Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Half a weekend

Last week, we had a 6 day week, as we had to re-shoot the pilot episode of this show. Don’t ask why, I don’t know.

Although we were expecting the worst, day 6 turned out to be not so bad (only 10.5 hours), as the director came in very prepared and burned through the stuff.

I was home before midnight, which I hadn’t expected.

The advantage of four cameras is that it’s possible to shoot 26 pages in a day; something that’s completely out of reach for single camera shows (a misnomer, since most single camera shows use two cameras).

This show is 99.9 percent wonderful.

I really like the rest of the crew, the hours are easy, it’s close to the house and I’m really happy to be here.

The main problem I’m having is craft service.

Not the person – she’s a very nice lady who is exceptionally good at her job, but she doesn’t put out the healthiest stuff. She’s trying to make an entire crew of overgrown children happy, so she puts out comfort food.

Pasta, meatballs, chicken fingers, sliders, bacon wrapped bacon, weenie tots, onion rings, pastrami, etc..

Which is fine, as most people like that stuff and won’t complain.

Hell, I like that sort of stuff, but if I spend the next 6 weeks eating deep-fried whatsits three times a day my arteries (and my waistline) are going to explode.

Simply not eating for 12 hours isn’t an option, so I need to figure out a way to bring my own snacks without offending her.

It would be easy if we had a dorm fridge in our gold room, but we don’t.

If I bring food I have to put it in her fridge, so it’s not like I can sneak it past her.

Vegan? Gluten free? Nut allergy? Sanctimonious uber-organic locavore? These are all plausible, but I think I’m just going to tell her that I’m a super picky eater with an extremely sensitive stomach and this way is going to be easier for both of us.

Hopefully, she’ll understand and not poison my bagged lunch.

 

Filed under: Work, , , , , ,

Good times are rolling

My job’s actually starting next week  – whoops!

Over the past few years, as work has gotten less plentiful I’ve become really conscious of cash outflow, but since I’ve got a job starting, I’ve been playing a bit fast and loose with the bank account.

I’ve been swimming in the ocean several times a week – the temperature is a balmy 59, but it’s not that bad once you get moving. Our swim group goes to a coffee shop after we get out (hey, we’re cold!), so I’ve been buying quite a few breakfasts.  I’ve also been paying to park in the beach lot, which I usually try to avoid at all costs.

We have a pile of new cat toys, I’ve been driving the car and burning gas,  I have a new wetsuit (and a thermal cap and booties. That water is cold), the fridge is well stocked with tasty stuff, and I’ve been drinking the good wine.

Later this year when it’s dead and I’m in panic mode, I’m going to regret the hell out of this money hemorrhage, and you all can feel free to let loose with a rousing chorus of “I told you so” but sometimes it’s really nice to not worry about anything and just live.

In case you’re wondering, swimming in the ocean in the winter is pretty awesome. The water is super clear (visibility in the Pacific is usually about three inches, but now we can see the bottom in 30+ feet of water), and there’s no one out there but the few of us who are, well, crazy. Or hardy. Pick your explanation.

I’ll worry later. I’m having fun right now.

 

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

Too busy for my fridge

Just let me start this out by stating how grateful I am to be working.

The only problem with working is the fridge and its contents.

Right before I got this job, I’d purchased some food.

I was thinking about my budget,  so I  didn’t go too crazy. Veggies, mostly, but also some chicken and assorted toppings. I usually have a bag of brown rice in the cabinet, and I’ll cook a batch as needed about twice a week.

I thought I was set.

Then, I proceeded to spend 12 hours a day on set with craft service and catering.

So today, when I opened the fridge for the first time in.. I don’t know, I was greeted to a big bunch of wilted and moldy garbage, with accompanying odor.

Awesome.

Even the mustard was moldy. How can that even happen?

Since the fridge was empty after I pitched everything, I took the time to scrub it out while I was muttering angrily about wasting food.

