Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Whoops. My bad.

Since I don’t have an employment agency, I get most of my work from people who work with me and like me and, hopefully, hire me.

So personal relationships are very important and it’s critical not to piss off best boys – if you piss them off, the calls stop.

Earlier in the week, I’d sent out some work texts, gotten a ‘maybe Friday’ back and not heard anything, so I called the hall and got sent out on a job for Friday night.

Which is great, but then I got a text from the first best boy. Turns out, he’d sent me a text that I hadn’t gotten and the job was still on.

Oops.

So now he’s pissed off at me.

Hopefully this job tomorrow will go well and they’ll call me, but it’s a pilot so it’ll only shoot for about 10 days.

The guy I pissed off is on a show that will go for 7 months. I really hope he calms down and calls me again.

 

 

Filed under: california, mishaps, movies, Work, , , , , , ,

Reflections of late

Nothing will make me panic faster than thinking I’m going to be late to work. Not only do I hate being late in general, but being consistently tardy is something that will get one’s name dropped from the call list in fairly short order.

I wasn’t late this morning, but I was cutting it a bit close (generally, I try to get to the lot about 1/2 an hour early, so I can find parking, wander over to the stage and then have  breakfast and not have to rush. Getting to work later than 15 minutes before call time is cutting it too close for comfort), so when I pulled up to the guard gate, I was happy to see only one car in front of me.

A car which pulled up just short of the gate and then stopped while the driver made a phone call. Of course, he was close enough to the gate that I couldn’t drive around him.

Normally this wouldn’t have bothered me, but that cold clock-related fear gripped me after a couple of minutes of waiting on Mr. Phone Call I did something that I almost never do: I leaned on the horn.  Then, I stuck my head out of the window and yelled at him to either move forward or get out of the way so I could go through the gate and get to work.

He looked startled, and then gave me that weak sort of ‘I know this is my fault but go away’ wave and didn’t pull forward, so I leaned on the horn again. By then, I was really freaking out about sitting there just outside the guard gate while the clock ticked. Not only did I have to find parking, but I had to walk all the way across the lot to the stage.

It’s hard to explain just how frowned upon tardiness is in film crews, but it’s easy to explain why.  Mainly it’s because we have to a lot of work right at call – if we’re on location, we’re unloading our trucks right at our call time and showing up late means that we’re short a guy just as we get to push heavy carts up a hill or run additional cable or change all the tubes in the the Kinos.  On stage it’s not quite so frantic but we’re still usually busy clearing out whatever set they’re using to rehearse or setting up some light we’re going to use later so it’s unfair to the rest of the crew to be late, and that gets noticed.

Smelly? Toothless? Wearing an offensive T-shirt? Covered in boils? Had a stroke last week and can’t use one arm? Fine, fine.. we’ll work around it. But show up after call time without a damn good excuse and word gets around.

“Yeah, he’s an okay worker, but he was… late.”

Some crews are more tolerant than others, of course, but no one counts ‘tardy’ as a quality they’re willing to overlook.

For someone who gets work based on repeat calls and referrals, this is the stuff of nightmares.

After a few more excruciating minutes during which I contemplated using my car to push his to the gate, the guard came out and got my chatty friend to move. He pulled forward and got his pass, and then drove veeeerrrrrry slowly into the parking garage.

I tore like hell through the garage, found a parking space fairly quickly and then hightailed it across the lot as fast as I could, got to the stage with a few minutes to spare and then found out that the gaffer was late that day.

At least it wasn’t me.

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

Bluetooth tastes like burning

I can remember a time, not so long ago, when if no one was home, the phone would just ring and ring and ring and eventually whoever was calling would figure it out and call back later. If it was really important they’d just have to track you down. Or wait. Either one was good.

Then, we got an answering machine and suddenly we’d never miss a call again – Dog got out? Bathroom lights left on? Ed McMahon got lost while trying to deliver one of those giant checks and needed directions? Good thing you left a message ’cause that needed seeing to. Eventually. When we got home and it was too late (for Ed, anyways).

Then, when I moved out I one-upped the family and got an answering machine that had a remote code – by punching a number code on the keypad of the phone you were calling from you could get your messages without even being home. Technology really was something! I could know before I even got home that I’d left the radio on all day or that the dog had been digging up the neighbor’s philodendron.

Then came the pager. I first got a pager when I was 22 or 23 and working at a job which insisted I be reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I can remember driving around the pre-gentrification Hollywood searching desperately for a payphone that worked (most of them had the receivers torn off for some reason) or wasn’t occupied by a hooker trying to avoid a loitering charge, so I could return a page that I was just certain was the most important thing on earth (if it weren’t, why would they have paged me)?

