Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

The first day is always the hardest.

Over the course of the holiday season, I’ve had a little over three weeks of no work – which is to be expected, because holidays.

Many of the TV shows didn’t come back until this past Monday, and a few aren’t back until next Monday.

I spent some time back in the land of unseasonable warmth (70 degrees when it should be 30), but for most of the break I cleaned a lot of the old junk out of my apartment, organized my receipts to send to the accountant for taxes, and caught up on other stuff I needed to do when I had time.

But mainly, I divested myself of junk. Five bags of clothes and shoes went to the thrift store, old papers got shredded, kitchen crap I don’t use got donated, and all the drawers got organized.

My apartment feels much better now. Calmer. More zen, if you will.

I even organized my work bag with those pack cube things, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

And I got used to not working so much.

I got used to not wearing heavy boots.

I got used to eating healthy food and not having any coffee after 11 am.

I got used to going to bed at a decent hour, and watching the morning news.

You know, like a normal person.

Then, this morning, I got a call to come in to replace someone who called in sick, and ended up with the rest of the week booked.

Which is great, but I’m not used to all this work stuff, with the standing up and the paying attention, and the ladders. Definitely not used to the ladders.

But no one else is, either, so we all muddled through it together and somehow managed to get our day.

I’m back tomorrow. My feet will hate me.

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

Easing into the real world

Over the past two(ish) months, I’ve become accustomed to the lighter schedule of the multi-camera show.

Monday, we come in around 2 pm, and work until about 8. We hang lights – enough to ‘rough in’ the look so when they do the rehearsal with the cast the next morning, they have a good idea what the sets look like and what we need to change or add.

Ditto Tuesday and Wednesday.

Our long days are Thursday (block and pre-shoot) and Friday (audience), but neither of those days usually go over 12 hours.

Friday, the director does a ‘block and refresh’ with the cast before lunch, and then the audience load in and we shoot the live show.

Most directors finish with the refresh well before lunch, leaving us with a two-hour lunch.

This is a good thing and a bad thing.

I can go to the bank or the gym or just nap for those two hours, but I’m also on the Sony lot which means there’s a deeply discounted electronics store within walking distance, and I really don’t need to blow a paycheck on three TVs and a sound system.

But next week is our last week, and we’ve got three new sets plus an extra shoot day (to re-do the opening sequence), so we’re going to have more hours than usual.

We’ll have a nice check right when we’re unemployed, but the fact that we’re all dreading working a 60 hour week is some indication as to how spoiled we’ve gotten and what a shock it’s going to be to return to the real world of production, where every day will be 12 hours. Or more.

I have to say I really thought I was going to hate being stuck on a multi camera, but it’s been fun – largely because of the wonderful folks I’m working with, who I’ll miss when we’re done (but will see out in single camera world on a semi-regular basis).

I’ve also discovered that copious amounts of free time on a regular basis make me get less stuff done, not more.

Although I have binge-watched several Netflix series on the one new TV I bought (just one, although the salesperson really tried to get me into two).

My new hobby is watching movies from the 70s and 80s and pausing to really get a good look at the backgrounds.

I can really see the tape and spit holding the sets together.  It’s hilarious.

 

 

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

Right down to the wire

Monday and Tuesday were out load out days for the movie, which we’d all taken to calling She Dies in the End.   Loadout days are when we drive the truck back to the rental house, unload it, count it and then call all the other departments to find out if they’ve got any of the items we’re missing, usually extension cords.

We then loaded up the gaffer’s personal equipment and drove it to his storage space (in a hailstorm, of course), and after that I figured I was done for the year. A few days to clean up the disgraceful pigsty that I call an apartment, do the laundry, then get packed up for the annual guilt induced pilgrimage back east to overeat and argue.

But Tuesday, as I was on my way home under suddenly clear blue skies (of course, the rain and hail stopped right as we finished), a friend called me and asked if I was available for Wednesday and Friday for another low budget feature that I suppose we should call Teenage Emo Love.

I thought, for a split second, about saying no, then came to my senses. Of course I was available.

So I spent another 14 hours standing in yet another very small house with only one entrance – a small narrow stairway with no handrail (don’t ask me why they took it off).

Lucky for my knees, I ended up mostly being one of the outside people. I stood on the platform they’d constructed for the big HMIs that were aimed into the second story windows and moved lights around.

I’m back today, for their last day of shooting – which is a split (half day and half night), and then I come home, take a nap and then fly out.

Happy Holidays.

