Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Photo

Today, we were wrapping out the house that first unit have been shooting in for two days, and the very nice homeowner let me pick some of the figs from the tree in her backyard.

I love figs, and I'm not the only one:


These fellows do, too.

Anyone know what the green beetles are? I've never seen one before, and know nothing about them other than they were chowing down on the biggest, yummiest looking fig on the whole tree.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's all about the inventory

Returning a stage package isn't psychically difficult, inventory (which was today's big job) just requires more concentration than I like to muster up when I'm at work and the coffeepot's all the way on the other side of the lot.

Each stage has it's own equipment, which may seem excessive, but this is way easier than hauling the shit around from stage to stage. In addition, each lamp has stuff that goes with it (for tungsten lamps, that's scrims. Other types of lamps have more accessories), which also must be counted.

We're returning this stage's equipment because production think they're going to save money by getting equipment drop loaded (brought to the stage each time it's needed) each time we use the stage instead of having it sit there all the time. I don't know what kind of deal they're getting from the lamp dock (normally, you don't pay a five day week on an equipment order - they usually give you a three day week, but if you really have the rental house over a barrel, they'll give you a one and a half day week. This means you pay one and a half day's rental for a week) or how often they plan to use this stage - it may not be cheaper to have the stuff dropped off, due to labor costs to unload a truck and do an inventory before we can start work, and then do another inventory after we tear the rig out.

Each lamp is barcoded and assigned to an equipment package. If the barcode on the lamp doesn't match the paperwork, we have to climb into the rig to find it so the lot best boy can put it on the correct paperwork. This may seem overly anal, but trust me - it's better this way. Waiting until the end of the show will result in a big, evil nightmare.

We did have some entertainment today - right across from where we were working was "America's Got Talent". All the "talent" were strolling up and down the street in front of our stage, rehearsing or giving interviews. Right before we went on our morning break, there was a guy in an orange mechanic's suit with bicycle horns strapped all over his body playing the "Star Spangled Banner". We thought it was funny, but the AD's are going to throw a fit if that shit starts tomorrow while they're rolling sound.

Couch of the Day:


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Guard Gate Hassle Wednesday!

Of course, not only did my old Paramount ID not work but my name hasn't been in the computer at all - each morning, I've pushed my bicycle up to the gate, given the guard my name and had him tell me I've not been issued a pass. My boss has been calling his crew list into the production office every night, they just don't seem to think that riggers are important enough to call our names into the security office.

Each day, I've sat there at the gate, called my boss on his cell phone and had him exchange angry words with said security office (our call times have been way earlier than the production office staff come in, so we've not been able to call them).

Needless to say, this has made me late every single day. No matter how much extra time I allow, it all seems to get eaten up at the guard shack, where an increasingly frustrated guard has tried to do everything he can to help me. I need to bake him some cookies or something.

Today, my boss finally snapped and got me paperwork for a new pass (he wasn't going to get me one, as he's only allowed to issue badges to so many crew members and the rigging crew's not going to be on this show full-time, but this whole debacle has really been annoying him), so when we went for our morning coffee break I stopped in at the operations office and got my new badge.

I don't know why, but everyone looks bad on their Paramount IDs. I usually take a decent photo, and even I look like a fucking convict.

I think it's the lighting.

At least I won't have the hassle at the gate tomorrow.

Today, the company was on location (a half mile or so from the studio), so we ended up cleaning up after first unit (they get busy lighting and don't make everything neat, which is fine - it's keeping me working) and getting the stages ready for when they come back on the lot.

Tomorrow, we're working on stage 12, which, it turns out, used to be called stage 13 - the old DC cans are still labeled 13 although the stage is now numbered 12. The other day, when one of the fluorescent fixtures we were powering up caught fire (flames and everything - exciting!), it was jokingly blamed on the stage's being unlucky.

I wanted to go into the perms to check for good graffiti, but there's no backboard on the ladder* and it freaked me out.

*Most stages with permanents have had stairways installed, but on the smaller stages where there's no room they left the old ladders, but installed backboards (it's like a big tube around the ladder) so if you fall backwards, you'll just lean into the backboard and not fall 40 feet down to the deck.
For some reason, quite a few of the older stages at Paramount have not had backboards installed - including Stage 7: the tall stage (four stories or so up to the perms, and no backboard on the ladder - yikes!)

Couch of the Day:


Monday, August 14, 2006

Happy Monday!

Our crew spent today loading first unit's truck (they're on set, someone has to do it) - although this show's shot mostly on a stage, they do go out on occasion and when they do they have to have a truck.

Our boss managed to browbeat production into giving us a 40 foot trailer - he told us that they'd wanted to give us a 10 ton, but our lighting and cable package would not have fit into such a small truck (a 10 ton is about the size of a large moving van, and a 40 foot trailer is the back portion of those 18 wheelers you see on the highway. While such a big truck might seem excessive, we really do have to be able to keep the equipment readily accessible so we can work - this means the stuff can't be jammed in too tightly, because then we'd never find anything quickly, and no one -absolutely no one- wants to be scrabbling through the truck trying to find a piece of equipment that's been buried while the gaffer's screaming "Hurry up, you fucker!" into the walkie).

It took us all day to load the truck, as we were waiting on first unit to wrap their first scene (they were scheduled to finish it at lunch, which would have been 1 pm, but they actually finished at 4 pm), so we could go and pick up the HMIs off that set - they had to go into the truck. The time was well-spent, though, as we all got to watch my boss take a sledgehammer to the old grip racks* in the front of the trailer.

Heh, heh.. Destruction is cool, man.

* Our truck used to be a grip truck, and now it's been reborn as a lighting department item. Grip equipment and set lighting equipment are different (natch, as we do different jobs), but grip have a lot more small items that need grip department-specific storage areas than we do - so when we get a truck with lots of cute little cubbyholes that are perfect for those grip items, we see it as space that could be put to better use for stacks of cable. Enter my boss and his sledgehammer.

I'm sure it made some of the grips cry (they were really nice racks), but that's the way it goes, and I have to admit that it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch a grown man smash something to bits at 8 am.

Ain't life grand?

Couch of the Day: