Saturday, August 27, 2005

Breaking up is(n't) hard to do.

Mr. Movie Star and I officially called it quits today.

I gave up part of my weekend to help with a rig (an 'eight and skate' hardly feels like a day of work at all anymore), and happened to be on the same lot lot as the movie he's doing, so I swung by to see him, since we've not actually been in the same room at the same time in weeks.

As breakups go, this one was pretty painless. I'd seen it coming for a while now.. the phone calls have been petering off, the coversations getting shorter - out of sight, out of mind.

He says he's not dating anyone else, but just feels like neither one of us have the time to be dating anyone.

This is just what happens, and no, I'm not angry at him. I'm kind of bummed - but not angry.

This is par for the course in the film industry, with it's 12+ hour days and routine 6 day weeks.

Those hours ruin a lot of relationships. Crew members who haven't been divorced at least once are rare, and multiple divorces are common - and that's marriages. I sort of feel like trying to date at all is hopeless, due to the entertainment industry catch-22: if you date someone who's not in the film industry (a 'civilian'), they freak out about the hours and dump you, and if you date someone who is in the industry, you split up because you never see each other.

Okay, I lied. I'm sad and pissed off.

The fact is that I really liked Mr. Movie Star, and had hoped that this would last for a long time.. Now I'm back to being afraid of dying alone because my fucking job eats my life.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back at Fox.

Since Grey's didn't need an extra guy today, I was back on Bones for a second unit shoot.

The horror stories about that show have been spreading - All the boys on Grey's want to know who the new gaffer is, who among the crew's going to stay, etc.. One day back I'm happy to say that I'm able to provide the gossip.

In addition to the electric department jumping* to Fast and Furious 3, the sound department has quit, one of the AD's has quit and half the grips have quit.

One of the other AD's came up to me today and furtively asked me if I'd pass his resume over to Grey's.

The dimmer board operator told me that last week they had 3 9-page days in a row**. That's got to have something to do with people leaving. It's busy right now and it's really easy to jump. Were it slow, people would probably be sucking it up - but I don't know for sure. At some point, taking unemployment starts to sound better than months and months of 80+ hour weeks.

Another rumor going around is that the entire crew of House quit (for very similar reasons, I'm sure), but I couldn't find out for sure as we were busy today and I couldn't get away to go and look on their stage.

Today's second unit stuff was the new gaffer's first day (the old gaffer's last day is tomorrow), which was a good thing - second unit's always more mellow, and it gave him a nice quiet day to learn the set and to figure out how long it's going to take for the juicers to move things.***

We still got peeled, though. We only had four people to work that gigantic set. Luckily the new gaffer's very nice and patient - my one complaint is that he doesn't use his walkie, and his voice is the exact same pitch and tone of the general hubbub of a working set, so it's damn near impossible to hear him.

Not my problem, though. I'm back on Grey's Anatomy tomorrow.

* Quitting one show before it ends to go onto another show is called 'jumping'.

**Movies shoot about 3 pages a day, TV shows shoot from 5 to 7 pages a day; a page being about a minute of screen time (with notable exceptions such as the infamous "Atlanta Burns" from Gone with the wind. 1/8th of a page, WAY more than that on the screen). A 9 page day is just sadistic, and more than one day in a row of 9 page days is so far beyond horrible that I don't think a word's been invented to describe it accurately.

***While this sounds trivial, it's really, really important for a gaffer to know that it takes 15 minutes to set up a BFL on the catwalk, or that in order to move a 10K on a rolling stand across the room, we have to have furniture moved - which entails getting the set dressers, who usually hide and have to be tracked down. This way, when he's on first unit - which is WAY more pressure, he'll be less likely to start screaming into the walkie that things are taking way too fucking long.

Someone I don't miss at all.

Prospect Studios must have had too many complaints about "The Evil Guard".