Then, I got a cell phone. My first cell phone was from Airtouch in Westwood and the cement-block sized phone came with a plan which allowed me to talk for 20 minutes each month. So I saved the cellphone for emergencies and still ended up cruising the streets looking for payphones, but I bitched about having to drive around all the time and expose myself to whatever contagious microbe had set up housekeeping on the mouthpieces of public payphones because those fuckers just. wouldn’t. stop. paging. me. By this time that whole “911” pager code thing had come into fashion, so of course, every page was labelled “911”. Especially the pet-related ones.

Then came more and better cell plans and cell phones with speakers so not only did I not have to hunt down a payphone and get out of the car, I didn’t even have to hold the phone to my ear while I was driving, eating, reading the directions page of the call sheet and talking all at the same time.

Needless to say, by then I had ditched the pager. So inconvenient.

I started to bitch whenever I had to expend energy to actually hold the phone to the side of my head.

Then, I got a phone with different ring tones, so I could give different rings to work contacts, friends, family, bill collectors, former lovers, etc..

Soon, I started to bitch if I couldn’t tell who was calling me by the ring. Then, I got a phone that had a thing called “driving mode” where it would actually announce the name of the caller. After that, I started to bitch if I had to I.D. the caller by the ring instead of having the caller’s name announced for me like my life was some sort of badly-planned debutante ball.

Now, we have Bluetooth. Not only do I not have to hold the phone to my ear – I don’t even have to be tethered to said phone at all! It can be laying under dirty laundry in the backseat of the car and I can still answer it!

It’s not just for the car, though – I ride my bike a lot and now, when the phone rings, I don’t have to stop and dig in my backpack to find the phone before it goes to voice mail (I especially don’t want it to go to voicemail if it’s work), I just tap a button on the headset and answer the phone. Sweet.

This morning, as I rode the bike along Sunset with the early morning sun just breaking through the marine layer, past the Rite-Aid with the crazy lady in front and the hipsters staggering out of some all-night party in one of the Chateau Marmont’s suites, the phone rang and I didn’t even lose speed. I took one hand off the handlebars and hit the button.

Extra sweet.

Later, I found out from my friend that I can program the phone to respond to voice commands from the headset – so i can tap the headset, say a name and never even have to dig my phone out of the darkest corners of whatever bag it is that I’m carrying. I just have to be no more than 30 feet away from it.

Makes me wonder what I’ll be bitching about next. I love technology.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work, , , , , , , , , ,

Avast! A free movie!

I hope your Talk Like A Pirate Day was a good one – although I’ve started to lose my voice, so the “arrr” was a bit difficult for me. Which, since that seems to be the cornerstone of all things Pirate, means I was pretty much fucked for this year.

Oh, well – there’s always 2008.

Tonight was the crew screening for The Kingdom, so I decided to double up and see two movies (since I’m back to work for the rest of the week so I have to squeeze the fun in while I can).

In the afternoon, a friend and I went to see The Hunting Party. Run, don’t walk to see this one. It’s great. In fact, it was so good I may have to see it again.

Then, we went and had dinner and then to the Kingdom screening. The one thing they do at these screenings that makes me nuts is not allowing cell phones. I was waiting on tomorrow’s best boy to call and tell me what time to show up at work (which I consider vital information), so leaving the cell phone in the car would have been bad.

Listen, buddy – I’m the last person who’s going to pirate your movie with my cheesy fucking cell phone that takes two minutes of really crappy video. I ended up sticking the phone in my sock and the guard was so busy searching my huge rubbish-filled purse that he didn’t wand me.

Good thing I had the phone, too – the movie’s start was delayed 20 minutes because the director wanted to ‘say a few words’ beforehand (which mostly consisted of stories about how all the other audiences he’s screened the movie for just loved it, although he did thank the crew and mention that it was a ‘tough shoot’), and I was able, with the help of Verizon’s “let us rot your brain by letting you watch TV on your phone” feature to catch up on The Daily Show.

Turns out, my call time’s not until 7 am, so I was able to sit through the entire movie. I also didn’t see anyone I knew – probably because they were all working on something else, which is the down side of having your crew screening on a weeknight at 7ish, when most of us are still at work (the best time for crew screenings? Sunday afternoons or early evenings. We’ve gotten all our weekend errands done and, unless we’re working on one of those unholy Wednesday through Sunday shows, will actually be able to attend. Seriously – if you’re going to screen your movie and you want the working crew to actually be able to attend, do it on the weekend. It’s a complete fluke that I wasn’t working today and that my call time tomorrow was late enough that I could stay out until past 9pm).

I’m off to bed.

Filed under: humor, life in LA, movies, Non-Work, , , , , , , , ,

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