I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I made it over from the Island to the mainland. I got a call from the Production Manager (PM) from the new show and she said that transport would contact me soon. Not long after, a nice guy called Dean rang me up and said they would be sending someone over from that side to bring me back. That was a huge relief but I felt bad about the cost and time it would be for someone to do that. At lunch the next day, the EPK (Electronic Press Kit) crew were there and I sat with them as Lynn McNamara is a good friend. It turns out that they were heading back the next day - the day I needed to go back. So I arranged to get a ride with their sound guy. I called Dean back and told him that I just needed a ride from the ferry to my rental car. He said, 'no problem' and that was that. I lost sleep over trying to figure out how it was all going to work out a few nights previous, but now here it was all sorted out. I need to practice what I preach to my kids: Worry changes nothing but your health and more than half the time it all works out.

Jack, the producer of the show I am on, isn't happy at all that I am leaving early. I understand how he is feeling. I wouldn't be happy either if the person who is supposed to make sure that the continuity of the whole show isn't going to stick around for the last three days. The PM explains to him that it is more work for me and they like to keep their people busy if they can. I find out later that he went to the head of the company and complained. I feel badly when I hear it. I really like Jack and hate letting him down like this. It isn't what I want to do. It was all arranged behind the scenes and I kind of just went along with it as it does mean a lot more days of work for me. But I hate leaving things unfinished. When Laura shows up on Friday afternoon to see what is going on on set, Jack seems somewhat mollified as she has worked for him before and he likes her. That makes me feel better.

I realize, as my last day on set comes to a close, that I didn't get to say goodbye to Britt. I am sad about that. When I finally drive away from set for the last time on this show, I realize that I didn't even say goodbye to Drew. I was busy finishing up my paperwork for the day when he was spirited away by transport. I am fed up about it. I also didn't get to say goodbye to Jack.

When I get back to the house, I hand over all my paperwork to Laura and go over some continuity notes. My phone rings and I break off to answer it. I look at the caller ID and it's a California number. When I answer it, it's Jack. He tells me that he was half way to his hotel when he realized that he never said goodbye to me. So he is calling to say goodbye and to thank me for all of my hard work on the show. I am really touched by it. No producer has ever done that before. I thank him and tell him I really enjoyed working with him and getting to know him. We say our goodbyes and when I hang up, I finish off going over notes with Laura. I then head up to my loft room and start packing up all of my things. I can't do it all as some things are in the closet in Carmen's room and she is asleep. I do what I can and then head off to bed. My last night on the air mattress.

I rise early as I can't sleep and the sunrise is spectacular. The entire skyline is deep orange-red, outlining the islands and mountains in the distance. As the sky slowly lightens to a soft pinky mauve, the girls leave the house two at a time. I say my goodbyes to them and make an agreement with Tana and Marjorie that we will get together in a couple of weeks. Once they are all gone I have a shower and then finish up packing. Dragging all of my bags downstairs is a chore. They are so heavy.

I need to go back to the school of massage where I went with Tana on our day off to have the kinks in my back worked out. I left my water bottle there and need to go get it. Once that is done, I return the rental car and John, the transport guy who drove me over on the ferry, picks me up and drives me back to the house. I have about half an hour before Norm is due to show up so I sweep up about 20 dead wasps from the window ledges - we couldn't figure out how they were getting in but it seemed there was always one buzzing in the window - and then take some windex to the glass dining table to remove all my marks from where I did my paperwork. I am just carrying out the kitchen trash when Norm shows up.

We load in all of my bags and I lock up the house and we head off to the ferry. We arrive really early for our reservation so walk around the outdoor craft market they have set up there. A jewelry stand keeps my interest for about twenty minutes. The woman who is there tells us that she makes it all herself. Her work is beautiful and her prices are really good. But I don't buy anything. She tries to get Norm to buy me a necklace telling him that 'your wife would look really good in it'. We both laugh and tell her we aren't married. So she says, 'girlfriend then'. We tell her we are work colleagues. She tells us that we should be dating.

At the stall next to hers is an artists. He is very prolific and talented. A lot of his work is local landscapes and island life scenes and they are really good. I buy a fridge magnet of a surfer on Long Beach for Ashleigh and Rob.

