Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

At least I was out of the sun

Normally, the heat comes slowly – getting slightly warmer and slightly warmer every single day, like the frog in the pot of water.

But it’s gotten very warm in about 72 hours. Monday, it was in the 60’s, and today it was 90 on the (un-airconditioned) lamp dock where I was pulling gear for a TV show.

I’m not going to work on said TV show, I was just an extra guy to help pull equipment from the shelves and lay it out so they could test and count it.

Normally, this is not the most exciting thing in the world to do, but it was made more interesting by the lamp dock being organized by someone I’m pretty sure was on crack, so it was an adventure trying to find all the parts of the lamps.

The guys who work there all the time are used to it, but my heat-addled brain wanted to make sense of things, so I just kept wandering around with scrim bags in my hands, saying “Why?”

No one ever answered me.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be outside in the sun all day. I’m afraid.

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

The shit zone

I haven’t worked in a shit-covered alley in quite some time. Not because people aren’t shitting in alleyways nowadays, but because Los Angeles has gentrified the shit out of most alleys. The human shit, anyways.

Most, but not all.

Today I got a last-minute call to go help out on a rig for a movie, which is really strange since I didn’t think we shot movies here any longer, but I haven’t worked in a few weeks, and the call was with a group of guys I really like, so off I went.

Our set was an alleyway between tenement apartments in a part of town that’s never seen skinny jeans, horn rim glasses, or pour over coffee – a real honest to God slum instead of a fake hipster slum.

You know what I mean.

No matter how much they steam clean alleys, they never get all the.. material. There’s still a smell, and since most people who shit in alleys do so leaning up against a wall, the walls and gates have to be cleaned about 2 feet up or there’s still a nasty surprise for the person running cable.

That brown crusty stuff on the bottom of the gate? It’s not rust.

The good news is that it’s been cool enough that the smell of baking excrement wasn’t as bad as it would have been in, say, July.

But still. The smell hangs in one’s nostrils, and as I was trying to tie some DMX cable up out of the shit zone, the soles of my shoes got a good soaking in a puddle of what I desperately hoped was water, but realized my error when, at lunch, the smell of piss wafted up from my shoes. Since I’m almost positive I didn’t pee on them, I have to assume the puddle was part of the alley which received insufficient steaming.

I’ve never been so happy to have a nice hot shower.

Tomorrow, I’m at another location with less pee but more toxic mold.

I’ll take it.

 

Filed under: california, crack of dawn, hazardous, locations, movies, toxic waste, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

An election season repost

I don’t usually repost things, but this is still relevant. Just change the name from Jian Ghomeshi to Donald Trump, and ‘BDSM’ to ‘vanilla flavored sexual assault.’

Original title was “Money, Power, and Silence”.

Anyone who works in media in any capacity keeps secrets.

Most of them are harmless: the vegetarian who eats bacon, the studio exec with an 8th grade education, the erudite gangster rapper.

But some people do very, very bad things and get away with it. For years.

Because they’re powerful. Because they’re rich. Because if you dare challenge them they’ll litigate you into a special kind of hell from which you will never re-emerge.

Even if you do win, you’ll be demonized by the unwashed internet masses because how dare you speak ill of Mr (or Ms.) Perfect? They make great media!

Since he’s Canadian, you’ve probably never heard of him, but Jian Ghomeshiis rich, powerful, beloved, and an alleged serial date-beater.

The accusations span a decade, and the women in his media circles have beenwarning each other to stay away for about that length of time.

But no one went to the police, because apparently the police in Canada aren’t any better at dealing with this sort of thing than the police here in Los Angeles, where they warehoused rape kits for years.

And that’s women who were assaulted by the hoi palloi, not the rich and powerful.

Here in our little Southern California media community, there is at least one serial rapist – not a sad sack who confuses BDSM and battery, an actual rapist – who has been at it for at least 8 years. Maybe longer.

No one that I know of has gone to the police because this person is very, very powerful and, well, that’s why. Even those who are raped by poor people face victim blaming, accusations of being liars and whores who secretly wanted it, etc..

Imagine how that gets magnified when one’s claim involves part of the city’s economic elite, or very, very famous.

Is it any wonder that we just quietly warn each other to stay away from Mr. (or Ms.) Nightmare?

Glances get exchanged, texts get sent, private messages fly around – stay away.

But it’s not a perfect system. Some don’t get the warning. And they have to suffer through the cycle of shame, anger, grief, guilt.

And said abuser walks free.

Because the abuser is above the law. And will likely never face the consequences.

And one could lose faith in the human race, except that Jian Ghomeshi is, finally,  facing some (admittedly mild so far) consequences.

