Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The 21 hour day

It's my fault - I decided it would be a good idea to 'double dip' yesterday.

Well, not really a good idea, but the problem is that if you cancel on people or turn them down too often, they stop calling you.

This guy I work for a lot (who looks just like Shakespeare), called me Sunday night and asked if I wanted to work Monday night - "It's a commercial", he said "You'll be coming in at the end of the night for a few hours to help them get off the stage since production doesn't want to pay stage rental for a wrap day".

I agreed, and figured I'd spend Monday day doing laundry.

Not five minutes after I'd hung up, the phone rang again. This time it was the best boy from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, wanting to know if I was available Monday morning. The movie Flight Plan was doing some reshoots that night and all we'd do is go in really early Monday morning, pull out the rig, and be done with it. "It'll only be a few hours work", he swore when I asked him if he thought we'd be done by 6 pm (my call time for the commercial).

I'd already said yes when he told me where it was.

Mohave Airport. The middle of the desert at the end of July. Whenever I'm having a really, really sucky day at work, I always say "at least I'm not pulling cable in the desert in summer" - pulling cable in the desert in the summer being just about the suckiest thing I can think of.

Since I'd already said yes, I couldn't back out of either job without damaging a work relationship, and both of these guys throw me a lot of work.

The plan was to have a 5 am call time at "The Lot" (formerly Warner Hollywood), and ride up to Mohave in a stakebed, then get the cable up and get the hell out of there before the temperature got over 100 degrees F.

It took us two hours to drive up to Mohave - we got there about 7 am, and it was already 80 degrees. We wrapped some stuff out of the main hangar, and then went to pull up the cable runs. The cable was run down the side of an active runway and on both sides of the taxiway to the runway. We spent most of the morning in the field between the runway and the taxiway. Thank god Mohave's not a busy airport), so we had to have security with us.
The security guys were really, really nice guys - they had great senses of humor and we had a great time with them.

The movie takes place somewhere where it snows, because there was fake snow (it's made of shredded paper, in case you were wondering) on the runways - hilarious in the baking heat.

Mohave Airport

It took us a while to get the cable pulled up because everytime a plane took off or landed the security guys had to clear us back 500 feet. As we were finishing, it got so hot that the sweat was evaporating before I could feel it on my skin.

We ended up closing the truck doors just as the temperature broke 100.

We got back to the lot about 3. Since my call time was 6 at the same lot, and I didn't want to fight traffic, I'd decided to go have dinner (and more coffee) in the interim. I was so sleepy that I ended up taking a 90 minute nap in the back of my car and then going to eat. I had some pasta (that low carb thing can bite me, and no, I'm not fat) and more coffee and then reported to job number 2.

Job number two was uneventful - just wrapping sets, although I crashed hard right after craft service took the coffee away. That and the perms here have never, ever been vacuumed, so there's a real good layer of slippery dust up there. Every time I have to go 'up high' I'm afraid I'm going to slip on all that dust and fall.

Dusty Perms

Got home a little bit after midnight.. Since I'd had to get up to go to work at 3:30, that makes almost a 21 hour day.

It's Tuesday morning, and I'm still wiped out.


Martingale Jones said...

I'm clearly not in the 'industry' as evidenced by my next question.......I just saw a trailer for Flight Plan in the theater so how close to the release date can they shoot? I guess I would've naively thought time had run out.

Peggy Archer said...

They can cut it mighty close.

There's a joke among special effects people about "blow drying the prints as they go into the projector at the premiere", but it is sometimes just about that close.

Depending on turnaround time at the lab, I've heard of reshoots as close to a week before the premiere date.

"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" was doing reshoots less than a month before the release date.

Anonymous said...

I've gone to press screenings a week before the theatrical release of some movies that my husband and a host of others were still dubbing (sound effects, dialogue and music final mix). Typically the studio reps would explain that the movie is not yet finished and they still have to do colour timing etc before the final prints are made and sent all over the country.