Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Nature hands me my ass

I had it all figured out for today – I was going to get up early, pack my lunch, and then walk the two blocks to the bus stop so I could save some gas and get that nice eco-smug feeling. What’s not to love?

The bus was due at 6:05 (have to be across town for a 7 am call), and as I was getting ready to leave, the cat started following me around and crying.

I picked her up and was petting her, then her eyes bulged and a veritable fountain of vomit erupted. She didn’t even make that ‘huk huk huk’ noise. Just puked.

It went everywhere.  Down my shirt, into my bra, in my hair where I turned my head to keep said puke out of my mouth.

Since I definitely didn’t want to spend the next 11 hours smelling like cat barf (or any barf, really), I peeled off my now very gross clothes and hopped in the shower.

So much for that bus ride.

After a frantic wash and clothing change, I looked at the time and went pale. I might make it, I might not, and one can never predict what the traffic’s going to do.

So, I texted the best boy with the information that I might be late because my cat barfed on me.

Worst. Excuse. Ever.

Shockingly, I made it to work with minutes to spare and we climbed up into the perms.

In response to a comment on the last post – not only do rigging crews not get lunch*, they don’t even get air conditioning.

The air is only turned on when the shooting company arrives. Since it’s currently July, it’s quite hot in the perms.

Our boss has made the very sensible decision that we’re only to be ‘up high’ before lunch, and then in the hottest part of the day we come down and do work on the floor (wiring fixtures, labelling equipment, etc…).

So the morning was all about sweat and sore muscles (after two days of carrying cable, I’m in serious pain), and the afternoon was all about frustration as we attempted to re-install some fixtures from last season in exactly the same places they were before.

The clock ran out before we finished, so we’ll have to try to pick it up tomorrow.

After we were dismissed, I walked out to my car, which was parked on the street as this particular lot has the most difficult parking ever so it’s  just easier.

I’d parked under a tree and the avian residents had left their calling card, so to speak.

Although the idea was to get back across town before the traffic got too bad, I had to stop and get the car washed, as I couldn’t see out of the windshield.

Damn animals.

*Film crews can either be on production, which means the shooting unit, or off production, which means anything not actively making the movie. On production means one gets free parking, free meals, climate control and craft service. Off production means you get reasonable hours (usually) and don’t have to carry a walkie, but you have to pay for your own food and parking (depending where you are. Paramount Studios, for example, charges for parking, but if you’re on production you get a voucher. Riggers have to suck up and pay it).

Filed under: long long drives, mishaps, studio lots, Work, , , , , , , , , , ,

Saved by the call!

This afternoon, as I was cleaning the bathroom and wondering if I could somehow turn the power of PMS into a paycheck, a friend called and asked if I wanted to do a little data entry.

“It’ll be three or four hours of work and he’ll pay you $20.”

That’s a bit low for data entry, but it’s great if I want to distract myself from worrying about the fact that the “slow” season is approaching and what I’ve got in my savings account wouldn’t buy dinner at one of LA’s finer celebrity-infested restaurants.

“Great! I’ll have him email you!”

I suppose I should mention that, back in the days when the interwebz was still on dial-up and named AOL, I hurt my back (fell off a lift gate) and had to take a temp job which involved operating a ten-key. I sat at that fucking thing for eight of the most miserable months of my life. I’ve never been happier than the day I was well enough to quit and run back to the circus.

I’m still pretty fast on said ten-key, especially when I’m being paid a flat rate.

I figured I could finish the job in a couple of hours and then go for a bike ride to celebrate being underpaid to do menial labor (oh… Wait).

Imagine my surprise when I got a Google document which involved cutting and pasting URLs from websites. About 20,000 URLs, which I would have had to find myself (example: “Type the word Sears in field one and then paste the URL for Sears into field two”).

Holy shit. Even with one of those decommissioned space agency supercomputers (which I hear one can buy on Craig’s List), 1,000 trained monkeys and a shitload of cocaine, I doubted this was doable in less than a week.

When I called to  try to explain that this was way more complicated than four hours and $20, the response I got was “well, I wanted it by tomorrow morning, but do you need all day?”

Luckily, just at that moment, I got a call to work. Tomorrow.

Sweet.

So, even though I’ll only get 8 hours, the cut-and-paste nightmare will fall in someone else’s lap.

Life is good.

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

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