Yesterday I had the day off so I was able to help out on a little video production that was going on in North Hollywood. A friend told me that the guy making this short zombie film needed some bondage gear as props, and hoping for an interesting experience, I agreed to volunteer a day helping out. This had to be the slowest video shoot in the world. I arrived at 8:45 AM as scheduled, but was told by the Assistant Director – a very nice and able guy – that some problems had come up and they probably wouldn’t start shooting till 1:00 PM. So, okay, I went back home and edited some pictures for my website.
Later in the afternoon I went back and found that things were still running late. An actor was unavailable and someone was dispatched to Whittier to pick him up (a very long drive). At one point it was about 3:20 and I sat there on the set (the crew and actors wandering around, smoking, taking naps on couches) thinking, “Okay, I’ll give it till 4:00 PM and if there’s still no sign of activity, I’ll just leave. Fuck it.”
3:45 came and it was announced, “We’re very close to shooting.” “Damn,” I thought, “I’m stuck here.”
Well, things continued on. A couple actors in elaborate zombie makeup were with the director, working out the scene. Lighting was tweaked, the tripod lowered and raised, the lens on the camera was changed. It was pushing 6:00 PM and they still had not gotten to a single shot for the day – nearly nine hours.
I’ve worked before on TV commercials and the occasional doomed independent film back when I lived in Colorado, but this was a record for me for the amount of time to get something – anything – shot. Memories of those times came back and I remembered why I hated working on film crews. There’s endless waiting and hanging out, and I’ve never felt comfortable making chit chat with people I’ve just met. It’s like a situation designed for my social anxiety to come rushing out.
Finally when the camera did roll, the director was struck by how cool the actors feet looked walking into frame. So it was decided: they would shoot close ups of feet.
Okay, the director is actually a nice guy, whom I’d met a couple weeks before – a young film guy looking to get into the Hollywood scene – but he just seemed in way over his head. (And I sure hope he doesn’t read my blog.)
I was finally able to leave after 10:00 PM and I signed out some handcuffs and leg shackles for the next day’s shoot and let them know I was “unavailable” to return. I hope I get my stuff back Friday.