ADD and dolly gripping in basements

Film school is coming to an end this year, and I still find myself on set when I don't have to be, which is a good sign. I still like doing this.

Movie sets are interesting places. You could be bored for hours and the next day you could be laughing your head off, and on the next ready to murder someone, or even wishing desperately to be murdered yourself. What makes the set is the attitude and personality of the director (and often the DP and AD). I've had the extreme pleasure of crewing on my friend Sho'Toole's 480 set the past couple weekends.

For those not in the know, 480 is an upper division class for undergrad production majors. Four 12-minute films are made in the class on 16mm color film with sync sound. 4 directors are chosen, who then choose two producers. Those three then get to pick the rest of the crew, which consists of two editors, two sound technicians, two cinematographers, two production designers, and an assistant director, making a crew of 12. Your are given 4 weekends to shoot the film, and one day of pick-ups.

Sho'Toole knows his story and the film he wants to make, which is evident the second you're on set. I have really enjoyed working with his DP's, who seem to really get what Sho'Toole is going for. The crew is, all around, good people.

Also....I just like writing "Sho'Toole".

Myself and David volunteered to be assistant camera people. Somehow, for the days I've been there, I've always ended up as dolly grip. (For those wondering, dolly grip is the person who controls the dolly, a contraption that can move the camera around the set while shooting, either on wheels or on track.) I seem to have developed a knack for it.

We were using a doorway dolly, the most basic dolly (and one of the most frustrating because of it... it's a freaking carpeted board on wheels.) We had to lay down the track, level it, Pledge the track and wheels to make it silent as possible, get the dolly on it, and then the camera on the dolly. Then the rest of my job is to push it back and forth and wait for long periods of time.

So this last Saturday we were shooting in a small video store on Hoover. The first half of the morning was upstairs in the actual store, the second half was downstairs in the basement.

Fortunately and unfortunately for us, the basement had just been fumigated. This meant the floor was a roach graveyard with crunchy wings and legs and exoskeletons to step on. It also meant that it still smelled like fumigation, and medical masks had to be worn. After an hour of breathing that in you begin to feel nauseous, but at least there weren't any live ones running around. David kept having to leave to make sure he didn't hurl, and I had to breathe through the mask and through my sleeve. It didn't really get to me until we got to the last shot, and I started coughing. (This made the producers a little nervous, but I assured them I had already been sick). To make the entire situation even stranger, we were shooting a scene where the main character gets caught masturbating by his mother. The performance was great, though— we had a few giggles during rehearsal.

Did I mention I got to set at 5:30AM? I didn't even bother going to bed, it would have been harder to get up if I had actually gotten sleep. The rest of the crew actually started around midnight, but I hadn't been notified of the new call time. We were all pretty out of it by the time we wrapped up.

I get home around noon and crash. I wake up at 7:30PM when my mom calls. I eat leftover take out and stay up until 4AM reading. I fall asleep again and wake up Sunday at 2:00PM. Film has never failed to throw off my sleep schedule.


Alex Selus said...

I didn't know you have ADD Haro!

XD i love reading your blog...
"the floor was a roach graveyard with crunchy wings and legs and exoskeletons to step on."

How are you?

LHarout said...

XD yay i was worried this post was boring and too long (it's still too long anyway lol)

I'm doing ok, life is continually weird. How are you?

Alex Selus said...

haha, it's fine :-P

dude, life is so soooo weird for me too.

i'll have to write a long rant and show you lol.