Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

A mild disappointment with bonus re-run

Although I swore up and down that I’d have to work the day of the unemployment hearing, no dice. The hearing’s tomorrow and still no work (well, I have to shoot The Blonde doing something at Fashion Week tomorrow night, but that’s not technically work. There’s no paycheck involved and it’s mostly just me directing traffic and hoping there will be some decent food in whatever passes for a green room at a fashion show). I’m hearing rumors of something next week-ish. We’ll see.

Although it feels like forever, tomorrow will be one month since the end of the strike.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I wrote a guest post for Assistant Atlas where I dished out some friendly advice for people who visit movie sets and figured since life is still boring I’d do the blogger cop-out and re-run it here (although since I’m not sure it was ever posted on my blog it’s technically not a re-run. Plus, it’s still relevant. Print out and use as a reference if you don’t get to set that often and get the urge to see how we’re spending your cash. Please).

Enjoy!

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Welcome to our happy little film set! Ignore the swearing and dirty jokes – the crew are really nice folks, but we do have a generally misunderstood job to do, and you can make it much harder for us if you don’t pay attention. Normally when “tourists” or “suits” are on set we roll our eyes and groan, but if you just remember the following things, we’ll love you forever:

1. Never set any liquid on an HMI ballast – they’re the square silver things in the photo, and what they are is a computerized control system for that big huge light. Unless you’re the producer, I’ll bet they cost more than your car, and spilled liquid will ruin them. Don’t sit on them, either. You’ll get the ass rot.

HMI

2. Please, please, PLEASE pay attention to what’s going on around you. Film sets are dark (especially if they’re on a stage), and confusing- and as you can see from the photo, there’s all kinds of cable and construction waste on the ground. People are also in a hurry and rushing while they’re carrying hot, heavy and/or pointy things. If you’re not paying attention, you could be seriously injured. Don’t wear open toed shoes or flip flops, either. 3/4 ” drywall screws have ways of finding your toes.

3. If you take a picture and are using the flash on your camera, please say “Flashing” loudly – before you take the picture. A camera flash looks exactly like a light bulb blowing out, and if the electricians see the flash of white light and don’t know that’s what it is, they’ll go batty trying to find the blown out globe when it was your camera. This is funny, but very, very mean.

4. When the AD says “Quiet” – this means you. “Quiet” does NOT mean ‘continue your conversation in a whisper’. “Quiet” means shut up while we’re rolling. The microphones that are used can pick up a whispered conversation from a surprisingly long way away.

6. If you see crew running in and out of a doorway, please don’t block that doorway while you have a conversation. We might accidentally hit you in the back with something pointy. On a related note, the phrase “Watch your back” means move right now. If you’re in a doorway and you hear the phrase “Watch your back”, move AWAY from the doorway. Do not attempt to go back through it. Remember, pointy object = pain.

7. Whoever’s carrying the heavier load gets right of way. If I’m carrying a 40 lb light, and you’re carrying a 10 oz. cell phone or two sheets of paper – You are the one who needs to yield. I don’t care who you are. Neither does my spine.

8. When craft service puts food out, let the folks who’ve been there longer get to the food first.

9. We are happy to answer questions and chit chat when we’re not busy. If we are busy (and you can tell), please let us work. We get yelled at if we don’t.

10. Ladders are for climbing, not for setting drinks on.

11. If you ask really nicely, the grips might let you sit on an apple box (but know that it can be taken from you at any time), but NEVER EVER for any reason sit or stand on camera cases.

12. Don’t stand in front of a light. Feel that heat on your back? It means you’re casting a shadow onto the set. Don’t walk in front of a light, either. On a related note.. if you can look into the camera lens, you’re in the shot.

13. If folks are working over your head, you might want to move. We try not to drop things, but accidents do happen. If a crew member asks you to move, please do so immediately and don’t argue.

14. If you don’t know what something is, don’t touch it.
14a. Don’t plug anything in ANYWHERE without asking first. DC power (which some stages still have) will do a number on your cell phone charger, and if you didn’t ask before plugging it in, we’ll laugh at you.