I’ve got one more week and then I’ll re-stock with  a shiny clean fridge. Maybe. Hopefully there will still be enough work to justify not buying groceries.

Filed under: overspending, Work, , , , , , ,

Finally, some good news.

This has been a bad year for work.

Actually, it’s been beyond bad. It’s been an unmitigated disaster – I’ve worked approximately 10 days since January 1st.

Mainly I’ve just been trying to fill my time in between wringing my hands and wondering what’s to become of me.

Texts to various best boys about if they’ve got anything have been met with either “I’m out-of-town” or “I’m looking for work, too!”

The irony is that there does seem to be a fair amount of work out there, it’s just not with anyone with whom I have any sort of professional connection. Guess I need to start attending mixers or that annual bowling party that’s a 90 minute drive east or something.

I’m certain I’ve had a year this bad before, I’m just hard pressed to remember it.

On the bright side, I’ve shaved almost 10 seconds off my 50 meter freestyle.

But starting Monday, I have two solid weeks of work.

It’s rigging on a multi-camera sitcom, and I’m beyond pleased to get it.

Two solid weeks.

It’ll be 100 hours into my health insurance (I have to work 400 hours per semester, and I have until October 10th to get the remaining 300), a paycheck and  a badly needed injection of optimism.

Today, I went to the grocery store and splurged on some chicken, veggies and various goodies (apples, grapes, those teeny little packages of trail mix) to pack  for lunch so I don’t have to eat the overpriced slop at the commissary (in all fairness, calling the commissary food slop is an insult to slop).

I’ll also enjoy working with some wonderful folks that I really like, and I can take public transit and save both the wear-and-tear on the car and the rage-inducing miz-maze that passes for parking on this particular lot.

Except on Mondays – I have swim on Mondays and I’m not going to give up that hard-won 10 seconds.

I have to take the victories where I can get them.

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

Insurance day

Friday was all about  being in the right place at the right time.

I was rigging on some re-shoots of a movie that shot back east (as most of them do now), and happened to be standing there when the best boy got a call asking  if anyone knew of any lamp operators that were available.

Some people prefer just to rig for various reasons – shorter hours, less chaos, etc.. and some folks on rigging crews do not like to work set, but some of us are perfectly happy doing both.

So as I was standing there, gathering supplies I needed to run DMX in the perms, my name got thrown in the hat for a lamp operator on a movie that – wait for it – is actually shooting in Los Angeles.

Jaw, meet floor.

There are several totally awesome things about this particular movie –  it’s crewed by a great group of folks that I really like to work with, and it’s running through the middle of December. And the main location is really close to the apartment so the morning commute is a breeze. Also, kickass caterer.

I’m not dayplaying, I’m actually full-time, and I can’t remember the last time that’s happened.

Today was my first day, and as usual, was spent getting acquainted with the set, where the power is, how the gaffer likes things done, etc..

About three hours into the day, the ADs announced that our main actor would not be in due to illness. Actual illness, mind you, not coked-out former starlet “illness”.

When things like this happen, the production company calls the insurance company*, informs them that they won’t be able to shoot that day and the insurance company has to cover the costs.

Production companies hate insurance days and try to never, ever use them, but sometimes your actor gets sick or your set burns down or no one can find the director because he went to Tijuana over the weekend with two of the extras and there’s nothing to be done about it other than to throw in the towel.

So, we spent some time cleaning up and organizing our carts, and then left. I went to a nearby restaurant and celebrated the full-time gig with a glass of wine and a fantastic lunch (chickpea and rosemary soup with a nice glass of wine. And bread), then came home, changed and went for a run.

Followed, finally, by a swim.

As of right now, we’re working tomorrow and I’m so happy about it.

*Every production has insurance. One can’t get permits or rent equipment without it.

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

French Hours

Usually, lunch is an official break for the entire cast and crew, called six (or so) hours from call, but sometimes, a production will decide not to call official lunch. Usually this happens on a day when there’s a lot of work to do that requires either daylight or dark and sitting down to break would hamper the schedule.

