Sunday, October 7, 2012

Warning! The Lights Get Hot!

I'm on a stage for a fairly simple shoot, surrounded by "old timers" in every department. Guys who have been around for ages and have the balding heads and beer guts to prove it. Most of them give me curious looks throughout the morning, but for the most part, leave me alone. But I could tell that a few of them think of me as nothing more than a newbie; someone they'll have to annoyingly keep an eye on. Granted, I'll be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn still about this business, but I can tell my ass apart from a Tweenie... Despite these guys assuming otherwise.

Whatever. I was there as a favor to a friend more than anything and didn't give a rats ass to what these grumpy guys thought of me. I just wanted to do my job and get the hell out of there when the day was done.

Since this was such a simple set up and most of the lighting was left up from the day before, I spent most of my time sitting by the dimmer board, keeping my distance from the herd. I got the distinct feeling that these guys didn't think much of me, so I returned the favor and left them alone.

I still did my job, though. I am a professional, after all. I panned the occasional light and flipped switches off and on when requested. And since I was the only one there who knew how to use a lighting console, most of my tasks included pushing buttons and bringing up channels. Yeah, it was just that easy of a day.

Then the Gaffer asks for a double to be taken out of one of the lights. I glance around and realize that I'm the only one on this side of the stage, so I "copy" the Gaffer and head towards it.

I'm only a few feet from the light when I hear rapid footsteps behind me. But I think nothing of it and continue on with my task.

As my hand reached the top of the light, however, I hear a voice screaming, "Wait! Wait! Wait!" But it was too late. In one swift motion, I had already taken out the double scrim from the light as requested.

I turned around, with the offending scrim still in the jaws of the needle nose pliers I had used to pull it out, and faced my colleague who had beads of sweat forming on his face from chasing me halfway down the set.

"What?" I was starting to worry I had done something horribly wrong since he had so urgently tried to stop me.

"Oh..." He now paused, catching his breath and looking at the scrim dangling from my pliers. "I was going to stop you from pulling the scrim out with your bare hands."

"Um... What?"

"Yeah. I saw that you weren't wearing gloves and was going to stop you because the scrims get hot."

" ' The scrims... get hot...?' " I was desperately trying to understand where he was going with this.

"Yes. The scrims get hot from being in the lights. I didn't want you to burn yourself. But I see you used pliers. Good." And with that, he retreated back to whatever corner of the stage he was at before.

All I could do was just stand there, scrim still in hand, watching him walk away in disbelief...

Did he really think I didn't know the lights get hot??


Nathan said...

That's O.K. Every time I put a "wet down" on a permit here, there's one guy in the permit office who feels it necessary to make a notation that the "wet down will not be permitted if the temperature falls below 32 degrees".

He even adds the notation in August. Hrrrmmmmmm!

JD said...

Said in my best snarky tone, "Yes, scrims get hot. My skin is made of Asbestos."
I've worked with guys that don't ever wear gloves when adjusting hot lights, I just don't get it.

Unknown said...

Do you think it was because you were a girl? Or rather, is there a lot of sexism in the production world? For the most part I've seen guys and girls working all positions, but I have to say that G&E seems to be mostly males.

A.J. said...

Richard - There definitely is sexism in the production world. No doubt about that. Especially in G&E. In this particular instance, my guess would be that a mix of my youth and gender led this idiot to think I was dumb enough to think lights didn't get hot.

In hindsight, I should've come up with some kind of retort about how I know what's hot since I stand next to a kitchen stove all day, but my mind was distracted with how stupid they apparently thought I was.

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