Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Easing into the real world

Over the past two(ish) months, I’ve become accustomed to the lighter schedule of the multi-camera show.

Monday, we come in around 2 pm, and work until about 8. We hang lights – enough to ‘rough in’ the look so when they do the rehearsal with the cast the next morning, they have a good idea what the sets look like and what we need to change or add.

Ditto Tuesday and Wednesday.

Our long days are Thursday (block and pre-shoot) and Friday (audience), but neither of those days usually go over 12 hours.

Friday, the director does a ‘block and refresh’ with the cast before lunch, and then the audience load in and we shoot the live show.

Most directors finish with the refresh well before lunch, leaving us with a two-hour lunch.

This is a good thing and a bad thing.

I can go to the bank or the gym or just nap for those two hours, but I’m also on the Sony lot which means there’s a deeply discounted electronics store within walking distance, and I really don’t need to blow a paycheck on three TVs and a sound system.

But next week is our last week, and we’ve got three new sets plus an extra shoot day (to re-do the opening sequence), so we’re going to have more hours than usual.

We’ll have a nice check right when we’re unemployed, but the fact that we’re all dreading working a 60 hour week is some indication as to how spoiled we’ve gotten and what a shock it’s going to be to return to the real world of production, where every day will be 12 hours. Or more.

I have to say I really thought I was going to hate being stuck on a multi camera, but it’s been fun – largely because of the wonderful folks I’m working with, who I’ll miss when we’re done (but will see out in single camera world on a semi-regular basis).

I’ve also discovered that copious amounts of free time on a regular basis make me get less stuff done, not more.

Although I have binge-watched several Netflix series on the one new TV I bought (just one, although the salesperson really tried to get me into two).

My new hobby is watching movies from the 70s and 80s and pausing to really get a good look at the backgrounds.

I can really see the tape and spit holding the sets together.  It’s hilarious.



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

5 Responses

  1. chucksnuc says:

    I like film crew mistakes and Hawaii 5-0 shaky shiny boards.
    What are some of your faves?
    Like ……. camera shadow going across the coach drover’s back in Stagecoach. Contrails in THe Searchers. Walls that shake on bad TV when someone closes a door.

  2. Chuck says:

    I like watching Rockford Files and marveling over how empty LA and Malibu used to be.

  3. The multi-cam world is an elephant graveyard where juicers and grips go when — like me — they’re too old to work single-camera shows anymore. With more free time, less actual work, and no 4/0, what’s not to like? Oh right, the smaller paychecks… but on a full scale show with 12 hour guarantees for Thursday/Friday, the money isn’t bad. Not nearly so good as episodic pay, but a fatter paycheck is no long worth being tied to the episodic whipping post — not for me, anyway.

    Still, you need a lot of gray hair to really be ready for multi-cam life, because they do spoil you — and having to re-enter the real world of 70 to 80 hour weeks is brutal…

  4. I was on the Sony lot only once – 1980 – I believe it was Lorimar then, but the Metro sign was still on top of the tallest soundstage. For the most part, when I was there it still looked similar to what Gable or Garland would have recognized. Photos I’ve seen of the work they’ve done to spruce up the place seem to me sorta sad…. obscuring the little history of MGM left intact. What’s your take? I don’t have to work there….

    • Peggy Archer says:

      It needed an update. It’s a working lot, so they can’t keep it the way it was. I really wish they’d clean their damn perms. There’s bottles of pee up there from the 80s.

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