The ferry ride over is great. Lynne, Norm - the sound guy, and the camera guy and I all sit together in the cafeteria part of the ferry and they tell stories about work.

I arrive at my friends house Saturday around 3 in the afternoon. She isn't home but has left a key for me under the mat. I go in and let her dogs out of their crates and into the backyard, and then drag all of my stuff into the house and downstairs into my basement room. I don't unpack. I have an appointment at the bank to set up an account. Once that is done I feel so much better. I haven't had a bank account since May. It's hard to conduct one's life without a bank account.

Sunday I work on the script for the new show. I have done most of my breakdown, I did it on my two days off, but I still have some to do. I take it down to Starbucks and work on it there because I have arranged to meet the girl who will be renting the basement suite from my friend. We are going to talk over some details and see if this is going to work out. She arrives right on time and it doesn't take more than half an hour for us both to realize that, unless the whole basement is available, this won't work. There is one huge bedroom and one tiny one. I have a queen size bed, a desk, lots of work equipment and a tv to go into my room. She has a twin bed. Yet she has her heart set on the bigger room. That means that all I can fit in my room is the bed and a night table. The rest of the stuff would have to go into the small livingroom. That won't work. There is another huge room in the basement but the family want to use it as an entertainment room. So there is no way this is going to work out. I am disappointed as I was looking forward to living there. And now I don't know where I am going to live come the middle of the month. I am getting tired of not having a place to call my own. And now it looks like it will be more than a year before I get to sleep in my own bed again. That's just nuts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So I was talking to the makeup gal who is staying at the house here with me in Victoria. Her name is Tana and I have worked with her before but not recently. We were collapsed in the livingroom one night after work, sipping on some wine and talking shop. I told her that I would love to get into the makeup department as I did have my hair and cosmetology licenses years ago. She perked up and said I should for sure make the change over. That 'swings' are hard to find. A swing is an assistant that can do both hair and makeup. She tells me that she would hire me. So we talk about how that would work and the upshot is that, when we both get back to the mainland, I will go over to her place and she will help me get a kit set up and then, once she is on a show where she will need to hire help with background, she will hire me and start me off that way. I am absolutely over the moon excited about this new door opening and am so grateful to Tana for this offer. I feel like my life may be taking a new turn and so it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

I am still waiting to hear if my agent wants to take on my new script. I am hoping so. If both of those scripts sell, that's another door that will be wide open. I am thinking that, once work here dies down for the winter, I will go visit Ron Oliver and we can start collaborating on our wedding movie script.

Also, a good friend just bought a new home and is putting in a basement suite. She has already rented it to a young single woman but she wants a mature room mate. So I have agreed to be that room mate. So I will be moving the weekend this second show is finished. It's going to be a crazy few weeks coming up. But if I can get through them, it will mean a bank account in the black, and the first time I have slept in my own bed in two weeks shy of a year. I just realized that the other day. A year since I have had my own place.

I hope I never have another year like this one. For all the adventure, it's been stressful as well. I am looking forward to some stability again. Bring it on.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Week two is over.

This week we shot mostly in a small village-like subdivision of Victoria called Fernwood. It was the setting for the married student housing at Harvard. The Line Producer was telling us the story of how this neighbourhood was run down and had a lot of drug dealers and other unsavoury elements to it when a woman who lived there decided to do something about it. She had attended a David Suzuki seminar and came home inspired to change her corner of the world. It started with a coffee shop and grew to a co-op that now has low income housing in two buildings and small businesses have sprung up all around to service the people there. It reminds me of a tiny version of Commercial Drive. The houses are similar, it's a very family oriented neighbourhood, and the stores and art galleries are funky.

