Saturday, January 22, 2011

My week as a Production Assistant...

So a friend of mine called me last week asking if I wanted to work on an independent feature film as a PA (Production Assistant). I was like... YES! Because first of all, it's a feature! And second, it's shooting for Sundance (biggest Film Festival), and third, it would be tons of good experience.

It was okay. They've all been shooting for 30 days and I was brought on for the last 4 days of shooting to make up for the loss of the 1st assistant director. The assistant director (AD) literally quit 4 DAYS before the end. So it must've been quite the argument...

PA's are basically very active, jack-of-all-trades, runners, coffee-fetchers, picker-uppers, messengers, gophers. They do everything. They grease the wheels of film sets. It's an entry level job into the industry, but there's TONS of space to move up in the biz from that level.

It was a good experience overall. It should be noted that this production was a low budget, student-feature film project. Most of the crew were very professional and legit, although freshly out of UCLA film grad school. Which is why they were so professional. The director was out of UCLA's film school also. He's won a couple of awards here and there as a student. I was pretty impressed with his directing though. This was most of the crew's first professional gig and they were all stoked. I have to say though, there was quite a bit of politics amongst the assistant director positions. It got quite a bit rag-tag after the 1st AD quit. Work shifts for film crews are normally 11+1 hours. 12 hours total. This was my work schedule this past week:

Sunday: 9AM-9PM
Monday: 9AM-9PM
Tuesday: 4PM-4AM
Wednesday: 8PM-8AM (Wrapped - end of shooting)

12 hour days weren't that bad. There's a lot of stuff to do, and it's actually quite satisfying at the end of the day because there's something to show for it -- a film.

For the first two days they had me as a PA, and then the last two days the production team put in a special request for me to be a grip (special request a good thing?). Grips work with all the shooting equipment and the lighting (big light stands, etc.). It's really physical work, but I liked it WAY better than being a PA. As a PA, I was getting told to do some pretty unnecessary stuff by people who have never worked on a film project, let alone know anything about film before. Like I said, it was pretty rag tag.

One situation: The scripty (Script Supervisor -- also a guy who didn't know what he was doing whatsoever) called out over the radio once, "I need gaffing tape." That was it. No specifying of WHO, WHERE, etc. So the call was ignored. 10 minutes later, he comes out and shouts at me and my friend (also a PA and the one who got me the gig) angrily: "Where were you guys? Did you hear me?" He was clearly shouting at me and my friend, the PA's. Now, it was funny because the guy's brother, the 2nd AD, and only 20 years old with no prior film experience, was sitting next to me. There were Grips hanging outside, and also the 1st AD (He has the most authority besides the director). They all looked at him blankly. I don't usually let stuff like this bother me, and I have no problem with authority or taking orders, but this guy was just clueless. I also didn't like getting yelled at over the following stupid reason in front of everyone like I did something wrong. I schooled him with the following: "We heard someone asking for tape. No one knew who was asking for it nor who they were talking to. Some W's were missing in the 5 W's of info. The grips have gaffing tape hanging on their belts..." I knew the last part would really rake him because he was in the house with a bunch of grips. He just walked away without saying anything and the grips with us outside just started laughing. The 2nd AD started to defend him and try to "correct" me by saying, "No it's the PA's job to make things run smoothly on set...blah fucking blah". I turned and interrupted him, "Dude, no one knew who it was, or who he was talking to. He was in a house full of grips that have tape hanging on their belts".

Anyways, all in all -- I learned a ton. Especially as a grip. I now know tons of equipment and how to use them. I learn fast. I wish I wasn't in school full time so I could do this professionally and make some money.

Here are some pictures from set:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So I thought she was a transsexual...

So funny story...

I was out at a popular watering hole near West Hollywood last weekend with a friend, and you know, West Hollywood -- "WeHo" as we locals like to call it, is known for being the "gay" part of town. Similar to Castro street in San Francisco. Now, the WHOLE area of what is known as West Hollywood isn't all gay of course, it's simply a section of the city. I'll get to my point, this is just some well needed background. Anyways, the bar was Bar Lubitsch. A regular bar mind you, and also one of my newly favorite bars to hang out at. Really cool front area bar, and a really tightly packed dance area in the back. Me and my friend Pat were hanging out in the back having a conversation by the bar.