Back in the days of The Shield (several seasons ago), which shot at Prospect, this one particular entry-gate guard was always nasty, sour, angry, and seemed to look for ways to delay people at the gate. I remember having to get to the lot at least 20 minutes early every day because of this woman. One day, when I forgot my I.D. card at home, she kept me at the gate for over 30 minutes while she tried to "find a call in pass because how do I know you really work on this lot" (this after seeing my face every day for weeks), while shooting me dirty looks and every once in a while muttering something derogatory about people who forgot their cards and messed up her day. Then, as I finally drove past (muttering something about being late to work), snarled "That's what you get!" at me.

If she's still at Prospect, she's not working the east gate anymore.

The entry-gate guards these days are sugary sweet to the point that I'm afraid I'm going to fall into a sugar coma just by talking to them.

I don't have a Prospect Studios I.D. anymore (it's long since expired, and it's not for Grey's Anatomy, so it wouldn't do me any good even if it were still current), so the younger guard (it's always the same two) comes out to the car and says "Good Morning", then takes my drivers license with a heartfelt "Thank you"; while the older guard - who stays in the shack and smiles - prints out my vehicle pass and personal pass.

The happy younger guard then hands me my personal pass and drivers license, sticks the vehicle pass to the inside of my windshield, and warbles a "Have a great day, ma'am!" as the gate lifts and I drive into the parking lot.

It's certainly a nice change.

I don't miss her at all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tuesday at the VA

The real gaffer was back today - he's been out on 'personal business'.

One of the other juicers who was also out on 'personal business' who's back today is an old friend from a TV show called "The Division" that we both worked on years ago. He's a scream, and I was glad to see him again - plus I got tons of good gossip on the old gang.

We were shooting at the V.A. hospital in Northridge - it's pretty new since that whole area got flattened by the earthquake in '94. We were shooting in the atrium, so the sun shone down through the three story glass windows and heated up the set like a microwave (well, it is Northridge, and it is August).

This show's craft service guy puts out the same type of snack tray every day - it's crackers, cheese (which I can't eat), deli meats, dips, and - my personal weakness - hearts of palm. I LOVE hearts of palm and it takes every ounce of self-discipline I have to only take a couple of them. I really want to eat them all, and the damned deli tray only has about six of them (a light snack for me. I've been known to eat two cans of the damn things in one sitting), so taking three is massively uncool. One of the other juicers likes them too, so maybe I'll just bring my own tomorrow so we can both pig out.

Who am I kidding - I'd eat the whole can in front of him and giggle.

Call time: 8:42 (?) am
Wrap time: 11:45 pm

Monday, August 22, 2005

Watch out for the bee in my bonnet.

Although I do try to keep the politics out of the blog, this one I can't let go.

As a union member, let me just say that power wise, strikes are all we have - the point of joining a union is that you have the power of the masses behind you, and the group speaks louder than an individual.

United we stand, divided we get it in the ass with no lube.

What's happened to us? Union members didn't used to be afraid. We stood together - even when some of us got killed, because we knew that we had to.

Yeah, yeah, I know...corruption, organized crime, etc...

I still truly, deeply, with all my heart and soul believe in the labor movement.

If you cross a picket line, or accept contract work from a company who's being picketed by a union - I hope you get a full-body skin rash that itches like hell and doesn't respond to any medical treatment.

No, I'm not crazy. I'm laughing at a conversation you can't hear.

Today, just after lunch, I almost spewed an entire cup of coffee all over one of the medical consultants, who couldn't figure out why I was laughing like a maniac at nothing, but was, in fact, the following conversation - misunderstanding courtesy of the headsets we all wear:

Juicer #1: "Just so everyone knows, there are a bunch of FEV's* in the set cart's top drawer if you want them."

Gaffer: "What if I want something different and exciting?"

Juicer #1: "Well, if you're looking for a good time, call [gives the production office phone number]"

Gaffer: "Don't you ever give out my mother's number over the walkie again."

Juicer #2: "That was your mother? [pause] Damn."

*FEV's are a type of globe for a light. We blew one, didn't have any in the set cart and had to run to the truck while the entire company sat and waited on us. Very bad.