Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Temptation

As our calls creep an hour later each day*, traffic becomes less of a concern. Our call today was 10 am so I didn’t have to worry about getting stuck in anything, but I still left early because I needed to get something to prevent the cement block in my sinuses.

I stopped at a small drug store near the location and got some Allegra, which generally wouldn’t be my first choice, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Or so I’m told.

I didn’t get to catering early enough to have breakfast, and we started out having to put all the lights back on the stands, as we’d taken them off the night before due to fear of them being blown over.

Probably an unfounded fear, as each stand had at least three shot bags on it.

Once we got set up and shooting, I snuck back to the caterer and grabbed a breakfast burrito, and then had to go unload equipment at yet another house – this one is serving as the production office.

The production house has the nicest pool of all the houses, and it’s the one that tempts me most to jump in. Apparently the heater has been broken for 6 months, but the pool is still being cleaned and really, I don’t think low 70s water would be that bad on a 90 degree day.

So I humped cable past said pool for about an hour (can’t get a cable cart past the yard’s landscaping, sadly), wishing that I had a set of dry clothes with me so I could ‘accidentally’ fall in.

Maybe Friday.

Two of us went over to Green Pool House to rig two rooms for two shots on Friday, but had to be rigged today as the important people will be coming to look at them and decide what they want.

Turns out, the director on this movie isn’t really allowed to make any decisions – it’s the studio suits that are really calling the shots – they’ve been shooting for months past the original end date, because said suits see a cut, don’t like it, and make them go back and shoot more.

They’ve also been through at least three sets of writers.

Awesome.

Someone gave me a script today, but since this movie builds on the past few movies of the franchise, I was unable to even begin to follow along, so I threw it in the trash.

*Two reasons – the main one is that the lead actress has a contractual 12 hour turnaround and since she’s in damn near every scene, we can’t come back until 12 hours after wrap – a 12 hour day for us is actually a 12.5 hour day, as we go ‘off the clock’ for a 30 minute lunch. The other reason is that we have night work Friday, and it’s easier on everyone if we gradually move the call instead of holding at a 7 am for four days and then coming in at noon on Friday.

Filed under: locations, long long drives, Los Angeles, movies, Work, , , , , , , , ,

The wind blows

For some strange reason, someone on this show decided to jump from a 6:30 am call time to a 9 am call time.

One would think that it would be great to sleep in, but the later the call, the heavier the traffic.

So I left my place a full hour early, anticipating to get stuck in the crawl, and then got lucky and got there way too early.

It was a nice calm day when I pulled out of the driveway, but by the time I got to location the winds had picked up – not just a light breeze, either. Violent gusts that bent trees and knocked over anything large and top-heavy – such as grip equipment or lights on stands.

The first thing we did in the morning – before we were in* – was frantically weight down the stands with all the sand and shot bags we could get from the grips, and then secure the equipment as well as we possibly could.

I finally got to see one of the other empty houses that’s being used as a location – it’s about a block away from the main house and has an incredibly green pool. Not intentionally green, mind you. Mosquito vector green. Someone told me it hasn’t been cleaned in about six months – oddly, the entire time the production has been shooting in this house.

The winds kept up all day and into the evening – by sunset my sinuses were a solid block of dirt and pollen – because we’ve killed the lawn on the property, there’s a layer of dust on everything – the carts, the equipment, the crew, the food. It’s like a music festival, except there are no tunes and you can’t get a toe ring.

The winds should die down by tomorrow afternoon.

Although California is currently in drought, I took a really long hot shower in an attempt to dislodge the mass in my sinuses – it was so bad even my ears were jammed up.

I need Claritin for the rest of the week.

*At call, the ADs will yell “we’re in”, meaning the work day has started. Most shows have a caterer that serves breakfast so everyone gets there early and mills about. It’s bad form to show up right at call, and it’s equally bad form to start working before one is called in, as one isn’t getting paid for that work. But, if it’s a choice between working five minutes early or losing a light due to it getting blown over….

Filed under: locations, long long drives, Los Angeles, movies, Work, , , , , , , , ,

Fun with crustaceans

Friday’s work involved a  scene with crabs. Not the kind you get from a cheap date, but the kind that scuttle across the beach when you try to catch them.

The scene as written  involved an actor lifting some debris and having the revealed crabs scuttle away thus making some sort of plot point or something.

I’m sure it seemed like a good idea in the production meeting, but the problem is that this particular type of crab, when they’re frightened, freeze and play dead until the predator or actor moves away.

As you can probably imagine, being dumped into a set and having a bright light shined on them scares the bejesus out of crabs. So when the debris was lifted and my co-worker hit them (not literally) with the light, they froze and just sat there despite all best efforts to get them to do something. Anything.  They were so scared that when they were dumped back into their bin, they still refused to move. Or, they could have actually been dead. The crab wrangler wasn’t 100% certain.

After many, many failed attempts to get the terrified (or dead- remember we couldn’t really tell) crabs to scurry, the director gave up and decided he was okay with them just sitting there.  Which was fine (except for the maybe dead part. That’s terrible and I care deeply. I swear) because the crabs’ recalcitrance turned a 9 hour day into a 12 hour day. Go crabs!

The overtime was a good thing, because this was the last scheduled day of the season for our unit (there may a few more days, but they aren’t scheduled), so at least we’ll go out with a decent check.

Over the weekend, I went and saw some more wild flowers – those of you who recommended the side of the highway were spot-on. The flowers there were much better than in the super crowded poppy reserve.

Poppies and Goldfields

Field of poppies

Roadside poppies
Yesterday,  I went to the doctor to have a chat about my foot – I’m going to the podiatrist on Friday (unless, of course, I have to work) and see if he’s going to recommend surgery.

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

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