Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

On second thought, maybe don’t let it snow.

I’ve worked in all sorts of environments – asbestos-filled, slimy, stinky, smoky, rat-infested, prostitute-infested (oddly enough, not the same place), etc..

But this past week is the worst I’ve ever felt from something on set. My cough has escalated into full-blown bronchitis, and one of the actors got so sick he had to take a day off.

Needless to say, once someone important got sick production put a stop to the paper snow (which, it turns out, wasn’t movie snow, but acoustic insulation – the type that is mixed with plaster and sprayed onto ceilings).

This was a step in the right direction, but what they switched to was shredded styrofoam – and still continued to throw in front of fans because the shakers are ‘for big shows’.

This led to marginally less coughing, but a lot more itching.

I only itched a bit (as in I waited until I got home to claw my clothes off and scrub my skin raw), but two of my co-workers were driven to the brink of madness by the itching.

Instead of the inadequate mask from production, I stopped off at the hardware store and bought a better one, so yesterdays 15.5 hour cluster fuck (oh, that’s a post all on its own) left me with only a mild cough.

Today, we started the wrap, so we were only there for 8 hours – but I still wore my mask as the FX guys were sweeping up the flakes and it was really dusty.

After work, I went to swim, but was almost 15 seconds slower per 100 meters due to the difficulty breathing and the coughing.

Although it’s not being blown around any longer, the snow will continue to be a problem since it’s on (and in) everything. We’re going to have to use the compressed air to blow the stuff out of the lights we’re taking down from the pipe grid.

Outside, of course, and wearing masks.

 

Filed under: hazardous, toxic waste, Work, , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. skatefriday says:

    The 3M 6200 series respirator with the P100 particulate filters are really quite nice and can be had rather inexpensively from amazon. Highly recommended.

  2. The only thing worse than having to wear a mask at work is not having a good mask to wear in such conditions — but they all suck. You can’t talk on the walkie, your face works up a god-awful sweat under that rubber, and you feel like a scuba diver without the cooling effects of being in the water. If you have to wear glasses at work (that would be me), no mask that I’ve seen is remotely practical.

    Smoke, dust, plastic snow — I hate having to work in any of it on set…which is one more reason I work in the multi-cam world, where we rarely have to deal with such atmospheric pollutants. The money is nothing to write home about, but at least my lungs and sinuses don’t take a beating.

    Work is work, but I do hope you can get on a more user-friendly show soon.

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