It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing, right?

 

P.S. For fuck’s sake – no comment guesses at any names, even if you know who it is. I can’t afford that kind of lawyer.

 

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

Power problems

Back before modern technology, the gaffer used hand signals to direct the lighting techs, which  meant that said techs had to stay on set and pay attention.

Now, with the advent of communications technology, we have walkie talkies – we can hear the gaffer talk, to we don’t have to stand at attention all day – we can go get coffee, go play Candy Crush, read a book, whatever. As long as we’re back in the set when it’s time to light.

Handy? Sure. Even with the side effect of deafness caused by  that one person on every crew who is super loud and won’t move the damn mic away from his or her face even after being asked a thousand times.

We always get the same type of walkie – heavy, but with  a decent battery life. If there’s a lot of chatter on the channel, one may have to change at lunch. When the battery gets low, there’s a beep in the ear.

Out work today was what’s called a Pilot Presentation. It’s what you shoot before you shoot the pilot, so you can shop the show to the sort of people who will hand over wads of cash to create some fine, American-made entertainment.

On this particular day, production have tried to save money by using non-standard walkies. They’re much smaller, and have a fun feature where an actor’s voice announces  “channel one””channel two”, etc… If you spin the dial really fast, you can make him say “chanchanchanchan”, which is kind of fun.

It also announces when the battery is dead with the same actor saying “low battery”. Which is nicer than the beep, but happens way too often. By lunchtime, I’d had to change twice. Oddly, the voice did not let me know that battery death was imminent. Seems like a feature they’d want to add.

Other than fun with the walkie voice guy, it was a quiet day. Most of these presentations are only a short bit so once we’re lit, we’re sitting and waiting for wrap.

Tomorrow will be our long day, as they’ll shoot for 12 hours and then we’ll have to wrap the stage after that.

Filed under: locations, Uncategorized, , , ,

Surprise!

Once upon a time, I bought a dress.

I was working for a now defunct prime-time celebrity gossip show who were known for throwing a lavish Emmy (TM) party, to which they invited the entire crew.

Because the crew were invited, we got a memo stating that this party was a formal affair. No jeans, no T-shirts, no flip-flops, no cargo shorts. You know, the things film crews wear all the time.

Tuxedos if you were male, gowns if you were female.

No exceptions.

I was not about to pass up a chance to attend a genuine Hollywood Soirée (TM), so I skipped over to the local branch of Dior (TM), figuring I’d pay maybe a grand for a killer dress and have the night of my life.

It’s okay to point and laugh. That’s what the salespeople did.

After realizing there was no way in hell I could afford anything really nice, I went to the department stores, who stocked two styles of dresses. Matronly, and Teenage Prom (TM).

Next stop, outlet malls, stocked  with the overpriced dregs of whatever hadn’t sold the year before.

Look, I don’t mind shelling out (within reason) for something well-made that makes me look fabulous, but last season’s dregs which smell of armpits and broken dreams aren’t worth  the cleaning bill.

Dejected, I called The Blonde, who was my plus one.

“Why are you wasting your time?” she asked, in between popping bubble gum “Just go to Ross (TM)”

I contemplated this advice for at least 7 bubble pops.

“They have some okay stuff. Just check it out. You have nothing to lose”

“What are you wearing?”

“I dunno. Something a stylist gave me for free. With flats”

I went to Ross (TM).

And, surprisingly, found a fairly nice dress.

It was a classic black satin number with spaghetti straps,  a nice drape, and a built-in bra.

It cost me the princely sum of $10.

I got my hair and makeup done, threw on my bargain dress and had a great time.

When the night was over, the dress stayed in the closet until the next time I needed to look presentable, and then it came out again. And again, and again.

Over the past decade I’ve pulled it out biennially, and it still looks great.

So, when I got an invite to the Magic Castle tonight (formal attire required), I reached for The Dress.

Something looked off.  Before the cat passed away, she left me with the parting gift of a clawed-to-shit dress.

Either that or I have a poltergeist (TM) offended by bargain fashion.

I managed to patch it up with hem tape, and if anyone asks, I’m going to tell them I’m rocking the Derelicte look.  Maybe I should put paper wads and cigarette butts in my hair for the full effect.

 Tonight will be the last appearance of The Dress (TM).

I guess I got my money’s worth.

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Short and sweet

The past I don’t know how long has consisted of 12 hour rigging days, which leave me so exhausted I can’t do anything other than shower and limp to bed (yup. Getting old), so today was going to be nice.

A day of doing first unit. On a stage. With air conditioning.

I love air conditioning.

