Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

It’s seven PM and I’m going to bed

Although long days are normal for me, there’s a huge difference between a 12 hour shooting day and a 12 hour rigging day.

On the shooting crew, there are times where one isn’t doing anything and can sit and rest (or go to crafty, or read the paper, etc…). On a rigging crew, there’s no rest except when one is on one of three designated breaks throughout the day ( coffee, lunch, and afternoon) or when one can sneak off to the restroom.

Since we’re working 6 am to 6 pm on a lot that’s all the way across town (no, really) from my place,  and I’ve got a commute on either side (about 40 minutes in the morning and an hour at night), I get up (at about 4:45), go to work, come home, shower and go to bed.

No time for much else, although last night I did sacrifice some precious sleep time to go stand in line at my polling place and vote.

I’m off to bed.

Filed under: crack of dawn, long long drives, movies, studio lots, , , ,

Crack of dark

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to getting up early. Five am is pretty common, four am sucks but is doable, but yesterday I got up at 2:45. In the morning.

In a flash of foresight unusual for me, I have the alarm placed all the way across the room so I have to get up to hit the snooze button. In theory, this means if I get up, walk across the room to turn off the alarm I’ll stay up.  Most times this just means I get up, hit the snooze button and climb back into bed, but the shock of seeing the alarm go off at such a disturbing hour kept me up.

I then shuffled into the kitchen, made coffee and had some breakfast since I correctly assumed there wouldn’t be any food options at 4 am at our location – a high school in the Valley at which I’ve worked many, many times.

The good part about starting work at 4 am is that it’s not hot yet, which is a big plus in September in Los Angeles.  We ran out our cable in the pre-dawn coolness, and although I forgot my headlamp (took it out of the work bag to change the battery, and when I got home I found it sitting right there on the coffee table where I’d placed it so I wouldn’t forget to put it in the work bag), I still managed to see well enough to not trip and fall.

We changed some tubes in the classroom and the hallway, and when the caterer opened we had breakfast.

I couldn’t figure out why I was so hungry, then realized I’d last eaten at 3 am and it was now 7:30.

After wolfing down various egg products, we rigged some lights, ran some more cable, wrapped the first location and then ran more cable in a thankfully not very smelly gym.

Also, we were very lucky that the school had no students that day. It’s not that I don’t like teenagers, it’s just that it’s incredibly difficult to work around them since they tend to form packs.

The other nice thing about really early calls is getting released early. Since this particular show doesn’t want to keep the rigging crew on for more than 10 hours, we were on our way home at 3 pm – before the traffic got bad.

Once I got home, it was a struggle to stay awake until 8, when I gave up and went to bed.

Filed under: crack of dawn, locations, long long drives, Work, , , , , , , , ,

Wait, there’s a 4 am now?

It’s been a thin year and not looking to get much better, so of course I’m eternally grateful for every day of work I get.

Even tomorrow, with a call time of 4 am in west bumfuck (take freeway until it ends, drive another 10 miles), which, since it’s a long commute, will require me to leave my house at 3 am, which means I have to get up at an hour I don’t want to think about.

Which means I should be in bed right now, except that it’s not dark yet and for some reason I have a real problem falling asleep when it’s still light out.

Also of course, I have zero idea of how long a day tomorrow will be, so I have to assume that I’ll need as much sleep as possible – which, if I’m lucky, will be about 6 hours.

Lucky for me I’m working with a group of guys that I really like so even though I have to be there at the crack of dark, I’ll still have a great time.

I’m off to bed.

Filed under: crack of dawn, long long drives, movies, Work, , , , , , , , ,

The sun’s still up and I’m off to bed

Tomorrow morning I have to be at work at 4:30. In the morning.

Not get up at 4:30. Be at the lot, on the truck and relatively coherent at 4:30. This means I need to get out of bed somewhere in the 3ish range.

The really sucky part is that the nearest branch of McCoffee used to open at 4 am but recently changed their hours. Now, they open at 4:30, which doesn’t help me one little bit.

I know the obvious solution would be to make coffee at home, but the only coffeemaker I have is a french press and I seriously doubt I’m going to be co-ordinated enough that early in the morning to be able to figure out that one.

I’m lucky if I’m able to speak that early in the morning. Besides, McCoffee is easy. I just swing by, refuse to call it a “grande”, pay my money and I’m on my way. A work day ritual, if you will.

Hopefully the donut shop where all the cops hang out will have some decent Java.

On the bright side, we’ll be going to lunch at 10:30 am (six hours from call), so the food at the commissary won’t be aged and we’ll get in before the rush.

I’m going to pack my bag before I go to bed (at 7:30pm) – the last time I had a call this early, I forgot my cell phone and my sunglasses.

Filed under: crack of dawn, Work, , , ,

‘Cause the sun don’t roll like that.

One of the things about shooting day exteriors in winter is that there’s just not that much daylight – in the summer, the sun comes up at 5 am and doesn’t set until around 9 pm, so when one is shooting day exterior, one has all the time in the world.

Today, we had a horrifying amount of stuff scheduled even for a extended summer day, except that it’s not summer.

It’s November, and the sun comes up after 6 am and sets around 5 pm – which means that one can’t cram all that much stuff into one day no matter how hard one wants to believe.

Today, we shot at the Willow Springs Speedway in Rosamond (which is about 20 miles north of Bumfuck in case you were wondering), and to take advantage of the available daylight, we had a 5:15 am call and we barely made our day. Near the end of the day, as the light started to take on a color quality that wouldn’t match any of the other stuff that had been shot that day, one of my co-workers jokingly put on a fake gansta accent and said “They think they can control the sun. They don’t understand that the sun just don’t roll like that. “

As it was, our last shot was done after the sun had gone down, but before it got dark (that weird grey time when most of the time we cheat for night). What this means for us is that while everyone else is starting to put stuff away because there’s only one shot left, we’re starting to unload our truck because if the first AD can’t talk the director out of trying to get that additional shot, we’re going to be turning on every light we have in an attempt to make daylight where there is none.

Luckily, we only ended up pulling two lights off, so we managed to wrap up pretty quickly.

The only problem I’m having now is that it was so dry up there (and the dust filled wind coming from the desert didn’t help) and now I’m all crinkly feeling, even though I’ve drunk enough water to float a medium sized aircraft carrier – which, of course, means that instead of sleeping, I’ll be up all night commuting to and from the toilet.

Call time: 5:15 am

Wrap time: 7 pm

Filed under: crack of dawn, locations, long long drives, Work, , , , ,

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