When this happens, the caterer stays open for a set period of time and people break off as they can and grab some food. For some reason, this has come to be called French hours, although I’m fairly certain French productions do, in fact, take lunch breaks.

Yesterday, we had an enormous set-up which required daylight, so the important people made the decision to call French hours.

French hours are fine with me.  Although it’s a bit draining to not get that down time in the middle of the day, we do make money on the penalties we’re paid to give up the break.

Yesterday, the caterer was open for a three-hour period, which happened to coincide with us running around trying to get set up for the shot where we see the entire world.

So, we missed the caterer window and production agreed to go out and buy us some food.

The PA who came to our truck with a pad and pen to take orders told us we’d be getting food from a nearby faux-Mexican place.

“I can’t eat anything from there”, I said. “I have to go up in a condor later and let’s just say that eating a giant burrito will have some consequences for me”
“Well,” said the PA “how about Tender Greens? They’re right next door”.

That was  just excellent.

So, my co-workers had questionable burritos and I got a nice tasty sandwich and a salad. Win!

 

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

Free!

Most of the time, the frat boys in the building next door  annoy the hell out of me.

Sometimes it seems as if all they do is have keggers on weeknights, blow enough pot smoke around to create a sinister fog which blankets the entire west side of the city, and talk loudly about which girls they’d like to bang. I’ve contemplated mass murder more than once.

Usually when said kegger is raging the night before I have a super early call.

So yesterday, as I was coming home from a bike ride, and saw the one with the faux-hawk putting a gas grill outside by the trash, of course I assumed he was up to no good.

Damn kids.

When I asked him what was up, he told me they’d gotten a bigger one and that this one still worked, but it wasn’t, well, new.

“Besides,” he said, “it’s dirty and none of us want to clean it ’cause that shit’s gross.”

An entire career spent pulling cable through unmentionable filth means that I’m not really afraid of dirt, so I took said grill off his hands and slowly, fearfully opened the lid to inspect the damage.

Maybe it’s the aforementioned career wallowing in filth, but the grill’s really not all that dirty. Nothing that some toxic chemicals and a good scrubbing won’t fix, but I’m a bit perplexed as to why they’d fill a gas grill with charcoal briquettes.

Is propane that expensive?  I think not.

It’s a really nice grill and once I get it cleaned up and the gas line working, I can indulge in instant gratification – outdoor cooking without waiting on the charcoal to heat up.

Sweet.

Tomorrow, I scrub.

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

A Contagious Christmas

This has been the busiest December I’ve had in a long time. I worked almost every day, which was great, and thought that I’d managed to avoid the Holiday Death Plague currently being passed around here in Los Angeles.

Said plague featured a combination of the worst head cold one could possibly imagine and a tubercular cough that, like house guests, just won’t go the fuck away.

I was feeling pretty smug – I had three days of work the week before Christmas, no days of sickness, and one day off before I had to get on a plane to go visit the family and overeat.

Wednesday promised to be great – due to the slowest director in the world, we were going to get a hefty check, production were buying lunch, and holiday cookies were plentiful.

Mid-morning, one of our extras started to cough. I didn’t think much about it – after all I’d not gotten sick yet, which must have meant I was immune to the Holiday Death Plague. Throughout the day, her cough got worse and worse, and by mid-afternoon almost 20 people on set (including me) were starting to cough.

Refusing to believe that I was getting sick, I attributed it to dust from when I had to go up into the perms to drop out some power for a new set, but as I was driving home I finally had to admit to myself that the Death Plague had, in fact, won.

So, I spent the holiday sniffling, hacking and wheezing while stuffing my face full of fatty food and sweets. The day before I was to leave, my sister started coughing.

Whoops.

As of now, the head cold portion of the program is gone, but the cough is still lingering and frightening anyone who comes anywhere near me. I hope it’s gone before the middle of next week, which is when I have to work.

