Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

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Something strange has happened in my neighborhood.

All of the electronic billboards have gone black. Every single one of them.

No explanation has been given.

I’m scared.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, Photos, , , , , ,

I’m not thankful I saw that.

One of the hazards of working sets is the occasional unfortunate eyeful, so to speak.

For many years, grips and electricians have loved to wear really baggy shorts – usually of the cargo variety – to work sans underpants. Which, of course, is fine if you like a breeze around your unmentionables (and who am I to say that’s wrong?), but sometimes all of us have to climb a ladder.

Normally, when one climbs a ladder on set to mess with or hang a light one is leaning out over the side of the ladder, thus throwing the load off-center, so one requires assistance in the form of a co-worker ‘footing’ said ladder, which is basically just standing on one of the lower rungs to add some weight to prevent tip-over (which is funny, but usually ends very badly).

The hazards of footing a ladder can include getting tools dropped on one’s head, getting smacked in the face by an overthrown cable (which then swings back towards the thrower and raises one hell of a welt on anyone who happens to be in the way), and looking up at a co-worker who happens to be going commando in a pair of billowy shorts or worse, a kilt.

Lately there has been a dramatic increase in the number of guys wearing kilts to work with no underwear – don’t ask me why. They usually wear Utilikilts, but the end result is the same. A dude in a dress with the family jewels swinging in the breeze. Look up at your own risk*.

I’m not sure which is worse – the shorts, where everything’s squished into one leg so it looks like chewed gum or the kilt, where everything’s got room to swing around for easier viewing by unfortunate colleagues.

When I get the inevitable view I usually loudly mention something about a rash that needs immediate medical attention, but today we were on set and there were important people milling about, so there was nothing I could do other than try really hard not to look up, which made taking the unwieldy Kino Flo from my underpantless colleague much more difficult.

And guys? They really all do look the same. Trust me on this one.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy your meal.

*Unfortunately, sometimes one has no choice but to look up – such as handing up a light, or a tool (stop snickering. I’m referring to a wrench), or tape, or being handed something that’s coming down out of the rig.

Filed under: Work, , , , , , ,

Another un-uneventful evening.

Why is it that every time I make some blanket statement such as “condor nights are usually uneventful”, I’m  proven so very, very wrong?

As of late, condor duty has been anything but uneventful.

This last time, I was nowhere near any old, rotting bee-filled facades, plus I was full stick (meaning the condor was at maximum extension) in an 80 foot condor, so I figured that all I’d have to do was set some lights and then nap.

Except that this time, as soon as I got up and set, I made the mistake of looking down. I’m not normally afraid of heights, but this particular set was a sunken garden (and of course my condor was on a level above the garden), so it looked like I was up much higher than 80 feet.

I know it’s silly of me to be freaked out when I think I’m 100 feet up and not when I’m 80 feet up. If I fell, I’d be just as dead either way, but I guess it’s that I’m used to being 80 feet up so anything that looks higher up than that is outside what I’ll hesitantly call a comfort zone.

This particular condor not only had a super bendy arm (some of them have more rigid arms than others, so some bounce around more when extended. Bendiness varies by individual condor, not by make or model. Needless to say, I prefer the more rigid ones) so the basket swayed like crazy whenever I shifted my weight or the wind gusted or I hauled something up to the basket via my drop line (like the very important plate of second meal), but that or the illusion of extra height wasn’t what really rattled me.  Right after I got up to 80 feet my condor decided to start settling.

Settling is caused by air bubbles in the hydraulic line. When an air bubble gets into the right spot, the condor will make a popping noise and then drop a fraction of an inch. The condor can’t actually fall all the way to the ground, so it’s not dangerous, but it is disconcerting to be up that high and have that ‘pop and drop’ happen.

Luckily, when we turned around to shoot the other half of the scene the gaffer wanted the lights in a different spot so I was able to go down ‘on the stick’ (meaning the boom arm wasn’t fully extended) and went back up to a lower altitude so the popping wasn’t nearly as noticeable and the people on the ground looked a lot larger.

And thankfully there were no bees anywhere nearby.

Filed under: Work, , , ,

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