Friday, October 25, 2013
On the flip side of things, there's days when you barely see the sun at all. You pull into a parking structure before dawn and walk into the stage as the elephant doors roll shut. You stroll out six hours later for lunch, squinting from the harsh light and before your skin even warms from what's left of the afternoon sun, you're summoned back into work on the dark stage. By the time wrap's called, the sun has been long gone from the sky as street lights guide your way back to crew parking...
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The familiar, yet annoying buzz of the alarm stirs me from my sleep. Like nails on a chalkboard, I shrink away from the unpleasant noise, wondering if my head could sink far enough into the pillow to muffle the sound. No such luck.
I begrudgingly slap off the alarm as I slowly open one eye towards my window. Darkness awaits outside. Even the sun doesn't get up this early.
I peel back the warm covers of my bed and as the cool air hits my skin, I feel a slight shiver. "Oh yeah," I think to myself, "What I wouldn't give to curl back into the warmth of my comforter." But I trudge on, wiggling life into my toes before my feet hit the cold bedroom floor.
I go through my usual routine: turn on the coffee maker, get dressed, brush my teeth and other morning necessitates. By the time the last sign of sleep is erased from my face, the rich, warm aroma of coffee fills my apartment. I breathe the scent in as I pour the brown liquid into a travel mug and slip out the door.
My apartment complex is still enveloped in night; the remnants of a moon hanging low on the horizon. The air is crisp and chilly, but I'm now awake enough to find the cold invigorating rather than unpleasant.
I sip my coffee as I make the drive through the streets of Los Angeles. It may be just me, but the roads seem smoother when there's no other cars around to share the lanes with. I see the sun just starting to peek above the horizon, turning the sky around it a whispery blue. The hint of daylight before me provides a stark contrast to the trail of darkness I leave behind in the rear view mirror.
By the time I reach crew parking, the last drop of coffee is gone from my cup. I hesitate for a moment before opening the door and letting in a cool rush of Autumn air; a ritual not unlike the one I did when I crawled out of bed. The sun is climbing its way up the sky now, bringing a wash of pale blue with it, chasing away any remnants of night.
I head towards breakfast and eat my eggs as the sky brightens up above me. As if the heavens were slowly opening their blinds in anticipation for a new day.
When the company's in at crew call, the sky is light enough that I barely even remember it glittered with stars only moments ago. The air still sends a shiver through me, but I deny myself a jacket. I've done this dance enough times to know that I won't be needing one soon.
By the time the truck is unloaded and the first shot of the day is set up, the sun has warmed me up enough that my skin glistens with the threat of sweat; the chill of the morning already forgotten.
By noon, it's hot enough that my colleagues and I congregate around any shade we can find, guzzling waters from the cooler as if it were beer at a wrap party. The sun beats down on us from its perch high in the sky as we break for lunch. The sight of ice cream at the end of the catering line brings a smile of relief to our sun-kissed faces.
We shoot our scenes in the almost unbearable heat for a few more hours before the evening starts to creep in, bringing with it more shade and the occasional breeze. The sun stretching its legs towards the Western sky as the mosquitoes and moths come out for the night. They buzz around the lights, mistaking our man made version of daylight for the real thing.
A little while later, they finally call wrap just as the sun begins to touch the horizon, ignighting the land before us on fire with deep orange and golden light; blinding us all with it's glory as if to say it wasn't going down without a fight. We scramble around as we wrap our cable and load the carts, using the fading sun as our work light.
In a stroke of serendipitous timing, we close the doors of the truck just as the last whisper of daylight disappears.
With the darkness comes the familiar chill in the air. I climb into my warm cocoon of a car and pull out of crew parking. The sun's work for the day is done, as is mine.
The moon, taking it's turn, now hangs in the sky before me, and guides me back home.
Monday, October 7, 2013
"Buckle up for another long day, kid," the Best Boy told me as he stopped to check in with me at our staging. "I heard it'll be another fifteen hour day."
I groaned. "Again? We've been pulling these kind of hours all week." The entire crew was exhausted and it wasn't helping that the rate for this job was way lower than what we were all used to getting.
"Yup. And don't forget we have to wrap out of here tonight too."
I groaned again. Looking around at all the gear we had around, it'd take us at least an hour after they called wrap to get everything packed up and loaded on the truck before we could hit the road ourselves.
The Best Boy grinned at me and I couldn't tell if it was meant to be snide or not. "Hey, welcome to Hollywood. This is what we got into the business for."
I rolled my eyes, trying to think of a witty comeback that would cover me on the chance his comment was meant to be more joking than patronizing. But I was too tired to think of one.
Luckily, a Grip overheard our conversation and put in his two-cents.
"Actually," he butted in, "you're not in the film business. If you're in the film business, you certainly wouldn't be sitting in a crappy, old, dusty stage for sixteen hours a day. You'd probably be in an office somewhere making real money. I hate to break it to you but you're not in the film business. You're in the film industry."
And with that, he walked away leaving the Best Boy and me to ponder our career choices.