Early in the week I receive a phone call from the Vancouver office of this company, Front Street Productions, asking about my availability for another show that will film in Langley and Vancouver. It starts the day this show ends so, unfortunately, because of the overlap of one day I won't be able to take it. They say they want me on the show so will work something out. When I get home, there's an email from the Line Producer saying that they want me from day one and they have arranged with this show's Line Producer for me to leave early. My friend Laura will take over for me here. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, and extra three weeks of work is fabulous. On the other hand, I don't like leaving something before it's finished. Especially not a show. I have heard from the girls in the house here that there is another show on the island a week after this one ends so I talk to the Line Producer about joining that show. He tells me that yes, there is another one scheduled, but the details haven't been finalized and he would hate for me to give one I have up for one that might get pushed. He's right, of course. I have missed out on shows before because I have counted on the one that never happened. So I decide to take it and leave this one early. I make the arrangements with Laura that she will come over to the island on Friday and I will leave on Saturday and start the new show on Monday.

It means I will miss all the scenes inside the classrooms of Harvard as well as the scene where the young mother gives birth to her son. But, I will get to work with Annie Potts the last two days I am here, so that makes me happy.

It also means that the ride back to the mainland I had lined up won't work. I have no idea how I am getting all of my crap onto the ferry if I don't have a car to put it in. Transport will get me to the ferry, that's not a problem, but none of them will be traveling over on a Saturday when everything there is closed down. They make frequent trips over during the week. But that isn't going to help me. I can't imagine how I am going to make this work and I lose sleep over it. I send off an email to the LP on the other show explaining my problem and she sends one back telling me they will work something out. I ask on this side about keeping my rental car for the next three works of the show and then bringing it back over here when it's finished but that won't work for accounting. The LP here says maybe the contract can be switched to the other show and he will look in to it. I am hoping that between two sides working on it, I won't have to walk onto the ferry. I will look like a tinker with all my wares hanging off of me.

I write to my son asking that, if I need him to, would he mind picking me up at the ferry terminal in Tsawassen and he says he will do it; just to remind him a few days before.

The show I am going to is about a mother who was an alcoholic while raising her daughter who is now 24 and has a huge chip on her shoulder about it. She goes back home to live with her mother and 5 year old half sister and sees how her mother has changed since joining A.A. and how different a life her young sister has as a result. She is full of resentment and the story is about her personal journey through the process of forgiveness. It's an all black cast, which is a first for me. The Director of Photography is a good friend who I have worked with a lot and also one of the hair girls is someone I get along great with and haven't worked with in a long time as she took time away to have a baby. I don't know the director but have heard from others who have worked with him.

The executive producers of this show, Jack and Carla, seem to be very happy with my work. They keep commenting on how I have 'saved them again' from a major continuity or story problem. We had a big one last night. We shot a scene that, originally, was a transition from fall to winter. It was changed in a revision of the script from summer to fall but was not moved in the story. I was given strict orders to follow the A.D.'s breakdown of days and dates and so I did. As a result, we had shot two scenes in the first week that take place before the transition where our actors were wearing winter clothing. Now we are shooting a scene where the producer doesn't want to see any jackets and wants everyone in colorful summer clothing for the first half of it. I double check my one line breakdown to see where we are, date wise. It's October 25th in my time line. I tell him this. He says it is supposed to be the end of summer. I quickly realize why we are having this problem and tell him. The director comes into the discussion and is not happy about the mix-up. He walks off to direct the scene. I pour over my one-liner looking for a solution as they go ahead and film the summer part of the scene. Suddenly I see it. The two scenes where we shot the actors in winter clothing are continuous meaning no time passes between them; they are leaving a building - have a short conversation with another couple - and then in the next scene they arrive at their apartment and have a short spat. I turn to Jack, who is sitting behind me, and suggest that those two scenes can be moved to right after the one we are shooting now. It's the only place it can go because in the scene after this one in the script, 2 months have gone by and she is hugely pregnant. It will kind of ruin the transition of time as far as her pregnancy goes; the passage of time and then in her apartment while she swaps out a fan for a heater and we see how huge she has gotten, but it's better than seeing actors in winter garb and then a summer scene shortly after. He likes it and so does Carla when she hears it and I write a note to the editor on the script to move the scenes.

