the floor that’s hollow underneath the boards must be marked, because if you roll a lift over it, the floor can collapse.  This one’s pretty small, but there are a few stages where most of the floor is covering a pit and trying to hang lights when you can’t use a lift can be trying, especially if you’ve got tall sets.

Yesterday was my first day out from behind the dimmer board – I took a one day call on a friend’s TV show shooting right down the street from my pad.  In addition to the wonderfully short commute, it was really nice to be able to go to the bathroom when I wanted to, visit crafty when I wanted to, and the crew were all very nice folks that I really enjoy working with. They even got us out early (5 pm) so folks could go home and have Halloween with their kids.

Thankfully, it’s still busy out there so I’ve already got at least four days next week.

Hooray for work!!

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

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