Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Lights, Camera, Shop!

One of the occasional perks of my job is wardrobe and prop sales.
Most of the really nice (read: expensive) stuff is rented, but the cheaper stuff is usually purchased, in multiples, and kept beyond the date by which it can be returned to the store.

There are reasons for this, of course – spills, tears, and daily wear make multiple items necessary, and hanging onto the items for so long is a must in case there are re-shoots.

So a few times a year, the nice folks in wardrobe will let the crew pick through the racks and sell off some fairly nice things for Salvation Army prices.

Tags

Today, I was really in the right place at the right time.

As we breakfasted before call, one of the costumers wheeled up a rack and told us to grab whatever we wanted, gratis.

Most of the items had weird logos on them, but a few things were really nice and (I hoped) my size.

I wasn’t sure because I couldn’t try anything on.

As totally willing as I was to whip off my top at the old Barney’s warehouse sale (deep discounts, no dressing rooms), I have to pretend to maintain some semblance of professionalism at work, which means just guessing on the size and hoping.

Of the five tops I got, four fit, which is pretty good.

One item that I thought might be too big was, predictably, too big.

But it’s a really nice soft cotton T-shirt so I might just wear it anyways.

Tomorrow, I’m on a special effects shoot which will mainly be sitting around and wondering where my life went so fucking off course.

At least I’ll look good.

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

New School / Old School

Since I’ve decided I can only learn one new thing at a time, I’m going to be making my lighting maps the old-fashioned way – with paper and a template.

When I came up with the idea, it seemed reasonable enough – just go and buy a template and then I’ll be tracing my way to not having to learn a fucking CAD program on top of everything else I’m trying to absorb.

Except that prancing into Studio Depot, whipping out my credit card and bypassing technology wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined.

The templates haven’t been stocked in quite some time, since apparently everyone in the world is using the aforementioned fucking CAD program.

Guess I’m going to have to have a talk with the gaffer about how we’re going to map this. Hopefully he’s got a template somewhere and can bring it in.

Maybe in a week or so I’ll be able to tackle new learnings, but right now my brain is worn the hell out.

Also, it’s hotter than ass here in Los Angeles, so there’s that.  Wait. I was trying to make a point, then I kept sweating and now I… forgot.

UPDATE: Filmtools has them. Sweet.

Guess where I’m going after work tomorrow?

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

Finally.

Although I’m  not thrilled about the prospect of having a payment right now, at least the car-shopping portion of the program is over.

I didn’t get what I wanted, but I got a newish (’06) domestic wagon-y thing, that, aside from being a godawful color (I don’t tend to like flashy colored cars. No bright blue, no red, no yellow. I want something that blends), isn’t too terribly obnoxious and will get me to work and back until I can pay it down enough to swap it for something that I really like.

The car had been sitting on the dealer lot for three months (guess I’m not the only one who wasn’t thrilled with it), so the guy was willing to make a hell of a deal just to get it off the lot.

Of course, right after I bought it, a reader emailed me offering a car that was a LOT closer to what I wanted for about the same price.

Oh, well. At least all the drama’s over.

For now.

I’m trying not to torment myself with the thought that if the economy stays bad, used car prices are going to plummet in about a month.  Unfortunately, I just couldn’t wait and risk getting bumped off the call lists because of transportation problems.

Right now the two things that are annoying me are blissfully trivial – the gym being packed to the rafters with the resolution crowd (I really with that they’d make an attempt to teach some sort of gym etiquette) and the new WordPress interface being slow as hell and vastly more irritating than the old one.

I can’t do anything about the WordPress issue, but the gym problem’s been a fairly easy fix – since I don’t sleep for shit anyways, I’ve just been going at the crack of dawn and beating the crowds, which has been nice. Another advantage is that the place is a damn sight cleaner at 5 am than it is later in the day.

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

A soul-destroying New Year’s Day

I started out 2009 by calling in a favor and having a good friend drive me all over town to look  at used cars.

I do not recommend this as anything other than an exercise in futility – unless, of course, you simply have too much hair and would like to thin it by tearing it out in frustration.

After perusing several car lots staffed by salesmen (one of whom I’m fairly certain was missing a few chromosomes) from hell, I had to take a break and get some lunch because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry or kill someone.*

Part of the problem is me. There’s a huge gulf between what I want and what I can afford.

The car I want:

bmw

The car I can afford:

wreck

It’s not that I can’t afford a nice car, it’s that I can’t afford a nice car right now – no one knows if the actors are going to strike and I can’t saddle myself with a car payment that amounts to much more than spare change if I’m going to be out of work for a few months. Again.

So although the really nice little German-made sport wagon is theoretically within my reach financially (I’m talking 2000 or 2001 models), I just can’t do it now and am going to have to settle for some econobox which I guarantee I’ll hate more than a trip to the dentist.

On the bright side, at least I won’t be sad if it gets stolen.

Said genetic-material challenged salesmen (and of course, they’ve all been men) have been no help at all. One showed me cars that were all $5,000 above what I told him was my maximum price, and another showed me a few cars that were in worse shape than my truck (you know, the one that doesn’t run), but were admittedly in my price range.

Ugh. I didn’t really even want a wagon, but the gas mileage on the SUV models I’ve looked at is so shockingly bad I can’t in good conscience buy one (shame, too.  I really, really like the Chevy Trailblazer, but it’s fuel economy is disgraceful at best). Although several manufacturers do make SUV type vehicles that get good mileage, they’re either not readily available or out of my price range.

No resolutions this year. I don’t have the energy and self-improvement can suck it.  Or maybe I’m just in a bad mood.

Here’s to ’09 being a damn sight better than ’08.

* Who am I kidding? I’d much rather kill someone than cry.

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

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, , , , , , , , ,

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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