Friday, August 25, 2006

The free time's great, but the payout not so much.

When my boss called me to work on this show, he told me we were going to be working 10 hour days, but then production decided to save some money (they're over budget on the lighting package) by only allowing the rigging crew to work 8 hour days.

An occasional 8 hour day is a treat - it's like a mini vacation, or that time when you found a whole candy bar on the floor of the car and managed to eat it before your mom made you give half of it to your sibling.

An occasional 8 hour day inspires the same sort of giddiness as a really good rollercoaster, but a whole string of 8 hour days loses the charm fast and hits me right in the bank account.

I think I cried a little when I got my paycheck today. Don't get me wrong - 16 hour days hurt me as well, but in a much different manner.

The other problem with short days is that the best boy can't keep a crew - people won't stay around for the reduced hours when they can jump to a crew who are working 10's or 12's. Best boys don't like a constantly changing crew either - imagine having hire three or four new people and explain the inter-office politics to them every single day.

When the crew stays the same, then the riggers know how the gaffer likes things marked, where the carts get set up on stage, which actors we're not supposed to look at, who the UPM is (so we can look busy whenever he or she's around) and how to sneak up on the craft service guy so we can get a sandwich off his truck (rigging crews aren't normally allowed to eat at craft service). We get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and this helps us to work better as a team.

Then there's set dressing. Somehow they managed to get on a 12 hour day, and since this DP comes from theater, he wants a 'down light' over every practical (a practical is a lamp that you can see in frame) in the set, so we're hanging a lot of lamps and there's some freaky movie thing that if there's a practical lamp in a scene then the cord to plug it in must be hidden from camera (even if the lamp's in the center of the room with no outlet anywhere near it), which means that each practical lamp takes us some time to fix up - we have to hang a lamp over the top of it, and then power it up while making sure the cable is concealed from camera.

This is all fine, and it's part of the job, but since the set dressers are there four hours longer than us each day, they put in lamps after we leave, so when first unit walks on the set, there are a ton of lamps that aren't ready (since they were put there after we had to quit working), and it's making us look like idiots. The set dressers know our predicament and are trying to work with us, but sometimes they have last-minute changes, too.

No amount of begging or pleading on the part of my boss will make the production office extend our hours.

My job for this weekend is to convince (okay, bribe) the Pink Princess to part with her handlebar basket.

Couch of the Day:


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Big Boring Day Off

I had today off, and I spent it cleaning my house, despite wanting to go to the beach.

6:30 am call time tomorrow, which means I might just get off early enough to have some fun, but not likely.

When I have a call time that early, I'm usually tired before 10 pm.

Couch of the Day:


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I spent the afternoon on a bus.

Not riding it around the city seeing cool things and meeting interesting people (and one does meet interesting people on city buses in Los Angeles), but changing the fluorescent tubes in the bus to a movie-friendly type of tube.

This is more complicated than it might seem - to prevent passenger breakage, the tubes are sealed in screwed-down plastic covers that get brittle over time, so they have to be removed very carefully since I can't imagine that's an easy item to replace. Once the tubes are changed, the covers have to be very carefully re-installed with one person holding the cover in place while another one screws it down, which is fun in a bus with limited floor space. Damn good thing we're all thin.

Of course, the type of tube in the bus was a type (single pin connecter) that we don't use, so it had to be ordered through a vendor, and the bus had three different sizes of tube - 4', 5', and 6'. No one could find a 5' tube, so we had to do some re-wiring to make a 4' work (yes, the bus company knew about it).

Also of course, the bus was parked in the sun on a hot day and most of the windows wouldn't open, but the upside is that I think I sweated off a couple of pounds.

At some point today (I think it was on stage while we were all breathing paint fumes), we decided that our boss' slick new chopper-like lot bike (it's one of those that look like a motorcycle and is very, very manly) needs a pink Hello Kitty (tm) handle bar basket to really spiff it up.

Now, as it happens I know where there's a very pink Hello Kitty (tm) handle bar basket (with aftermarket sparkle glue hearts). The trick is just going to be persuading it's current owner to part with it, but her mom tells me she's just about out of her "pink princess" phase, so if I replace it with one that suits her current tastes I'm golden.

So, while we were waiting for our tube order to arrive, we sat around trying to figure out how we could attach the basket to his bike so that it would be difficult to remove, but not damage the paint or chrome on the handlebars.

We think we've got something worked out, but my boss knows all the tricks so once he sees the basket, it'll have about a five minute life span - so it's all about parking the bike where the most people will see it as they come into the stage.

Couch of the Day: