Wednesday, November 28, 2012
My co-worker's standing on the 2nd to last step of a twelve foot ladder, and to top it off, he's leaned so far over to the side that one of his feet is hanging in the air. And did I mention that he was in such a hurry to adjust the light that he failed to make sure all four legs of the ladder was touching the ground?
As I watched in fear of my co-worker precariously dangling off the unsafe step of a wobbly ladder, I decided to at least make this dangerous situation somewhat safer and stood on the bottom rung; my craft service burdened weight steadying my co-worker's perch.
Finally, he was done and without even looking, started to climb back down at a speed that was only 2nd to falling off the damn thing. It's a good thing I was paying attention or else I would've experienced a swift kick to the head.
As I dodged his Nikes and hurriedly hopped off the ladder to get the hell out of his way, he must've noticed my wide-eyed look as I stood back up because he said, rather sternly as if he was scolding a child, "Don't ever stand behind someone who's on a ladder."
And with that, he scurried away somewhere. Probably a dark corner where he can sit and stare at his cell phone all day until summoned.
Um... Hey oblivious asshole. I think the words you meant to say were, "Thank you."
*Yes, I'm aware that the ladder has another side I could've stood on to steady it. However, it wasn't accessible due to a poorly paced wall and various pieces of set dressing.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I'm visiting the folks a few days early for Thanksgiving when my dad and I are watching something on television. Whatever we settled on watching ended up being somewhat boring, so when a big night exterior scene came up, I decided to provide some commentary.
Me: "You know that moonlight that's hitting those buildings right now? That's fake. There's a guy in a boom lift* about eighty feet in the air with some big lights mounted in the basket."
Dad: "Really? That's interesting."
Me: "Yup. And see those houses in the back? The light you're seeing in the window isn't from a table lamp or anything. It's from a light the crew set up in each of those windows."
My dad seems to be studying the screen now, so I continue.
"Also, there's probably a light on the ground in front of a few of those houses so you can see them and it doesn't look too dark in the background. Plus see how tree in that yard is backlit? That's another one of our lights. Not to mention the pools of light you see on the street. Some of those aren't from street lights. Instead, we'll set up lights to mimic them. And then we wet down the streets and sidewalks to make everything look more interesting."
My dad sits silent for a second, still studying the scene. Then he speaks with some surprise in his voice.
Dad: "Wow. That sounds like a lot of work."
Me: (sits there in silence because the only thing I can think of is, "Uh... YEAH. What did you think I did all day at work??")
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
* We call them "condors" but most civilians do not. Same thing goes for "ratchet straps." Store employees will stare at you blankly if you ask for them. Instead, you have to ask for "ratchet tie-downs."
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I took a call to play with a rigging crew and we're taking down a swing-set that First Unit was now done with. That meant cleaning up some cable and taking down whatever lights were rigged. Basically, clearing out all the crap from our department so construction can come in, tear this set down and build a new one in is place, only for us to come in and wire it all up again.
It's an endless cycle.
But this particular set was a little different than most of the ones we encounter the rest of the year. Seeing as how it was mid October, it was prime shooting time for all things Christmas, which means there were Christmas lights... EVERYWHERE.
And they were all powered up with zip cord.* A good few spools worth. And of course, the Rigging Gaffer wanted every single piece of it back.
The regular guys on this crew knew this, and they, being the muscle-man gorilla type of juicers who can't stand to do anything remotely delicate or tedious, immediately volunteered to do the heavy lifting. In other words, they were more than happy to wrap and toss heavy cable into a cart all day than to deal with the rats nest of zip cord.
That left me and the other day player to deal with the mess. So he started on one end of a room and I started on the other, and a few minutes later, I look over and see him struggling to pull out one strand of zip stinger from a big ball of them. How he got into such a big mess in such a small amount of time is beyond me, but all I know is that he ended up throwing the whole thing across the set in a bout of frustration.
He sighs, looks at me and says, "Dude, I can't do this," and he walks out, presumably to "help" the other guys toss cable around.**
And essentially, leaving me alone with the daunting task of collecting, de-tangling, wrapping and sorting several hundred feet of zip stingers.
I'm not even exaggerating when I say that shit was everywhere. Hidden above doorways, behind large pieces of furniture, underneath rugs, shoved into Christmas trees, etc, there was not one piece of set dressing that somehow didn't involve a zip stinger.
Sure, it was a daunting task, and not a very fun one to say the least, but whatever. I don't really mind the tedium and I'm not easily defeated by a thin piece of copper, but it did suck to have to wrap it all up on my own. Halfway through the task, I had to resist the urge to bang my head on the wall and three-quarters of the way through, I felt like shooting myself. But a few hours later, I was done. Whew. Freedom at last.
Luckily, it was also lunch and the whole rigging crew went to the diner around the corner. It was nice to get off the stage and unwind for a bit, especially after the mind-numbing morning I just had. And as we waited for our food to arrive, one of the guys commented about how he was already tired. The other guys nodded in agreement, and so did I when one of the guys chirped up.
"Why are you so tired, AJ?" he sneered, "Are your arms sore from lifting all that zip cord?"
The other guys busted up laughing and all I could do is sit there and be embarrassed. On paper, it sounded like I was being a wuss. Zip cord on its own isn't nearly as heavy picking up a piece of 4/0 or banded. But at the same time, that doesn't mean handling it isn't real work. Because of it's frustrating and tedious nature, none of the other guys wanted to touch the stuff, and those who tried immediately gave up. Yet it had to be done, leaving me the only one who stepped up to the plate and deal with the shitty, shitty mess. I was the only one willing and able to do a job that other men would rather cut their own arm off to avoid and here I was, being ridiculed for it.
Later on, I was the only one not asked to come back the next day. Which was fine by me.
* For those of you who aren't familiar with the stuff, it's basically lamp cord. In our world, it comes off of a spool and with add-a-taps and add-a-plugs, we can essentially make our own lamp cord stingers (aka: "zip stingers") and in any length we want. It comes in handy when we're powering things up, like practicals, and need to hide the cord. However, it is "illegal" to use on some sets. Whether or not we follow the rules, is a totally different story.
** As with every task, there can only be so many people on it before you start wasting manpower. For example, it typically doesn't take four people to set a Tweenie, and sending two people to wrap one stinger doesn't do much good. In this case, those guys didn't really need another hand in dealing with the cable.