lunes, 15 de junio de 2009

The Technique of Making Movies: Problem Solving at 85 MPH – for 18 Hours Straight


430 am Leave home for work – it’s chilly and quiet.
440 am Hit Bay Bridge – there is no traffic and the music on the radio is pretty good.
450 am Arrive on set, find parking space that’s close but not too close.
451 am Discover two cranes parked in the middle of your set at Moscone Center.
[Location Manager from previous commercial left them ‘as a gift.’]
452 am Teamsters have no flashlight, can’t find keys to cranes.
453 am While calling other Location Manager at home, take 3-battery maglite out of car,
give to Teamster to find keys.
454 am Trucks stacking up waiting to park for offloading.
455 am Craft service/ breakfast truck arrives, wants to set out coffee, has no water.
456 am 1st crane starts to be moved out of way – at 1 mph. [88fpm / 1.5 fps]
457 am Call from PA – he is lost.
458 am Motorhome arrives.
459 am Makeup / hair people arrive, want coffee.
500 am 2nd crane starts to be moved – at 1 mph.
501 am Boss arrives, wants to know why things are going to hell in a handbasket, wants
coffee now. [her call is 530 am]
502 am Tongue stops hurting from biting it.
503 am Boss asks for a walkie-talkie (camera truck has not arrived with walkie-talkies).
504 am Give her your walkie, though it’s the only one on set so she has no one to talk to.
505 am Camera truck parked & opened.
506 am Walkie-talkies taken out, some batteries discovered to be dead.
507 am Dead batteries taken to motorhome to charge.
508 am Makeup Person screaming because chairs have not arrived.
509 am Congratulate self on not throttling Makeup Person.
510 am Motorhome generator discovered to be malfunctioning. PA arrives.
511 am Discover that your picture-car dashcards are at home on desk; cars due at 6 am.
512 am Pull out generic dashcard master from ‘Felix magic bag.’
513 am Hand generic dashcard to PA to copy on motorhome photocopier.
514 am Motorhome generator still not working: no copies available yet.
515 am Cops arrive, PA asks them to fill out I-9 forms; you apologise profusely to cops.
516 am Video Assist wants to know where camera will be, so he can set up away from it.
517 am Hand walkies to Cops, write down their names and check broadcast channels.
518 am Ask boss where camera will be.
519 am Boss asks, ‘Do you see our Director? Well, then how the hell should I know?’
520 am Boss informs you that second location has changed – you must inform all
Department Heads.
521 am Location Manager yelps about change of second location, runs from scene.
522 am APC hands you 4-pound envelope with hundreds of extra vouchers and actor
contracts, along with start paperwork for entire crew, call sheets, shot lists and
523 am Hand 4-pound envelope to PA, thinking you will sort it later; pull out call sheets,
shot lists and storyboards.
524 am Order walking burrito, which you will forget all about and it will be thrown away
and another one will have to be ordered, which you will start to eat but will drop when Boss calls you on the walkie.
525 am First Actress arrives, wants full breakfast.
526 am Hand breakfast order to PA while introducing first Actress to Makeup Person you
now hate.
527 am Start handing out call sheets, shot lists & storyboards – 1st one to Makeup Person
you hate, 2nd one to Hairdresser you think is kinda cute, 3rd one to first Actress.
528 am Hand out call sheets, shot lists and storyboards to crew grouped around breakfast table.
529 am Homeless person hassling people at breakfast table; someone wants to call a cop.
530 am Gently walk homeless person to corner, where you give him a banana, a bagel and a carton of juice.
531 am Second Actress is one minute late – has not arrived; take a deep breath.
532 am Call Transportation Coordinator on walkie to ask if second Actress was picked up.
533 am Transpo Coordinator asks you not to do his job for him.
534 am Hero Cars arrive; no one knows where to park the trailer.
535 am Call Transportation Coordinator on walkie to ask where to put Hero Car Trailer.
536 am Transpo Coordinator tolerantly asks your 20, says to wait for him there.
538 am Transpo Coordinator ignores you while telling Hero Car Driver where to put trailer.
539 am Ask Caterer for breakfast burrito, find out it was tossed when you didn’t come back.
540 am Grab box of cereal, start to eat it dry.
541 am Get walkie call from Boss: “How are my Actresses?”
542 am Start to choke on inhaled dry cereal while answering walkie call.
543 am Call Transpo Coordinator, ask about second Actress.
544 am Check on first Actress.
545 am Second Actress arrives, give her call sheet, shot list and storyboard.
546 am Introduce second Actress to Makeup Person you hate and Kinda-Cute Hairdresser.
547 am Write down second Actress’ breakfast order.
548 am Give second Actress’ breakfast order to Caterer while getting own breakfast burrito, bite into it – it’s hot!
549 am Simply enjoy the hot food for about 30 seconds because – well, you’re human.
550 am Call Transpo Coordinator on walkie to check on Director pickup at hotel.
551 am Transpo Coordinator tells you not to do his job for him.
552 am Director calls from hotel: van has not picked him up.
553 am Find Transpo Coordinator, ask to see his pickup list.
554 am Pick up crumpled pickup list from ground, attempt to smooth it on car fender.
555 am Damp car fender has made pickup list soggy.
556 am Boss calls for Car Prep Guys NOW – drop breakfast burrito while running to find them.
557 am Boss asks for Director; inform her that Director is still at hotel.
558 am Take quiet pleasure in Boss reaming Transpo Coordinator.
559 am Find your 3-battery maglite on the ground.
600 am Unasked, Teamster informs you that he left your 3-battery maglite on bus bench.

And that’s only the first hour or so. It goes on like this all day long, as people are choking from bus fumes, actresses get lost, people fight with each other, cars are moved and removed and the cops aren’t getting the right directions on the walkie, and the store owners are complaining about your crew blocking their entrances so you have to pony up $300 in petty cash to keep them happy. Not all the extras arrive on time because one is lost in Oakland and two are stuck at the parking lot and the Transpo Coordinator doesn’t have van to send to pick them up.

The Hero Actor is cranky about his girlfriend jilting him and wants to jump the Kinda-cute Hairdresser and asks you for the address of a good sportsbar for later. The Director asks you to make sure that his reservations for Chez Panisse are at the right time and your PA loses the 4-pound envelope with all the extra vouchers in it but it’s found later by the Set Medic who thinks you look just like a guy who was running around with his wife behind his back – ‘that wasn’t you, was it?’ – and you have to duck into your car three times during the day to change your shirt because you are sweating so much from all the exertion.

Lunch is served at 11:30 am, and you stand at the table to make sure that only your crew and actors eat – there are loafers and con artists circling for a free bite. You gulp down your lunch standing up while watching the equipment, then have a conference with your Boss who thinks you should have been moving faster all morning, and then it’s off to make the rest of the day go.

You first get your Actresses to Makeup and Hair (she is cute!) and then have Wardrobe check them for gravy-stains. Then in front of the camera with them, and you go to set background, which group comprises a lot of wannabee actors who think they deserve a shot at stardom. Amongst them are a few really good souls, but most are just ordinary people, with all the foibles and failings of the normal population - while a few have no business in this business.

At 430 pm, you stand in the center of California Street directing the traffic away from your oblivious crew, who would be squashed by angry motorists if ADs and cops did not work overtime to keep them alive. Swinging your arms rhythmically to keep the cars flowing, you suddenly realise that you are in the direst pain from your knees all the way to the pavement. You think about it for exactly 3.2 seconds, when you get a walkie call to head over to the corner to get the bum out of the shot. The bum says he his hungry and you wonder what you ate for lunch – you know that you ate, but you can’t remember for the life of you what you ate.

And so it goes, til 11:30 that night, when you head for your car and the long drive home – it’s quiet, there’s no traffic on the Bridge and the jazz on the radio is cool.

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