Pat got into a conversation with a buxom blonde standing by the bar, and I noticed a very attractive brunette several feet away that kept looking in my direction. A few seconds later, she made eye contact and she sauntered on over to me. I was facing the dance floor, and I kept facing the dance floor even as she walked up next to me facing the bar. Obviously she was waiting for me to "notice". I gave her a hard time by pretending not to. Then she lightly bumps my arm for my attention and says one of the most dumb, but at times common things girls say to guys at bars/clubs: "Hi, will you buy me a Jack and Coke?" --[Pause]-- Now first of all, there are TONS of suckers out there that will turn around with an enthusiastic, "YES. YES I WILL. WOW, HI, I'M ______, AND I'M BEING USED, BUT IT'S OKAY. I'LL TAKE WHATEVER ATTENTION I CAN GET." But I'm not one of them. I'm not a moron. I also, know how to play the game a bit. Game on.
--[Unpause]-- I turned with a slight frown on my face like it's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard (because it is) and said, "No. I'm not a sucker." She turned away a bit flabbergasted. She's probably not used to the rejection. I waited a moment to let my words simmer and then turned to her and said, "I like your hair though -- Is it real?" A slight backhanded compliment always goes a long way with girls such as herself. In my eyes, she sort of deserved the knock since she thought I was some dude she could take advantage of for a free drink. It's only fair right? She turned back to me with mouth slightly agape, and with a slightly surprised/embarrassed smile on her face. It totally got her self analyzing. Her right hand shot up pretty quick to her hair too. She brushed it a little bit, and then said, "Uhh... Yeah, it's real. Of course -- I mean..." I said, "Oh, cool. It looks good. You know, a lot of girls I see with lots of done-up hair like you usually have extensions or something. Good to know you're all-natural". I shot her my smile. She turned to face me, twirled some hair in her right hand and extended it to me to feel "Here, feel". I took it, tugged on it a bit and shot her a satisfied look and said, "I believe you." I gave her my smile again. Her eyes melted a bit. Then I find out she was tipsy when she leaned in to start a conversation and I guess, attempted to impress me with her occupation. This is exactly what I heard: "I'm an event coordinatorer for the Circussss club down the streeeet. I run their gay night and transss night."
The last bit caught my attention. Did she say trans night? Is that lingo for transsexual? Gay night... transsexual night... makes sense right? So I responded plainly, "Oh cool". Then bam, she got pulled back into a group of her "girl" friends. Everyone was suspect now. I turned to Pat and said, "I think I just met a transsexual" He laughed. I continued, "But dude, seriously, it's hard to believe that's a dude. Look at her, I mean him..." We looked. Then we both laughed, really hard. I always like meeting interesting people. THEN SUDDENLY She/He is back, and in my ear. "What's your nameeeeee?" "Brent." "Hiiii Brent". Handshake. Wasn't a manly handshake, cool. "I'm Muhhlissaa" Sure it is. Then she started to get really flirty and pinch my cheeks, and tickled my chin. Then suddenly, she leaned in to my right ear and said, "So, I'm an event coordinatorer fuhr the Circussss club down the streeeet. I run their gay night and tranzzz night." She told me the same thing. She must've been way drunk. So my opportunity to clarify the trans night part came up and I took it. I didn't want to offend her so I treaded lightly with my demeanor and asked, "So... are you a -- transss...?" She/He paused and responded jubilantly, "Yeah, I run the electro-trance night! It's really fun! I just dance all night! You should come one night!"

OHH... She was saying TRANCE, but slurring her words a ton because she was drunk and made it sound like "Transsszzz". Oh I get it. Cool. I'm going to put this in a script.

Oh yeah, and as always, I of course have no problems with anyone that is gay/transgendered, etc. If she was, I still would've had a conversation. Interesting people are interesting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sweet Neglect and Snowboarding...

Ahh... sweet neglect. Leaves you guys wanting more doesn't it? I use the same strategy with the bitches. Just kidding (half true). The real reason: I've been busy, and there hasn't been much profound self-actualizing going on, nor anything interesting I've wanted to take the time to write about. That and laziness.

I've been doing a lot of self-therapy lately -- snowboarding. And my new iPhone (I'm a recent convert from 5 years of Blackberry use) enables me to do... EVERYTHING. It's downright ridiculous the capabilities of the iPhone...

I'm shooting for 15+ days of riding this year. I've got 3 days in already, and I think I need to take a break because I may have badly bruised my lower ribs. They're not broken, a hairline fracture is quite a possibility, but they are extremely sensitive to any pressure. The sharp pain from rolling onto my left side in my sleep wakes me up. I guess I shouldn't go tomorrow like I planned. I'll give it a week.

Here's a photo diary of my current season:

Big Bear, CA day trip with Trav. 12/23/2010


Day old powder.

Mt. Baldy 12/30/2010 - Fucking. Mistake.

Went by myself. Huge mistake to go up here the day before New Year's Eve. Hundreds and hundreds of people drove up to this little mountain town resort (Mt. Baldy is not well known) JUST to play in the snow on the side of the road. These people were double/triple parked everywhere they could sort of fit their cars without blocking traffic. On this tiny two lane mountain road, I was less than a mile away from the resort parking lot but it took me an HOUR to get through all these cars. Traffic literally came to a standstill for a full 10 minutes. I almost had a panic attack from being stuck. But... I snapped these lovely pictures:

Ocean view. iPhone Instagram app.

The camera lens did all that by itself. iPhone Instagram app.

Fucking snow play people.

The view from the peak. I've gotta say, Mt. Baldy has the best views out of all the southern California resorts. That's the ocean, people. On a clearer day, you can see Catalina Island.

In addition, this resort only has one way up from the parking lot to the "actual" base -- a long, slow, two person lift from the 70's. When the resort closed, HUNDREDS of people lined up to take the lift back down. I stood in line for an HOUR as the sun died and temperatures dropped to around 15-20 degrees on top of that mountain. Needless to say, me and hundreds of other people were unhappy and freezing our asses off. Fucking inefficient.

Mt. High - 1/4/2011.

Hipstamatic app - John S Lens

Hipstamatic app - John S Lens

Instagram app

Instagram app

Instagram app

Instagram app

Instagram app - Sun setting over the ridge

Instagram app - 5 seconds before the sun died