About two hours into the day, the best boy asked me if I’d mind going to the other stage to work with the other unit, since they were short-handed.

Of course I didn’t mind. I’m paid the same no matter where I am, and the other stage had even better air conditioning.

I was actually cold.

It was fantastic.

As the day continued, it seemed to me that the other unit were going to have a longer day, so I might get a few more hours in the air conditioning before going back to my sweltering apartment, but when the first unit wrapped I was called to help them load the truck and then dismissed.

So I got eight hours, which is also nice. I figured I’d go for a swim and then go home and watch a movie on the streaming service of my choice.

Only to find my wi-fi DOA.

The hard line to the desktop works fine, but no wi-fi, so no Netflix, no Hulu, no news feed, nothing.

At least I can look at cat pictures on the internet until the tech gets here tomorrow at 5 pm to fix it.

Tomorrow. At five fucking PM. And I was informed by the customer service agent I was lucky to get service that quickly.

At least I got to enjoy the cool air today.

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday Photo 

A shaft of light 

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

Happy New Year!

2015 was a hard one for me. Work was busy, which was good, but I had some serious setbacks in my personal life – which is a big part of the reason I’ve been neglecting the blog, but it’s a new year and time to move on to being normal.

I’m currently trying to declutter my apartment. When I moved in here, I figured the place was so small I’d never be able to accumulate much junk.
Oh, how wrong I was.

In the last week, I’ve hauled about six bags of stuff to the thrift store. Out of style clothes, ragged stuff that I was using for work (“there’s a hole in the crotch, but hey, who’s going to be looking at my crotch?”), jewelry I never wore, reams of paper that came from heaven knows where, and about a million reusable grocery bags. Apparently, the bags have babies when you don’t keep an eye on them – which is the only explanation I can think of for why I had so fucking many of them.

Next up, I need to cull out some of the cookbooks. I love vintage cookbooks, but my collection is getting…unwieldy and about half of them need to go.

I should have another week or so before I have a snowball’s chance in hell of finding any work, so I’m going to use that time.

And I’m going to ride my bike if I can stop from freezing.

What are your plans for 2016?

 

 

Filed under: Non-Work, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

I’m officially unemployed.

Our wrap ended today, and now I’m out in the wild looking for work – along with the people from all the other shows that have either been cancelled or gone down for the season.

Also, I had to put the cat to sleep Monday after work.

I can’t write about it right now. It’s too painful.

I will say that having the vet’s office play Christmas carols while I cradled my dying pet was super shitty. I predict I’m going to keep the earbuds in until next year.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Money, power, and silence

Anyone who works in media in any capacity keeps secrets.

Most of them are harmless: the vegetarian who eats bacon, the studio exec with an 8th grade education, the erudite gangster rapper.

But some people do very, very bad things and get away with it. For years.

Because they’re powerful. Because they’re rich. Because if you dare challenge them they’ll litigate you into a special kind of hell from which you will never re-emerge.

Even if you do win, you’ll be demonized by the unwashed internet masses because how dare you speak ill of Mr (or Ms.) Perfect? They make great media!

Since he’s Canadian, you’ve probably never heard of him, but Jian Ghomeshi is rich, powerful, beloved, and an alleged serial date-beater.

The accusations span a decade, and the women in his media circles have been warning each other to stay away for about that length of time.

But no one went to the police, because apparently the police in Canada aren’t any better at dealing with this sort of thing than the police here in Los Angeles, where they warehoused rape kits for years.

And that’s women who were assaulted by the hoi palloi, not the rich and powerful.

Here in our little Southern California media community, there is at least one serial rapist – not a sad sack who confuses BDSM and battery, an actual rapist – who has been at it for at least 8 years. Maybe longer.

No one that I know of has gone to the police because this person is very, very powerful and, well, that’s why. Even those who are raped by poor people face victim blaming, accusations of being liars and whores who secretly wanted it, etc..

Imagine how that gets magnified when one’s claim involves part of the city’s economic elite, or very, very famous.

Is it any wonder that we just quietly warn each other to stay away from Mr. (or Ms.) Nightmare?

Glances get exchanged, texts get sent, private messages fly around – stay away.

But it’s not a perfect system. Some don’t get the warning. And they have to suffer through the cycle of shame, anger, grief, guilt.

And said abuser walks free.

Because the abuser is above the law. And will likely never face the consequences.

And one could lose faith in the human race, except that Jian Ghomeshi is, finally,  facing some (admittedly mild so far) consequences.

It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing, right?

 

P.S. For fuck’s sake – no comment guesses at any names, even if you know who it is. I can’t afford that kind of lawyer.

 

 

Filed under: dating, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, rants, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

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