Saturday, May 07, 2005

Look up "Cluster Fuck" in the dictionary..

And there should be a photo of Friday night.

Some genius scheduled a night exterior in Hollywood on a Friday night.

Hollywood Blvd near all the nightclubs - complete with loud motorcycles, honking horns (for some reason, people see a movie set and they start honking their car horns like crazy. I still can't figure out why). Add that to the screaming and yelling because we had blocked traffic lanes, and you have quite the din. I can only imagine the sound guy's unhappiness at trying to record dialog in that. He probably went through a whole bottle of antacids.

There was massive confusion about the crew parking - I couldn't figure out where crew parking was, and there were no signs (there are usually signs). There were also THREE different companies shooting within a mile of each other, so I had to make sure I was in the parking for the correct movie. I got into an argument with the parking lot attendant (he claimed to not know there was a crew parking there - even though I recognized the cars of folks I knew, and tried to charge me 15 bucks), and had to phone my boss to sort it out.

Since I had to take a shuttle from the parking to the set, I was late to work. Late to work means no dinner. Damn.

This is a movie ("Material Girls") starring a bunch of Duffs - there's about 12 Duffs involved, and according to the guys, the Duffs are really, really sweet, fun to work with and very nice to the crew.

On every movie set, they have craft service -it's basically a food table that's set out to circumvent osha's meal break laws (if we had to give the crew a break as often as osha mandates, we'd never get any work done - so they have a sort of nosh table available for the crew). The craft service guy on this movie is a man that I worked with years ago - who was notorious for having an unbelievably dirty truck - the medic used to warn folks not to eat the food unless it was sealed. He has a new truck that looks much cleaner now, but I was still afraid to eat anything he might have touched.

I ended up going up after all - the chassis of the nightsun was in a traffic lane, so they put up cones and stationed an off duty cop at the base to protect me from the drunks.. the good thing is I wasn't 'full stick' (as far up in the air as the basket will go), so I was only about five floors up (a survivable fall should a drunk hit the chassis. Yes, this has happened. Not to me, but I've seen cars hit lifts before. It doesn't knock the lift over, but the shock to the base swings the arm really, really hard. Whatever's not tied down will come out of the basket.) - the bad news is that I wasn't full stick so all the engine revving, drunken revelry and occasional profanity (shouted from the window of a moving car, I'm certain) kept me from getting any sleep.

Over the walkie, my boss kept a running commentary of the fights that were breaking out (as the clubs let out) right outside the truck.. it got crazy at 2 am - the streets were full of people walking. It looked like New York for a few minutes.

Oh, and two people got popped for DUI right behind the truck as well.

call time 5 pm
wrap 4:30 am

Went straight from work to Mr. Movie Star's house, where I passed out on the couch for most of the morning (I'm so glad I managed to talk him out of coming by the set.. the teenybopper extras would have torn him limb from limb).

He pouted about my 'ignoring him', despite my efforts to explain my not being able to sleep last night. It would have been cute if I weren't so tired.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Damned daytime insomnia.

My attempt to take a nap failed (I'm really sleepy until I lie down, and then I'm wide awake), so I'm just going to have to suck it up.

Call time is 5 pm (4:30 for dinner), and I'll probably not get out of there until 7 or 8 am tomorrow, which will make it over 24 hours for me (I woke up this morning at 7). It's not too bad until about 4 am, and then I hit the wall - I can't drink any more coffee at 4, or I'll be up all day Saturday as well, so those last 3 or 4 hours are the hardest.

The shoot tonight is close to my house, but I have to drive because I have too much crap to haul on foot. It might rain (chance of showers), so I have to bring the rain gear, and if I do go up in the nightsun, I have to bring all my crap for that.

I look like I'm bringing my whole house to work:

  • Rain Jacket (two of them - Gore Tex is only waterproof for 6 hours)
  • Rain pants (ditto)
  • Waterproof shoes (wet feet are the most horrible thing in the world)
  • Spare socks
  • Sleeping bag (whatever the temperature on the ground is - it's 15 degrees colder 80 feet up in the air)
  • Sleeping bag pad. The grips will put furniture pads in the basket, but I don't even want to think about where those things have been.
  • Since it might rain, I have to bring a waterproof cover for my sleeping bag. The grips can waterproof the basket, but this generally entails wrapping the basket (of the work platform) in heavy plastic, which acts like a sail - the basket sways and jerks in the wind anyway, but it's a hundred times worse when it's wrapped in plastic. I don't like that, so I bring a sleeping bag cover.
  • Pitcher with lid (The guys can pee in a bottle, but I can't. You didn't think they'd let me come down to go to the bathroom, did you?) and t.p.
  • Trash bag
  • Haul bag (this is climbing gear - it's used to haul stuff up on a line. I use it for the same thing - If they have to send something up to me - parts for repairs, water, dinner, etc... I'll just drop the bag down. Watching some guy try to tie a line onto a dinner plate is hilarious, but it generally doesn't have good results. No one likes getting hit by chicken cordon bleu and a side of rice pilaf that's been dropped from 70 feet up).
  • Something to read. I used to bring a laptop, but one night the wind gave the arm a really good jerk, and the laptop flew off my lap, out of the basket, hit the producer's car and shattered - both the computer and the front windshield of a really expensive Benz. Ooops.
This is in addition to my normal bag:

  • Toolbelt
  • Loose tools that are too big to go on my belt, but which I still need.
  • Spare shoes (I have to change shoes at lunch or my feet kill me)
  • Hat (it's cold at night)
  • Jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Spare socks (I change those at lunch too - works wonders if you get sore feet)
  • Heavier jeans (aforementioned cold)
  • Tampons (yup, it's that time of month)
  • Glasses (my normal ones and spares)
  • Headset for my walkie talkie
  • Newspaper
Most of the first list will stay in the car if I don't have to go up.

Works every time!

As soon as I file for unemployment, I'll get called for work - usually within 24 hours.

Yesterday, it was eight hours between the time I filed and the time I got the call to work.

Sweet. The only downside is that it's a night shoot (5 pm call), so I'll be up all night, and I am SO not a night person.

Hopefully, I'll get to go up in the Nitesun so I can sleep.

I don't know what show it is yet. I'll know when I walk onto the truck and fill out the start paperwork.

Mr. Movie Star is threatening to come by the set and 'say hello'. I'm doing my best to discourage this - the last time I went out with an actor (this was years ago and the guy was a nobody), it took months for the boys to stop teasing me about it. If Mr. Movie Star waltzes onto a set and starts pawing at me, I'm never, ever going to hear the end of it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I think this is some sort of milestone.

I actually got Mr. Movie Star to agree to come over to my house (I don't feel like making the trek out to the coast, and quite frankly, it's about time the bastard came over my way).

Mr. Movie Star is one of those tragic folks who won't come east of LaCienega* unless it's 'on a call sheet', and I live in the dreaded 'points east', so this is huge.

Long Story Short:

After getting yelled at by my accountant for an hour or so about my 'spending patterns' (the man who owns the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is a saint, and I'm putting his children through college), said accountant sent me home to go through my credit card statements in an effort to find more legit deductions and reflect upon the sins I've committed at Barney's.

In the midst of this, Mr. Movie Star called - asking if I wanted to come over tonight (the sex has gotten much better - he admitted to being 'nervous the first time with someone' and he does take direction well), so I told him he'd have to make the trek here as I was buried in paperwork.

I was really expecting him to refuse, but he said he'd come over, meaning that I still had to stop what I was doing, plus I had to clean the house so he wouldn't think I live in complete and utter squalor.

It's all good - he's going to bring dinner and some movies, and I've been promised some fun sympathy for getting yelled at by a satanic CPA and getting wrung out by the IRS - although I seriously doubt that Mr. Movie Star has even balanced his own checkbook in a long, long time.

*For my non Los Angeles readers, La Cienega Blvd is a major north/south street, and it's the unofficial dividing line between the glorious and beautiful "westside" (where the 'beautiful people' live) and the unwashed masses in Hollywood and 'points east'.

Photo page is up!

I got the photo page on Flicker working - here's the url:

There's only a few photos right now (I'm on my way to do my taxes), but I'll add more!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Yup, it's slow...

When it's busy, I don't have to expend any energy to find work - all I have to do is call the union hall, and they'll send me out..

Now, with there being less work around, I'm forced to actively look for work. Normally this means a phone call to someone I think may be hiring - in which I try to sound not desperate.

Everyone's telling me that they're off now, but that they "have something coming up", so we'll see.

It's starting to get hot, too, and I hate working in the summer - everything takes much more effort when it's 90 degrees out, and for some reason, Murphy's Law kicks in and all the work is in the hottest places around (the desert, large parking lots, unairconditioned warehouses, etc...).