Filed under: hazardous, locations, movies, up all night, Work, , , , , ,

It’s beginning to look a lot like I’m not sure what.

Normally, fall is a very busy time of year – production cranks up and I bounce around between TV shows and movies and while I’m tired, it’s all good as I’m on a mission to bank cash for the lean months that follow the holidays.

Except this year. This year, it’s dead when it should be busy. Since no one knows if SAG are going to strike or not, nothing is starting up right now out of fear of being shut down. There are no movies shooting right now, and many of the TV shows are going down early and taking extended breaks.

Of course, the producers are saying SAG are unreasonable, and SAG are saying the producers won’t talk.

Guess who I believe?

Tomorrow, a federal mediator comes out to try to salvage… something, but no one I know has much hope.

In the interest of not having a poverty-line Christmas this year, I’d like to offer my mediation services.

Bring me the SAG reps and the person who’s ‘negotiating’ for the producers and lock us in a room. No sleepy time, no bathroom breaks, no food.

Also, I’ll need the following items:

Three rolls of duct tape.

Two sets of those unbreakable golf clubs (with extra drivers).

One police-issue taser.

An unlimited supply of air cartridges.

One box of cookies (no, they’re not for me. Bad thoughts = pain. Good thoughts = cookie. Even producers need occasional positive reinforcement).

Using my patented method*,  I will guarantee a contract agreement in 48 hours.

Of course, I suppose I’ll also need immunity from prosecution and/or two suitcases full of hundreds and a fake passport.

You know where to find me if that federal mediator dude doesn’t work out.

*violates Geneva Conventions

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

Have yourself a hysterical re-gifted Christmas

Every now and then, I just have one of those days.

Like today.

The toilet’s stopped up and the landlord’s out of town, so every time I need to pee I have to hike up the street to the gas station that’s also used by the local, um, working girls who are really guys whenever they need to refresh their makeup. Hey, at least it gets me out of the house. After calling around and pricing plumbers, I’ve decided that I can certainly live with a walk up the street a few times a day until the landlord gets back and deals with it.

Around lunchtime, I decided to hop on the bike and take a longer trek to the gym, which happens to be next to a movie theater with really nice restrooms – you know, so I could workout, offload breakfast and see one of the end-of-the-year award-bait movies all in one trip (although not necessarily in that order).

At the gym, everything I wanted to use was either broken or covered in puddles of sweat. Really, people.. you’re not just carrying that towel for the hell of it.

Later, as the movie was letting out, I looked up at the leaden sky and decided the predicted rain was still far enough away that I could get in a bike ride.

Of course, I got completely soaked, and when I got home I discovered that the FedEx delivery person from hell had taken my package of prints that I’d ordered from Flickr so I could save money on Christmas gifts this year, folded it in half and crammed it partway into the mailbox where it had then gotten rained on.

So now, instead of having that smug “I beat the system” feeling,  I had a big stack of soggy fucked up photos.

I now regret my decision not to bother with any sort of plan B.

I then called FedEx to file an insurance claim, and when the rep asked for the exact monetary amount of the order, I couldn’t find the order confirmation email from Flickr. It wasn’t in the inbox, in the trash, on the desktop.

It was just completely fucking gone. Then I realized that I had to pee again, which meant a hike up the street in the rain and that’s when I started crying.

“What am I going to do?” I wailed “Now I don’t have anything for Christmas and I have to get on a plane Saturday morning! I can’t go shop at the mall! I’m out of work!”

The FedEx customer service rep went into “placate the crazy lady” mode and tried to calm me down, but by then I’d worked up a really good head of steam and  there was really nothing he could do besides tell me that I had 21 days to file a claim and that perhaps I should call back later after I’d calmed down.

I then completely lost my mind and demanded that someone from FedEx call my family and explain to them that this was not my fault.

The rep started laughing, and then I realized how silly I must have sounded and started laughing as well, and although I’m much calmer now I’m going to be digging around the house looking for some crap that I can slap some paper on and try to convince said family that I really thought they might like a T-shirt from the caterer on some TV show that no one’s ever seen and a promotional flashlight from last year’s buzz movie.

Ooo… I think I might have an unused wooden spoon somewhere. That might work. Or batteries. Everybody loves batteries.

Also, I would just like to go on the record as saying that I am now officially sick of Christmas music.

If I hear that fucking Carpenters song one. more. time. I am going to very calmly turn to the person standing next to me and strangle them.

Merry Christmas to you too.

Oh, and I saw Juno. It’s very cute and sweet, although I really don’t think it’s award material. Guess it’s been a slow year.

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

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