The A.D. on this show is a yeller. Yesterday he screamed at me, twice. The first time, there was a wardrobe question for a scene we were about to roll on. Drew thought he was in the wrong shirt. The AD says it doesn't matter, it's a stand alone scene -meaning there are no more scenes that take place on this day. I pipe up and say it's not a stand alone day, that we have just shot a scene from this day and there was one we shot a few days ago as well. He turns on me and asks, "So is he in the right shirt? He seems to think he's not." I try to explain that we haven't seen this tee shirt as he was wearing another shirt over it that was buttoned up and he will find that shirt in this scene and put it on. And that I heard from wardrobe that the producers didn't want to see Drew in gray and he was wearing a gray tank under it before but we never saw it as he had a button up shirt over it. This green tee has a v-kneck and we won't know it's different. He won't let me get two words out. As I am trying to talk, he keeps yelling at me. I finally just close my mouth and let him rant. He walks away without hearing my answer yelling that he's sick of problems and we all need to make sure there's no more screw ups. I say to his back, "Well, if you'd let me speak..." But he's gone. Later in the day, I was walking across the little dead-end street that the square we are shooting in is on, following the director to go talk to our actors who were sitting in a car for a scene. As I start to cross the road, he screams at me to 'stay off the road'. I jump and look up at him - he's not 20 feet away - I look over my shoulder at what traffic is coming and there are about 4 people on bikes over half a block away. I could cross the street 5 times before they get here. I look back at him and am about to ask him what his problem is when I see his face harden. The look says 'bring it on'. It's kind of the face change I have seen right before an abusive person strikes out. I hesitate on the knife edge of yelling back at him and then I decide to just walk away. I keep going across the street and he yells again, "you were right in the path of that cyclist'. I just ignore him and proceed to do my job.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The weekend went by fast.

Today I show up at circus, which is in Hillside Mall parking lot. I was just there on Tuesday to try to pay my Fido bill, and so knew exactly where to go. I get there and the locations fellow tells me that circus is close to set like Calgary is close to Edmonton. Oh-oh.

I ask him where catering is today and he tells me they are on set so I make my way over to where transport is loading people and see that a 7 passenger van is just leaving. I yell to the locations girl standing right by it to stop it for me but she just looks at me with a blank expression and lets them go. Fortunately, there is a 15 passenger van right behind it. It is full of extras. One rolls down the front window and asks if I am going to set. I say I am so someone opens the slider and I heft my bag inside and climb aboard.

It takes a full 10 minutes to drive to set. Sheesh maneesh.

When we finally arrive, I climb out of the van and drag my bag full of scripts and supplies around looking for catering. I can't find them. I see Jill, the camera operator so ask her where catering are set up. She tells me they are at circus. I am incredulous. Really??

Locations are in charge of where the circus parks, where the work trucks park, where catering parks, where everyone parks. Yet one of their own doesn't know where catering is? Unreal.

I grab a transport guy and ask if he can radio someone to send a breakfast to set for me as I don't have time to go all the way back for it. I won't make it back in time for a blocking if I do that. So they make the call and fifteen minutes later the on-set wardrobe gal brings me my breakfast.

We are shooting a bunch of exteriors of the building where the apartment of our young couple is housed. Once we've done those, we move inside and up the narrow staircase to two small, and I do mean small, apartments that we have taken over. We will shoot in both; one is the entrance and bedroom the other is the kitchen, living room and a den.

There are a row of shops under the apartments in this old, brick building. One of them is an authentic Caribbean restaurant called Stir it Up. The people who run it look like they just walked off of Tortola. The guys have dreads, the woman has slicked back black hair and booty. I can't wait to try their food and go ask for a take-out menu. I plan to come back here on my day off, that's for sure.

At one point, during some down time for me, I sit on the bench in the roadway that's just a paved footpath - no cars allowed- and watch the Caribbean family and friends. I think about how they left the Caribbean to live in B.C. and how I want to leave B.C. and live in the Caribbean. Why doesn't the BVI government allow us to just trade places with someone who wants to leave. That would be perfect. I should suggest it to them!

