Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back Home

That's a wrap on my last job and I get a marathon two weeks off before my next one. Yes, I'm going back to the tv show and I'm looking forward to reuniting with some good friends. One thing about a tv show is that when it's with good people, even with long hours and hard work, it's a little like coming home. I would like to have longer time off, but the way things are now, I'm glad to be working.
   The movie was good. It was a rom-com with the added novelty of three babies to liven things up. This had the added effect of ratcheting up the tension  while simultaneously increasing the size of my paychecks. Getting a 14 month-old to do anything on cue is impossible (unless crying is what you're after) and toward the end, a separate "baby unit" was created just for certain reactions. Otherwise, it was a completely positive experience (not to say the babies weren't great, they were sweet little girls, but watching an entire crew mug and wave at a screaming baby after 13 hours of "normal" work with adult actors, just so she'll look camera left and smile will throw anyone off the wagon).
  I must put in a word for the director on this one. This guy knew the difference between a Steadicam and a Dolly Shot. He wasn't one of these guys who will just throw up the rig because he thinks it's faster. The result was a lot of really fun dance floor work. Unfortunately, these days, a lot of really elaborate shots will become Steadicam shots because a Director either doesn't know any better, or has never worked with a Dolly Grip who can pull them off. This led to a lot of fun and challenging work for myself and our really great Camera Operator, who was a joy to work with. We also did some really fun Technocrane work, and my thanks go out to Kenny, our head tech, and Mike, from Cinemoves.
   One thing I learned, as hinted at in earlier posts, don't underestimate the power of roundy round. And be sure that you don't need a Peewee 4 before you put in the order. As a longtime Hybrid user, I had made it a point of pride to pull off shots without roundy, but it was a lifesaver on this one. I had made the decision, after consulting with the key, to just go with a Peewee 3 and use the savings in our budget to allow  more toys and flexibility with the other dolly. As a result, a lot of shots I would have used the Peewee 4 on, I ended up having to bring in the Hustler just because of the roundy. This is the first time I've ever not had the Peewee 4 and regretted it. It all worked out, though, and actually made for a little more challenging show, which in some ways was fun.
 The particulars: tools used- Hustler 4, Super Peewee 3, 50' Technocrane, 30' Technocrane, 15' Technocrane, Phoenix Crane, Fisher 23. Thanks also to B camera Dolly Grip Frank Boone for a fantastic job. This guy is a great Dolly Grip on his own, but came in as "B" on this show and really made my life easier.
     Anyway, I'm back home and gearing up for the next one. I hope to post more frequently now, and  may offer some guest posting opportunities to some of you guys if you're interested. Stay posted and drop a line anytime. We're always interested in any comments, ideas, or questions you may have.


PS- Unfortunately, I've had to enable word verification for comments because some jackass spam program has found us and is merrily selling Viagra and porn passwords through the comments section. I apologize for this. I hate it as much as you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last Three Days

We're up to the last three days of the show, so the traditional Cutting Up of the Dance Floor for custom use has begun. Got a spot where your board is 3 inches too wide? Rip it!. There's something liberating about it. Where we used to do whatever we could to make the standard boards work (and they almost always did somehow), now we just custom build floors for whatever tight spot we find ourselves in. The whine of the tablesaw fills the stage with each new setup. We're also into some longer hours and six day weeks to try and finish before our lead actress goes back to her series. The B camera crew has become a second unit and a new B camera crew has come in. We've got two cranes working in various locales and I think a Technocrane coming in. It's been a great show, but I'm looking forward to it ending.
On another note, my track is awful. As I mentioned earlier, it's steel track and it's really badly made. The saving grace has been the Portaglides. They really take out the imperfections and once again, came through like a champ. (And no, I don't get anything for saying that. I don't think they even realize this site exists).
Thanks for all the great comments on the "Quirks" post. A lot of great tips were posted and that's what "Dollygrippery" is all about. I'll have some longer, more detailed posts after this craziness is over. Til then, keep the comments coming and stay tuned.
A quick hello to all my Dolly Grip brothers working here in Georgia. Dino,Tripper, Kelly, hope your shows are going well. GHB, Sorry we didn't have a chance to grab a beer while you were in town. Maybe we'll catch up back in LA.
I need some new pictures! Send me some! I'm going to put together a Flickr page of Dollygrippery photos of all of you in action when I get some down time so you can see them larger.