15. Please don’t wear perfume. Even air conditioned sets are hotter than hell under the lights, and you wouldn’t believe how bad your “Obsession” smells after it’s been hanging in the air for a while and has bred with someone else’s “Opium”. Speaking of bad smells, if you have to fart, please step off the set – off the stage if you can. Thanks.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

My priorities should be obvious now.

For my trip, I’ve packed the following:

Three sweaters

Three pairs of pants

Three shirts

Four pairs of socks

Many pairs of underpants (yup, learned my lesson)

One coat

One scarf

Four cameras (two digital, two film)

One video camera

Twenty eight rolls of film

Enough digital memory cards to make a deck and have a poker game

One tripod

Yeah, I guess it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

The car’s coming to pick me up at 7 am, and I’m already tired because I was up late cleaning the house (I care about what the cat sitter thinks of me, you know).

Hopefully this means I’ll be able to sleep on the plane, although I doubt it.

I don’t know if I’ll be bothering to check emails at all (I’m sure there are internet cafes, I’m just planning on being too busy to care), and I’m certainly not going to post, so in the meantime please check out some of the fantastic reading material over there on the sidebar.

I’ll be back on the 26th!

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Fine, I’ll look on the damn bright side.

Although I don’t know how much of this list is optimism and how much is schadenfreude, but sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

Especially from me.

Here ya go:

1) At least I don’t live in the Western San Fernando Valley – if you think I’m whining about the heat now

2) At least I’m not a “pro-family” US Senator with a horrible voting record on gay rights who got popped (pun intended) for hitting on a male cop in an airport restroom (insert derisive snicker). Now there’s a guy with problems.

3) The cat has only thrown up one hairball this week. This is a vast improvement over last week, when she threw up about ten thousand hairballs and kindly left most of them right where I’d step in them during night-time trips to the loo.

4) The maintenance guy has switched from Eddie Money to the Eagles. I don’t really care for the Eagles much, but it’s a change and I have to take what I can get, right?

4) I’m working Friday, but it’s on a stage that’s air-conditioned to the point of qualifying as a meat locker with a crew of folks who, if I start acting bitchy, will just throw something at me and not take it personally. Yay!

5) The MRI for the right knee came back, and besides a bit of fluid, everything is normal. No torn anything, no weird tumors.

And, just for the record, I don’t hate France – I love France. Honestly, I can take or leave Paris, but the south of France is where I really fell in love with the country and the people (who were wonderful everywhere I went, and very patient with my atrocious French), even though every time I go there I gain about three metric tons from eating all the delicious food and drinking gallons of the local vin ordinaire.

Whenever I complain about the excess pounds, whoever I’m talking to gives that dismissive hand wave that only the French can do really well and says “Oh, there is always time to diet later. Here, have another croissant”.

Why, merci. Don’t mind if I do.

Stupid France and their stupid wonderful food and stupid delicious wine and cheese (which is so totally worth eating) and nice people and beautiful light and strong coffee.

Mmmm.. France. I need to go there right now.
But I can’t go to France any time soon because today I lashed out with Mr. Debit Card and bought a Nikon D40.

I blame Nezza for this.

Originally, I had only thought of buying the D80, which is WAY outside my price range, so I’d just looked at them, sighed wistfully and hoped that the DSLR fairies would someday leave one under my pillow if I were very, very good indeed, and moved on. Then, when Nezza mentioned a D40, I looked at it and thought it wasn’t so bad, so when I went by Samy’s Camera today to buy film for my ancient SLR, I saw the sale price on the D40 and before I knew it, I was walking out the door with one.

I hope you’re happy, Nezza.

Now I have a camera but I can’t make an impulse ticket purchase to Paris, where I’d jump on the train and go somewhere with fatty food and stunning beaches and cheap wine and fabulously attractive locals whom I’d probably ignore completely due to my being too busy stuffing my face.

Who am I kidding… Once I factor in the lost work, that would cost about a bazillion times more than a camera.

Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t use normal batteries, so I couldn’t just take it out of the box and start shooting (of course, there was a really awesome couch on the way home), but once it gets charged I’m going to try it out.

And, of course, if I don’t like it I’m going to muster all of my imaginary PMS anger and return it.

Filed under: camera, couches, life in LA, Nikon, Non-Work, Off-Topic, overspending, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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