Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

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, , , ,

Third time’s a charm, I guess

I hate getting sick at work – there’s this guilt at leaving the crew a ‘man down’ if you go home, but you’re no good to anyone if you stay and continue to be sick, so the crew’s a man down anyway so why not puke (or whatever else it is that you’re having to do) in the comfort of one’s home and not in a semi public restroom (or worse, the portable ‘shitters’ that we use on location)?

Guess what happened to me today?

We broke late for lunch, so they had to hold the commissary open for us (past their normal closing time of 3 pm), so I guess the food just sat there in the steam trays festering and growing… something.

It was so tempting, too. They were serving corned beef and cabbage. I love corned beef and cabbage, and it’s actually a good choice to hold for a while because you really have to work to dry out something with that much fat (an occupational hazard of ours is production telling the caterer that we’re going to break at a certain time, and then getting delayed and breaking an hour after the food’s mummified from sitting and waiting for us to break).

Right after they called us back from lunch (and as soon as we started lighting, of course) I started not feeling so great and had to go to the ladies room. Right when we really started lighting (and right when I really needed to be back on the set to help my co-workers), my lunch decided to come back up.  Yuck.

The one good thing is that it was over quickly, and once lunch came up I felt well enough that after a quick visit to the on-lot nurse (at the insistence of our lot best boy who’s a great guy and just has my best interests at heart) I was able to stay at work. The last couple of times I’ve eaten something bad and been sick at work it’s been much, much worse (here and here).

I still haven’t wanted to eat anything (it’s now almost midnight and this happened at around 5 pm), but at least I’m not defiling the plastic plants in my neighborhood food store.

Oh, shit. It’s almost midnight.

I have to be back at work (but on a different show this time so it’s damned lucky we wrapped when we did because all the rules about turnaround* don’t apply when one’s on a different show the next day) at 8 am.

*Turnaround is the time between when wrap is called on one day and the call time the next day. 12 hours is ideal, 10 hours is common and 9 hours, while allowed, is generally considered to be poor sportsmanship on the part of production.

Filed under: mishaps, Work, , , , ,

July 2020

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

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