Friday, December 16, 2005

Attack of the Teenagers

For the rest of the show, we're going to be shooting in a high school in the San Fernando Valley. Although the school goes on Christmas break next week, for the next two days it's full of students.

I've managed to spend most of my adult life avoiding teenagers. Even the 'teenage' extras in our movie are actually in their 20's due to restrictions about working minors long hours.

These actual teenagers would stick their heads into the room that we had our equipment or into the set (us, grip, camera, sound, wardrobe, beauty* and video village** all in a medium sized classroom) and demanding to be put in the movie, be given something off the craft service table or to meet one of the actors:

Teenager 1: "Ohmygod, I HAVE to be in your movie. Put me in your movie!"

Teenager 2: "That actor is so superhot - you have to put me in the movie now! Ohmygod!"

Teenager 3: "Give me some of that food! What do you mean you don't have enough?"

Teenager 4: "Ohmygod, that actor is so totally superhot! Ohmygod - what's he like?"

Teenager 5: "Hey, put me in the movie! Hey! HEY!! Why are you ignoring me?"

Me: "Look, I'm just an electrician. The biggest favor I can do for you is to tape down all my cables so that you don't trip and fall on your ass in front of that so totally superhot actor (who, for the record, is cute in that non-threatening boy kind of way, but I'd hesitate to call him 'superhot'. Maybe I'm just old)."

Teenager 5: "Ohmygod! I so totally need to be whatever you are so I can get put in the movie."

Me: "Fine, call me when you get your union card and I'll give your number to my boss."

Teenager 5: "BITCH!!!"

If I'd ever wanted kids, today would have killed that desire. Like totally. At least they were all gone by about 4 pm.

Today was only 12 hours, due to the producer cracking the whip, and we finished everything on the call sheet, which is a good thing - no added work tomorrow.

*Beauty, sometimes called "Primp and Crimp" is the hair and makeup departments.

**Video Village is the monitor where the director, producers et al. sit and watch what's being shot. It's always in our way.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ten Hour Turnaround!

Call time: 9 am

Wrap time: 11:45 pm

We left at 12:30 am

Call time tommorow (in the west San Fernando Valley - about 35 miles from my house): 10:30 am.

I really feel bad for the grips. They're still there, trying to wrap out of the stage. We left everything for our rigging crew. They'll pick it up tomorrow and sent it out to the Valley in a stakebed truck.

I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That went suprisingly well

Moving from one stage to another always takes time. We loaded up all our stuff the night before, but still there's transit time from one place to another - and everyone's trying to hurry to get the good place to put their equipment. Generally, camera goes closest to the set, and grip and electric are in a rush to claim whatever good space is left. Some crews are ruthless about getting in there and claiming the good real estate, but this stage is so packed full of stuff that there's really no good place - no matter where we put our stuff, we're running an obstacle course to get to the set, but at least we didn't have to keep moving our carts all day.

The major fuck up of the morning was the guy with the lighting balloons got sent to the wrong stage and had to break down and then set up again, which took some time, but since today was our first day with a really big blue screen ( I mean really big. This one is 30' by about 100 '. The big hanging screens have to be set up properly - they can't have any wrinkles and this takes some time and effort on the part of the grips), there was enough going on that it didn't matter. I think we ended up starting a half hour behind schedule, which isn't bad for a huge move from one stage to another with a really small crew who weren't given a pre-call*.

Once we got set up, two of the guys who didn't want to be on set with the raging cold went back and wrapped up the other stage, although the rental company's not coming to pick the stuff up until tomorrow (Wednesday).

Everything went pretty smoothly, which I'm very happy about - the last thing I wanted to do was have to call my boss and say "Hey, there's been a huge catastrophe on the day that you left me in charge!"

Speaking of my boss, he's feeling better (that weird Chinese shit he's been taking must have worked), and will be back tomorrow.

* A pre-call is when the crew comes in early in order to get set up on time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Mysterious Stage Syndrome

There's a phenomenon that occurs when a director who's used to shooting on location gets on a stage for the first time - they slow down. However fast they were working, they'll work at about half that speed once that stage door closes.

I think it's the static lighting. On a stage, you can't see the sun moving across the sky, so it's impossible to tell how much time has passed; meaning it's very easy to slip into thinking you have much more time than you actually do.

This director, who's the nicest guy in the world but isn't very fast even on location, has slowed to damn near a full stop since we've been on stage.

Scenes are being cut and added to the next day's work in an effort to keep the hours down, which just means that we'll have a super long day on the last stage day (Wednesday). We had a second unit today just to help us catch up, as we're moving to another stage first thing in the morning.

Inertia is frustrating. When you sit and do nothing, it makes the day seem longer - although after all these night exteriors, I'm happy for the opportunity to sit and read the paper.

The cold from hell is still raging around set (when you work 14 hour days your immune system doesn't work well). My boss got it today, so he's staying home tomorrow (in a much appreciated effort not to get the rest of us sick), which means that I'm the best boy until he gets back.

For the humble re-rate of $1.00 per hour, I get to return stacks of equipment from two different rental packages, wade through piles of paperwork, and fill out timecards instead of sitting on my ass, staring slack-jawed at a spot on the wall while we do 17 takes of every angle.

Hey, it'll make the day go faster.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My big half weekend

There's been a cold/flu going around the set, and in an effort not to get sick, I've been swallowing fistfuls of supplements all day every day. While this has succeeded in that I haven't gotten sick, I did go out for drinks after work Friday night, and I got thrown for the proverbial loop by two martinis - lucky I wasn't driving.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me that taking that stuff makes you more sensitive to alcohol. I just wish I'd been smart enough to figure it out beforehand.

After being incapacitated all day yesterday, I'm now left with half a weekend. I have to finish my shopping, ship all of my gifts (which I was going to do yesterday and now won't get to do until next weekend which means I'll have to pay extra for express shipping), do my laundry, get the car serviced, and try to clean the house.

Guess which one of these I'm going to let slide. That's right - the house. I'll just have to live like a pig for another week (although I'm not home more than a few hours at a stretch anyways).

I also have no food, and that's not an exaggeration. There is absolutely nothing edible in my house - I used the last of the coffee this morning, and although I'm tempted to dig into my earthquake supplies, I'm not going to do it.

I'm going to go to the Hollywood Farmer's Market and get a tamale from Corn Maiden. I'm not going to buy more food as it's just going to rot in the fridge - this movie's going another two weeks.