Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Hearing and Lady Problems

Normally, the gaffer is the head of the lighting department, but on shows with anything more than a passing resemblance to theater (operas, concerts, ice shows, ballroom dancing), there will also be a lighting designer, who is responsible for the theatrical lighting.

Anything that’s part of what would be the theater rig falls under the authority of the lighting designer, so since I was working a follow spot today, I was on the channel with the LD, and not the gaffer.

Normally, the LD sits in a sound proof booth and during the performance, will call out directions to the spotlight operators. The spotlights are given numbers to simplify things, so instead of having to remember names, the LD can just call out “spot 3, pick up downstage left”, or “spot 4, pan up to get the drummer”.

Which is great, when it works.

For this particular show, there was no booth for the LD, so he was sitting next to the monitor, and when they turned on the playback, all we heard over the walkies was something like a radio not quite on the right channel.


Since the venue in which we were shooting is not known for stellar acoustics, none of us could even hear what we were thinking.

The LD, once we explained that we couldn’t hear him during playback, sighed and just gave us direction in between takes.

Lucky for all of us there wasn’t too much movement on stage.

The main problem was that our spotlights were on a catwalk that required steep stairs and a ladder to reach – which was fine, except for the lack of a loo.

At this point, I’m sure someone is going to suggest I just pee in the chain bag.

First, eeew.

Second, I have my period, because of course I do. And trust me, no one wants to find that in the chain bag.

I got lucky today that the periods of inactivity coincided with when I needed to slip away, but tomorrow I might be fucked because the call sheet has performance numbers all day.

I’ll have to double up (tampon and a giant pad), and bring up a plastic bag and some wet wipes.

Good thing this show is requiring we all wear black clothes.

I’m back tomorrow and Friday.

Filed under: locations, mishaps, Work, , , , , , , , , ,

Out, damned sandwich! Out, I say!

I’m feeling much calmer now – thanks to everyone for the kind words after my little “on-air” panic moment.

Last night I went to my last FilmIndependent screening (my membership expired the 31st and I can’t afford to renew until I start working again. Needless to say, the office has not been receptive to my request for a charity extension). The movie was In Bruges and it showed at the new(ish) Landmark movie theaters, which used to be the outdoor section of a shopping mall (no, it did – when they renovated they decided to put in a better movie theater instead of more pointless retail. The theater’s much better than the old one, but I still like the Arclight better. The seats are more comfortable and the actual theaters are bigger. Plus, you can’t beat reserved seating in a nearly child-free facility).

Since I’d spent the entire day running errands and hadn’t eaten, when I got to the theater I figured I’d sashay up to the bar (so to speak) and grab a snack – this is when sticker shock kicked in.

Seriously – four bucks for a pretzel? Seven for a slice of lukewarm pizza?

I decided to beat the system and ran into the adjacent bookstore/overpriced (but not as overpriced as the theater) coffee bar, grabbed a sandwich and then proceeded to scarf it down before entering the theater – just in case the ushers confiscated the forbidden ‘outside food item’.

Problem solved, right?

Not so much with my current run of luck.

About halfway through the movie, my stomach began to plot revenge, and by the end credits, I felt it was a good idea to exit the theater very quickly and move in the direction of the nearest ladies room, where I sat on the floor of a stall for about 20 minutes, desperately hoping that I’d throw up, feel better, and could go back into the theater for the director Q & A.


After deciding that the whole episode was a false alarm (but not feeling well enough to go back inside the theater), I went to the car and started up the ramp to get out of the parking garage, where I made it almost all the way out to the street before had to stop the car and hang my head out the opened driver’s side door for a moment (or three).

Still nothing.

On the way home, high on Salmonella (or something), I stopped and took a bunch of pictures of an abandoned diner. This place has been closed for at least 10 years, yet for some reason the sign’s still on. I worked on a movie that shot here for weeks, and all day today I’ve been trying to remember the title, but I can’t. I’m going to blame the memory lapse on the sandwich. It never did come up and I’m just now feeling better.

Sign close up


missing letter

I would also like to take this time to apologize for the hackneyed Shakespeare riff in today’s title. The sandwich made me do it.
I swear.

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

They tricked me!

Due to my being sick yesterday (okay, not so much the contagious type of sick as suffering the onset of Southern California’s allergy season with my sinuses packed so full of goo that I’m afraid my head’s going to explode at any moment – you know, like in Scanners), I didn’t do anything productive like I’d planned. No gym, no bike ride, no working on anything. I just went to the movies where my constant nose-blowing would blend in with everyone else’s constant nose-blowing.

Did I mention that it’s now allergy season here in SoCal? I did? Sorry. I’m blaming the antihistamines, which don’t clear my head up so much as make me so loopy that I don’t notice it – or have a short term memory, but that’s..

Wait.. what was I saying?

Oh, the movies.

I saw 3:10 to Yuma, which was fun – I love Westerns (and in fact, I wrote my film school thesis on the evolution of the western), and I’m sad that now we’re going to see a resurgence of simple-minded dreck thrown together by suits hoping to cash in on a trend.

Seriously, go see this one – the dude playing the bad guy’s sidekick really steals the show.

Then, because I could, I theater-hopped and snuck into The Brave One. I was expecting to see an action movie where people get shot every few minutes (which would have gone great with the surreal time-delay thing I’ve had all day), but instead what I saw was a chick-flick disguised as a real movie. I hate chick-flicks more than I hate any other movie genre (including cheap, crappy horror movies, which are at least funny).

Had I known this was a chick-flick, I never would have seen it – I blame the deceptive marketing campaign that made it look like fun. Bastards.

The dirt. It won’t come off no matter how hard I scrub.

On a happier note, I feel much better today. My head’s still packed with goo, but at least my brain seems to be working a bit better.

If my brain continues to function throughout the day, I’ll get on the phone and try to drum up some work.

Filed under: cranky, humor, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Attention single ladies of Los Angeles!

Want to nab yourself a man in that coveted 18 to thirtysomething demographic?

Well, hurry on down to the Arclight in Hollywood where you’ll find a whole bunch of fine upstanding young gentlemen taking photos with the Transformers cars.

Self-portrait with

You’d better move quickly, though, ladies. Soon, the cars will go away and the guys will go back home and fire up the Xbox – and then who knows when they’ll leave the house again?

More Transformers photo ops

Get one while you can!

Filed under: dating, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Photos, , , , , , ,

March 2023

Flickr Photos



Random Quote

"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,177 other subscribers

Twitter Updates


Not blogs, but cool

%d bloggers like this: