Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

When statuary goes terribly wrong:
P1050578

Filed under: locations, long long drives, Photos, Work, , , , , , , ,

Super duper retro Friday Photo

Flats

From Help Me Help You, circa 2006.

I know it’s old, but this is one of my favorite photos.

Besides the flats leaning up against the walls, those black square things at the left of the photo are spacelite* accessory bags.

Each spacelite comes with extra stuff that one may or may not use, but is inadvisable to lose, so the bags containing said stuff must be put in a safe place. Like stapled to the wall.

That’s pretty safe, right?

*When I do an image search of certain lighting items, the only results I get are photos I’ve taken. Dammit, people, I’m not the only juicer with a blog. Step it up. I’m not sure how much longer I can carry you motherfuckers.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Obstacle courses and other obstructions

I’m sure there was a really good reason the producers of this movie opted to shoot in a private home instead of building a set on a stage.

I just can’t think of it. The house is in the flight path of both LAX and Santa Monica Airport, so there’s a constant stream of jets and single engine planes flying over. The damage list is already alarmingly high (film crews don’t mean to destroy your house, it just kind of happens) in both the ‘hero’ house and the house next door where we’re staging equipment.  We’re also racking up overtime because of crowding and noise.

The problem with even the largest house is that the walls won’t come out, so traffic jams happen when the DP decides to, say, place the camera in the only door leading into a small bathroom or at the base of the only staircase.

On a stage, the walls of a set can wild (come out easily) for faster access and there’s always a way around whatever equipment’s causing the traffic jam.

The other problem in our current location is our own self-generated noise. Since this particular home is built in the loft style with very high ceilings and a lot of tile, there’s no noise dampening at all.  Even whispered conversations are magnified, and because the important people have taken to sitting in the set and talking (and laughing, and singing show tunes) while we’re trying to work, it’s almost impossible to hear anything, even with the walkie turned up all the way.

The ADs can’t do anything about it because it’s the executive producers doing the laughing and singing, so we all just have to suck it up and try to do our best.

The other problem we’re having is equipment. This particular rental house (and the producer usually chooses the lowest bidder) apparently sent all their good gear to the subsidy states, because we’re being sent out some spectacularly old equipment.

The problem with old equipment is that it almost never works properly, since it’s not been maintained. It’s just been sitting in some warehouse, waiting for either the scrapper or a show that doesn’t have a choice about taking it.

Even the dust on this thing was old.

Yes, that’s a light that’s so old it was manufactured in West Germany. I think stirrup leggings were still in fashion when West Germany ceased to exist.

Why has this thing not been scrapped? Oh, right. Because they can send it to us, and not have to bother shipping any of the good equipment back from Louisiana.

Except that this light, along with about 40% of our other lights, didn’t work.

The rental house has been out every single day to exchange bad lamps, ballasts, stands, etc…

But the new stuff they bring out isn’t any better than the busted up garbage we’re sending back. Normally, after a few fuck ups, the rental house gets embarrassed and starts sending out the nice new shiny stuff that they normally only send out on commercials (commercials pay the best, so they get the best stuff).

But since I’ve not seen anything shiny or new, I’m guessing this isn’t going to get any better.

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

Portable computing not at its best.

My poor little laptop – I bought it cheap off eBay so if something bad happened to it, I wouldn’t much care.

Perhaps that’s not the right way to phrase that – I’d care about a $200 laptop, but not nearly as much as I’d care about a $1200 laptop. So, today, when my computer refused to boot up, I was surprised to find that I cared very deeply indeed.

Not so much for the computer, but for the data which was now completely inaccessible – including drafts of some posts for LAist, about a million photos, a script and a half, and three quarters of a book.

Also, I’m back on the dimmer board tomorrow, so a laptop really helps with quick answers when the gaffer starts asking about obscure movie trivia in between set-ups.

Turns out, all I had to do was re-set the BIOS, which I found out on a computer forum after I’d freaked out and bought another cheap laptop off eBay (the idea being that I’d get the new laptop here, pull the hard drive out of the old one, burn the relevant data off to a CD and then sell the old laptop on ebay “for parts”).

Whoops.

Honestly, though – my laptop’s old so it’s probably not a bad thing to change it for a slightly newer (but still old) one before something even worse happens.

Filed under: computer, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photos and a question

First, the photos:

Really old cable.

Is it fiberglass or is it asbestos?

Now, the question:

This is really, really old cable. The cable we’ve used for, well, just about forever has rubber insulation, and this is clearly not rubber.

In a debate about what, exactly it was, half of Monday’s crew thought asbestos, and the other half thought some sort of fiberglass.

So, who’s right – or were we all wrong?

What the hell is this stuff and do I need to make a panicky call to my doctor because I got my face too close to it?

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

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