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

How to gain back all the weight you lost when you had food poisoning

Chess Pie

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Combine all ingredients in bowl and whisk until smooth
  • Pour into lined pie shell and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and center is set when touched with finger, 55 – 60 minutes.
  • Cool before serving

This is sickeningly sweet and unbelievably delicious. I only eat it when I’m back home and my favorite aunt makes it (which she does better than anyone else on the planet).

Between this, the turkey, the dressing (my sister snarled at me when I called it ‘stuffing’. Apparently, stuffing is declasse these days), the eggnog, the three gallons of gravy and all the other crap I ate while I was gone I’ve gained back that 5 pounds.

Oh, well.

Since I still don’t have a car and am having to bike everywhere I should lose it quickly, although since I have a sneaky suspicion that they’re not going to be able to fix my car and I’m going to have to buy another one (a thought that makes me very unhappy) I really feel like consoling myself with chess pie and rum-laced eggnog.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , ,

My big fat Thanksgiving hangover

It was the deviled eggs that did me in.

Thursday, I had dinner at a friend’s house. Earlier in the year, we’d decided that since times are tough all over, we’d do a potluck this year – normally my friend does all the cooking and won’t let anyone help, but this year she gave in to peer pressure and just did the turkey while everyone else handled the sides and desserts.

One friend brought deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs – even the garden variety pickle juice/paprika kind. I’d eat them all day, every day were I not so afraid of cholesterol poisoning. I’d have been happy to see any kind of deviled egg on the table, but Ms. Overachiever went all out and did three kinds: Curry deviled eggs, BLT deviled eggs, and Caesar deviled eggs.

Oh. My. God.

I scarfed.  And I drank, since the beaujolais nouveau is out. Then, our hostess brought out the heritage turkey- which I guess means ‘weapons grade tryptophan’ because about five minutes after I shoveled it into my gaping maw (amazing I had room after all those eggs) I needed a nap.

Note to non-Americans: You’ll see a lot of gibberish about Thanksgiving being a holiday about family time and togetherness and all that Currier and Ives misty-eyed nostalgia crap. It’s a PR stunt, so feel free to ignore it. Thanksgiving is about food. And eating as much of it as possible. It’s the one time when outright gluttony is not only excusable, it’s expected.

So we eat. And eat and eat and eat.

Friday I felt like one of those giant Macy’s parade balloons – even rolling out of bed was a supreme effort. I went to the gym and struggled through a rudimentary workout and a pitiful excuse for a swim, but I felt better afterwards.

Shame the feel-good moment was just that. A moment. On the way home from the gym, I stopped into a local cooking store looking for muffin pans, and spied Vacherin cheese, which is extremely tasty and until recently was illegal in the US (or so I thought) but there it was and I couldn’t resist.

Yes, I know what cheese does to me. Sometimes it’s totally worth it.

Saturday I really wanted to go out, but I was busy eating cheese and drinking the rest of the wine – hey, it’s new wine. It doesn’t keep. I have to drink it.

Sunday, in an example of really bad planning, there was a Jonas brothers concert on the same day as the Hollywood Christmas Parade. The annual parade closes many streets in Hollywood and creates a traffic snarl that must be seen to be believed, which, combined with several thousand hysterical tweens running amok in the streets makes for.. well, I’m not sure but I’m glad I didn’t have to drive.

I walked around and took some photos and chatted with some of the really nice folks who were participating in the parade, and then dragged my cheese-bloated carcass home.

Total weight gain for my holiday weekend bacchanal (with optional pig-out package): 2.5 lbs.

Could have been worse.

I’m eating extra healthy this week and going to the gym every day to work off those damn eggs.

Mmm… deviled eggs… I wish I had some right now.

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

November 2017
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

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 867 other followers

Twitter Updates

Blogroll

Not blogs, but cool

%d bloggers like this: