Saturday, August 06, 2005

"The Aristocrats"

Since I felt better late this afternoon, I decided to go to the 8 pm screening of The Aristocrats at the Arclight, mainly because afterwards there was a question and answer with Larry Miller, one of the comedians in the film. Larry Miller gives really good Q & A - he basically turned it into 20 minutes of improv comedy, even if he refused to actually tell the joke live - something about not wanting to tell a version that just wasn't dirty enough to follow the movie (which was spectacularly filthy).

I won't break the 'code of silence' and give away the joke, but if you're not easily offended (this is key - the joke, when told well, is funny as shit, but offensive beyond belief), go see it! It's hilarious and everyone in it is great (my one complaint is some of the camera work - they shot two angles and kept switching back and forth to make it more interesting. These people do NOT need to be made more interesting), but...

There's one person in the movie who was such a standout that I don't understand why reviewers haven't mentioned him more often.

The mime.

The mime stole the show - so much more than I can say without veering into spoiler country.

Go see the movie.

Oh, and I now have a girly crush on Bob Saget, because his version was so awesome.

Very Angry Tummy

One of the advantages of having a really acidic stomach is that I don't tend to get food poisoning easily, but every now and then some sort of food comes along which is so bacteria heavy (or something) that it defeats even my normally iron tummy.

Last night, second meal was Tito's Tacos, which everyone raves about, but which have left me nauseous (even almost 12 hours later) and really wishing I could just throw it up.

I had such big plans for today, too. Laundry, beach, gym, general fabulousness... now I'm sitting at home in my underwear carrying the bathroom trash can around with me because the view from in front of the toilet got really boring.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Dem Bones, dem Bones.

I had an 11 am call (on the tv show "Bones"), with the idea that I'd get there in time to help first unit with a stage move. Since they worked so late the night before, crew call got moved to 10:30 (it was originally 8), and our union has a rule that you can't change a call after a certain time of the day, so since they couldn't change my call and they didn't need me for the first half of the day, I spent the morning on the rigging crew.

Rigging and working first unit are two entirely different mindsets, so going from one to the other (also known as a 'rig/operate' day) is kind of a mindfuck. The riggers on this show have been working 14 hour days, 6 days a week - in two shifts. This is unheard of for a tv show ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith" had two shifts of riggers working 12 hour days, and we all thought that was insane) - most rig days are 8-10 hours and a 5 day week. The riggers (whom I've worked with at Paramount) all have that 'thousand yard stare' because they're so tired. .

The sets for this TV show are HUGE. Someone said (and I believe them) that they're the biggest sets ever for a TV show. On Fox's Stage 6, the set is built out to the firelane on all four sides and all the way up to the perms. I'll have to try to dig up the dimensions of the stage somewhere (Fox doesn't post them on the stage wall like everyone else does. If anyone has the dimensions of stage 6 - length, width, height to perms - I'd love to know).

Most of the sets are steel, too - sets are never, ever steel. Steel is expensive. Steel requires paying higher construction costs, because you have to pay a welder a bazillion dollars an hour to cut and weld instead of just staples and nails on plywood. This set alone (there are two others) had to cost about two million bucks just for the materials (I think it's an insane gamble, spending this much money on the set for a TV show that hasn't even aired yet).

Unfortunately, one of the things they forgot to put in the super expensive set was 'wild walls'. Wild walls are walls that come out, or swing open so the set's easier to light, shoot and generally get in and out of. I think there are four wild walls, and they're all in the smaller sets that are off to the sides of the main set. It's a bitch trying to get in and out of that big set - you have to walk around to one of the four access points (one in each wall - in a set that's well over 100 feet long and 90 feet wide). During my rigging half of the day, I was placing lights in a sort of overhang filled with silk bamboo plants (nicknamed 'Vietnam' because you had to walk hunched over through the stand of bamboo), and every time I forgot something, I'd have to go across the catwalk, down the zigzaggy stairs (with freshly painted handrails so nothing to hold onto), across the set, out the door, and back across the stage to where our stuff was - about 20 feet away had there been a direct path.

After lunch (warmed over commissary food - yum. Actually, I shouldn't say that. Since we had lunch after the commissary officially closed, they probably cooked us something new), I 'fell in' with first unit on the big set - they're a nice bunch of guys, and the gaffer's a good guy. The only complaint I have is that he doesn't use his walkie talkie. He'll turn it on, say something to you, and then turn it off again. This sucks if you have a question. You have to get one of the other guys on the radio and have them ask the gaffer the question, and then he turns his walkie on, answers the question, and turns the walkie back off again. Very, very annoying.

Call time: 11 am (mine - general crew call was 10:30)
Wrap time: 1 am

I'm back today - on a 12:30 call, which means I'll get home around 3 am if they work a 14 hour day. I didn't have to sign a 'no photo' clause, so I can bring the camera today and take some photos.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Damn Insomnia

I got called last night to work on a TV show ("Bones"). They have an 11 am call today (which means they've been working really long hours and are pushing the call later every day in order to make turnaround), which also means I can't go to the LAist party, which is tonight, and which will be long over by the time I get off work. Damn.

