Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Knees, don’t fail me now

During the rare but not unheard of Sunday rigging call, we were in a very expensive boutique hotel on the Sunset Strip, which, given the only reason the hoi polloi shell out to stay there are hopes of catching a glance of a movie star, is surprisingly hostile to film crews.

We weren’t allowed to be in the hotel before 4 pm, which really sucked since the shooting unit had a 5 pm call and since there was no way we were going to get all the cable run in an hour, our boss begged or bribed or something and got us in early – on the condition that we be very, very quiet. Which, when one is rigging, is harder than one imagines.

I suppose it’s possible to gently set down a 100 lb. (45 kilo) coil of cable, but my back just wants me to drop it.

The other thing that slowed us down was the stairs. Oh, the stairs.

This particular hotel was built during an era when handicapped people were fucked (so why even let them out of the house), and therefore has no ramps. Anywhere.

The area we were rigging wasn’t accessible  any other way than stairs, which meant that cable carts were useless – we could get them about halfway to the set, and then had to pick everything up and walk it the rest of the way.

Actually, it was two sets of stairs.

This one:

P1040697

And this beauty:

P1040704

That second set is so narrow two people can’t pass on it, so the person with the lighter load yields. Unless it’s a guest, and then one squeezes to the side and waits, like Atlas, while cursing the universe.

Lucky for us the rig wasn’t that big and it wasn’t too hot – also I was working with a fantastic group of guys that make any situation fun, so it was a good day, even though at the end I would have handed back my entire day’s pay just to sully the hotel’s lovely pool with my dirty blue-collar cooties.

It was only a one-night shoot, so we were back this morning to wrap everything. Upon arriving, we were informed that the shoot had gone past the scheduled out time (shocked. I am shocked, I tell you) and the hotel management were a wee bit cross (something about the location manager’s head and a pike, but I didn’t get details), so we needed to double time it to get out of there.

As we started to gather equipment, it became apparent that, at some point during the wee hours, the hotel management mistook the shooting crew for cats and turned on the sprinklers in the hope that it would make them run away.

If only that worked.

Thirty minutes into the day we were soaking wet and smeared with dirt, and I guess my appearance was scary enough that when I greeted a guest with a cheery ‘Good Morning’ her response was a hissed suggestion that I go fuck myself.

If only I could. I’d never leave the house.

After carrying everything back down the stairs, we loaded the truck and rigged our second location – a theater with ramps. Lots and lots of ramps.

Of course it has stairs, too, but we didn’t have to deal with them.

I love you, cable carts. I’ll never take you for granted ever again.

Tomorrow, we wrap the theater and then unload the truck at the rental house.

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: locations, Work, , , , , , , , ,

Hooray for reduced traffic (I think).

It used to be, that when I wrote something about, say, refusing to take a cat across town to see a fucking kitty eye-doctor, I’d get hate mail from what seemed like every wacko with a pulse and a keyboard.

That was back in the Blogger days – when I moved the blog, I lost around 60 percent of my traffic, which, I’m told, is normal (so much for my thinking I was special and that people would love me enough to update their damn bookmarks), so after yesterday’s declaration of kitty-type hatefulness, I didn’t get one hate mail.

Not one.

I got a hate Meebo message, which I’m counting as about one-third of an actual email due to the extra lameness factor of trying to scold a total stranger in text-speak (“u r mean”).

I’m not sure if it’s just harder to email me via WordPress, or if no one cares anymore. Either way, I win.

Filed under: Non-Work, Off-Topic, overspending, , , , , , ,

Doughnuts and sticker shock

My weekend started early. 7:15 Saturday morning, to be exact – which is when I had to be at the MRI place in Beverly Hills.

Perhaps I’ve just got the Simpsons movie on the brain, but an MRI machine looks a lot like a giant doughnut.

I’m serious.

It’s round with a hole in the center, and the patient lies on a stretcher which slides into the center of the doughnut. I didn’t go all the way in, so I sort of felt like a misplaced sprinkle.

We use MRI machines as set dressing sometimes, so although I’ve seen them before, I’ve never heard one before. An MRI makes a really loud buzzing noise that sounds like the airlock alarms in a bad 60’s sci-fi movie, and it keeps buzzing for most of the time that you’re in there. Good thing the tech gave me some earplugs – but if I ever have to have another MRI, I’m bringing a pair of those noise canceling headphones that are given out out on set when they’re using machine guns.

Also, after reading pages and pages of strongly worded warnings about removing all metal from my body to avoid dire yet unspecified consequences, I didn’t go far enough into the machine to even need to take off my pants (metal zipper) or bra (metal underwire).

Talk about anti-climactic.

After my MRI, my main mission of the day was to buy a new hairdryer.

When I was drying my hair Friday night, my hairdryer made an awful grinding noise and smoke came out of the back end. Luckily, I was able to put my years of experience with electrical power to work and quickly deduced that it was somehow fucked up and I would need to replace it. I figured this would take about 10 minutes – waltz into Target, pick out a hairdryer, then go home and watch the cat do battle with the packaging.

Wrong.

The problem is that I live in a building which was constructed in the early 1920’s – a time when folks didn’t have that many electrical things, so 100 amps of power for an entire 2 bedroom house was seen as more than enough.

Note: If you have a house that’s been built in the last 10 or 15 years, you probably have close to 100 amps of power just for your kitchen.

So when I stood in the hair dryer aisle at Target and perused the selection – every single hair dryer there was 1875 watts (or higher – one of them was 1900 watts).

That’s fucking insane. That’s almost two thousand watts*. That eats my entire bathroom circuit, especially if I want to, say, have a light on while I dry my hair.

So I tried the discount beauty emporium next door to Target, and was confronted with the exact same thing – nothing under 1875 watts. I asked the salesperson if she knew of anywhere to buy a lower-wattage hair dryer and she looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “Why? More is better, right?”

Not for me and my old, crappy wiring, it’s not.

After looking around for a couple of hours seeing nothing but dryers I couldn’t use, I finally found a 1200 watt model in a “premium” beauty supply store in nearby Larchmont Village – for the low, low price of 100 bucks.

That’s right – A fucking C-note for a hairdryer.

I must have looked shocked because the saleslady started into some pitch about some mineral in the dryer that would make my hair extra fabulous and then people would love me (or something), but what I was thinking about was that she really had me over a barrel.

I could spent four weeks looking for a dryer on Craig’s list and probably not find one under 1800 watts (which I’m to understand has been the norm for a while), or if I did I’d have to drive out to east bumfuck and wade my way through a sea of ravenous pit bulls only to find out that the owner didn’t read the wattage correctly and I couldn’t use the dryer anyway, or I could just suck it the fuck up and buy the one that was so expensive it was giving me hives just thinking about it.

Turns out, this particular beauty supply store has a 15 day return policy, so if I don’t like the dryer (or can find a cheap one somewhere else within that time frame), I can return it for a full refund.

Since I doubt I’m going to find one (although I’m looking), this thing better get my hair really fucking dry.

* The highest-wattage lamp that we use which can plug into a normal household plug is 2,000 watts. These lamps are notorious for popping breakers and blowing fuses when they’re plugged into the wall on locations.

Most household circuits are two thousand watts each – the exceptions being the bigger 3,000 watt circuits designed for the fridge and the clothes dryer. You can spot appliances that use more than 2,000 watts – they’ll have a funny-looking plug on them that won’t plug into a regular receptacle.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work, Off-Topic, rants, , , , , , , , , , , ,

September 2019
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Flickr Photos

Archives

Categories

Random Quote

"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 998 other followers

Twitter Updates

Blogroll

Not blogs, but cool

%d bloggers like this: