Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Bees, kitsch, and some food for thought.

Normally, being the guy up in the condor with the BFL (big fucking light) is fairly uneventful.

Raise platform up, set light(s) at gaffer’s direction, kill time until wrap.

Friday night, however, was different.

One of the lights must have been aimed at a hive somewhere in the New York Street facades because a few minutes after I went up I was surrounded by dozens of  bees, most of whom were successful in getting past the color gel and into the light (which meant they got toasted immediately), but the ones who weren’t able to figure out how to get around the gel became very, very cross and decided that flying full speed at the big thing in the basket was a great idea.

After a number of near-misses I decided to take the coward’s way out and huddled in the bottom of the basket with a blanket over me, sweating profusely as it was a warm night (I’d much rather sweat than get stung) and trying not to scream while we were rolling.

As we worked our way through a very long and complex scene, I huddled under my blanket, listening to the angry bees buzzing around me. After a time, most of them would find their way into the lights and that would be the end of that.

Just when I’d get optimistic about the bees having given up for the night, a fresh batch would fly up and the whole process would start over.

Thankfully, the last scene scheduled for the night was dropped, meaning I got to turn off my lights and enjoy a bee-free descent earlier than I’d anticipated.

Sunday night,  a friend of mine and I went to an on-lot screening of Ghost Town.

After the movie,  we went to eat at the weirdest restaurant in Los Angeles.

No, I’m serious.

It’s a Greek-themed seafood place, staffed by octogenarians  and no matter what one orders, an indiscriminate plate of something completely random which bears no resemblance to what was described on the menu appears.

I ordered kabobs and got what I think was supposed to be a salad, my friend ordered fish and got, well, I’m not sure what it was but it sure as hell wasn’t the red snapper.

This is a small price to pay for the ambiance of badly done Agean scenery murals, statuary draped in Christmas lights, a decrepit piano player and old men arguing about politics while one eats one’s mystery meal.

There’s some metaphor for life itself in there somewhere, I’m just not sure where.  Maybe in the sauce.

Wall mural

Piano player

Strange Greek place in Hollywood

Cell phone neon sign shot

Sorry about the shitty cell phone cam shots. I’d forgotten to bring my camera.

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

Wait, what?

Although all of us are pretty much used to working 12 hour days by now, there’s a huge difference between a 12 hour shooting day and a 12 hour rigging day.

Since we can’t make any noise while they’re rolling, shoot days have opportunities to slow down a bit – get off one’s feet, read the paper (out of the producer’s line of sight, of course), or just take a breather.

Rigging days aren’t like that. There’s no forced quiet, so the only time that’s there to sit down is during official break periods – usually a coffee break a few hours after call and lunchtime and the rest of the time one is working and sweating (especially during summer here in LA), so that 12 hour day really feels like a 12 hour day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. A 12 hour day comes with a nice paycheck attached, and I’m working with a really nice group of folks that I like a lot, but adding on an hour commute each way (and time to go swim because walking on concrete floors all day kill my feet if I don’t) doesn’t leave me much time to do things like cook or clean and since I don’t want to use part of my precious down time driving to a place to eat, parking, etc… I bring my lunch.

Except I ran out of food at home and instead of purchasing ingredients and wasting perfectly good sleeping time with all that cooking nonsense, I decided to take the easy way out and buy something pre-cooked at my local market.

While I was standing in Whole Foods perusing the selection of ‘healthy’ foods and wondering why they just don’t sell plain iced coffee in a can that I can bring to work (I don’t care if it’s fair trade, I don’t like vanilla flavored coffee) when a guy sidled up next to me and apropos of nothing asked me

“When you wake up in the morning, do you ever wonder if you’ll meet a new guy that day?”

Honestly, no.

Normally when I wake up in the morning I wonder if I’m going to be able to get through the day without killing someone, but thanks for playing.

When I didn’t answer right away he asked again, and as I tried to extricate myself from the conversation by nattering about work and traffic patterns he looked sad and mumbled something about magic being missing from life nowadays.

In an uncharacteristic moment of empathy, I felt bad for him, so I used my age as an excuse.

“Well, you know… most of the guys want women under 30, so what ya gonna do?”

“Oh, is it hard out there?” he asked.

“Sometimes, but why dwell on it? Why not just live my life?”

He thought for a moment and then said “yeah. You just have to hang in there.” He started to nod his head. “Like Steve Windwood.”

Then he wandered off in the direction of the cheese, still nodding to himself.


It’s puff, puff, pass.

I quickly grabbed a salad and something that later turned out to be very dry turkey meatloaf and when I got to the check stand I mentioned the exchange to the clerk.

“Well” he asked, “did you give him your number?”

You know, I hadn’t even realized what was going on. Although I’d love to use the ‘tired’ excuse for missing it, I think we may have a winner for most obtuse pick up line, well, ever.

Filed under: life in LA, Work, , , , , , ,

June 2019
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