Of course, as soon as I decided it was bed time, I lay there, wide awake, staring at the ceiling.

Because I can't take sleep aids - Tylenol PM and Nyquil make me hyper, and the stronger ones will knock me out for 15 hours and I'll be groggy for the entire next day - pretty much all I can do when this happens is lay there and hope I'll be able to sleep.

At some point I gave up and turned on the TV, but even Jay Leno reruns didn't bore me enough to knock me out.

This starts a really vicious cycle. I drink coffee all day to stay awake because I'm tired, and then when I get home, I'm too amped up to sleep. There's an art to timing that last cup of coffee so I can stay awake until wrap (which I'm betting will be 1 am at the earliest, but we'll see) but still be able to get some rest when I get home.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sold! Maybe.

We just got offered a co-production deal for the TV show.

This is not quite what I wanted, but it's better than a buy-out (which is for chumps - it's a one time fee, and I'd have to sign over my intellectual property rights. Screw that).

What I really wanted was to produce the show ourselves - which would give me a bigger slice of the pie. I have to assume that the show will either never get on the air or will be a mid-season replacement that will air four episodes and then die an unmourned death (call me a pessimist if you like), so I'm trying to get the biggest slice of pie I can. If I produce it myself, then I get more cash. On the other hand, with a co-production deal, I don't get as much, but if the show tanks, I have someone besides myself to blame.

Now begins a phase of legal wrangling in which our hold fee (deposited into an escrow account, of course. No new car for me*) stops us from pitching the show anywhere else - except that we haven't signed anything yet, and since NBC's desperate, I'm going to slip them a copy of a different show using some of the same footage..

I'm greedy and evil, but surprisingly, it's not bothering me.

* When Nigel died, a friend of mine sold me her Explorer for what the scrapyard paid me. I hate Fords, and this one's not changing my mind. Priority one right now is saving enough to get another car.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bad, bad me.

I should be ashamed of myself. Really, I should.

I missed most of yesterday's Defamer link fun due to a migrane, but the email floodgates opened up while I was 'resting', and here are excerpts from a few of the choice ones (all of them have had the more glaring spelling and grammar errors corrected - cause I'm nice like that):

You should be ashamed of yourself. Just because someone has money doesn't make them bad. You're mean. (Incorrect guess at Mr. Movie Star's identity deleted) should dump you.

The above is not an excerpt. That's the entire email.

How could you publish a innocent man's address on the internet? What about his right to be left alone? What about his rights to live his life in peace and not be bothered all the time and have his private life splashed all over the internet? That's slander, and he should sue you.

#1. Slander is spoken, libel is written, but neither apply here. Here's an explanation.
#2. For fuck's sake, I'm not going through his trash. I'm just going to the beach.

I'm sure David Geffen's a nice, nice man and doesn't deserve to be made fun of by commie liberals like you. You just want everyone to be a ghetto living (racial slur aimed at an ethnic group of which I'm not a member deleted) like you.

Wow.. This is the second time in three days that I've been called a 'commie'. Pretty good for a blog with no political content, huh?

I don't know David Geffen either, but just speaking in general terms, one does not become the head of a media empire by being a nice, nice man. Again, that's just a generalization on my part.

I never insulted anyone, nor did I post anything with malicious intent. I simply went to a beach - a beach where the law of the state in which I live gives me the right to access.

Bite me if you don't like it.

I'll see the rest of you at the beach.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hangin' with "Biggie D"

This is David Geffen's house.

David Geffen's House

This is the coastal access way next door to David Geffen's house.

Beach Access

David Geffen fought the California Coastal Commission for a long, long time (and spent lots of money) because he didn't want to allow the unwashed masses like you and me access to the beach - an area that, according to California state law, can't be walled off from the populace.

The California Coastal Commission stood up to Geffen's army of immaculately dressed corporate drones and won.

So - I'm pleased to announce that the court mandated coastal access is now open, next door to David Geffen's 'estate' at 22132 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu (also known as Carbon Beach).

I didn't bring my camera onto Carbon Beach itself (salt water + sand + electronics = bad), but I can assure you that it's gorgeous, and well worth the litigation. It's a natural small bay so the waves aren't to crazy if you want to swim, the water is crystal clear and not nearly as cold as Zuma (the other white beach), and there's a conspicuous absence of the floating trash that's become a part of the Santa Monica Bay experience. As I was being given the bum's rush at closing time, dolphins cavorted just beyond the breakers, backlit by LA's amazing golden late-afternoon sunlight.

Heaven. Pure heaven. I highly recommend the lot of us descend upon our court mandated community accessible beach. It's open from 9 am until 6 pm SEVEN days a week.

If you're not familiar with the area, may I suggest Mapquest.

Once again, that's 22132 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California. It's north (by quite a ways) of Topanga Canyon Blvd and south of Pepperdine University. article about this particular battle in the coastal access war