Every night we get a hot snack provided by the crafty guy. I am excited when I find out that he just placed a huge order with the Caribbean restaurant for jerk chicken, roti, and other items from the menu. When it arrives, I happen to be in the room they put all of the food in as I just used the restroom near by. This means I actually get my choice of what I want to eat... nevermind that... I actually get to eat some of it. The other night when we were at the Parliament Buliding, pizza was ordered for the crew and I never saw a slice of it as I was stuck inside and couldn't get outside where the food was and the only place we could eat it as no food was allowed inside. So this is a huge treat for me. I take a few pieces of the shredded jerk chicken and a slice of the roti. It tastes heavenly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It's been a very interesting first week on the set of this show.

I can't say too much about what we are filming because I don't want to give away the story. But I can say that the weather has been fabulous, although frustrating for our D.P. [Director of Photography] with clear skies and sunshine every day - they prefer cloud cover for lighting purposes. We have done a lot of the outdoor scenes and so having good weather was just what we needed.

We spent two days shooting at the B.C. parliament buildings here in Victoria. We did a lot of scenes outside and then moved inside for more. The inside of the building is spectacular and was a perfect backdrop for a good portion of our interior Harvard University scenes. Most of where we shot I had seen years ago when we took our kids on a tour while on vacation. A good home-schooling opportunity. But when we filmed a scene that took place in the library, we went into an area that the public don't get to visit. It was the library for the MLA's [Members of the Legislative Assembly] and it is nothing short of breathtaking. The hall where you enter is a small rotunda and the walls, floor and pillars are made entirely of Italian marble. There are four balconies with velvet draped windows high above and two large rooms lead off of each side of the hall. One contains all of the files for the Dewey Decimal System cards that they still use. The other room contained a few shelves of ancient volumes and had a fireplace with chairs and a long, lamp lit table to read at. Both rooms were clad entirely in rich, dark wood paneling that had 3D carvings in a lighter wood of swags of fruit and flowers indigenous to B.C. hanging across the fireplace mantle and down pillars throughout the room. The books are all housed on the second floor, which we did not get to go see but could be seen through the windows in the hall just under the ceiling of the rotunda.

The role the Dean of Harvard, was played by Kim Zimmer who is a long time cast member of Guiding Light, a soap opera. She was delightful and a perfect casting choice. Professionals such as she make my job so much easier! Although, I have to say that most of this cast, and definitely the 2 leads, are seasoned professionals. They know how to repeat their actions at the same time every take, which is something many actors can't seem to do. It's important otherwise the editor is limited in his choices for cutting the film together. Many actors lose their best take because the continuity rendered it unusable - something I tell those who seem to have the most difficulty, and that often gets them to be more deliberate in their movements.

The week has not been without it's problems. I have had trouble getting paperwork I needed from the production office. When there are script revisions the AD generates paperwork related to scheduling and continuity that reflects those changes and I need that paperwork to do my job. Usually it shows up on set in an envelope with my name on it without me asking for it. It's just known that I need it and so it arrives. On this show, that doesn't happen. So I write an email to the production manager's assistant asking for hard copies to be sent to me as I can't print off the files they emailed me because I don't have a printer with me. They don't arrive. So I call and ask for them. I am told the AD trailer at the circus has them. So I talk to the 3rd AD and ask for them and she tells me they don't have them. So I ask if they can call the office and have them sent over to me. She does and they still don't arrive. It is now day 3 of shooting and I don't have paperwork that is vital to my job. That means that I get asked three or four questions today that I can't answer. That makes me look bad and frustrates me. When I get home I send another email to the assistant and in cap's I ask them to send the paperwork. I add that I shouldn't have to ask, it should just come automatically but I have asked repeatedly for three days now. The next day the paperwork finally shows up on set. When I get home that night, there is an email from the Production Coordinator that is so unprofessional I am in shock. It has at least three personal attacks in it, he swears at me, and he passes blame for not sending me the paperwork. It really upsets me. I compose a reply, calmly explaining why I 'complained' about not getting paperwork. I also addressed some of his attacks on my person, and then sent it off. As I pushed 'send' I saw that he had CC'd the Production Manager. So I forward a copy of my reply to him.

Also, I got on the bad side of the Director of Photography when I tried to avert a huge continuity problem. He wanted the lead actress to change her shirt because it was the same color as the walls of the room we were shooting in. Wardrobe was notified and another shirt was on it's way but it was taking a long time because circus was so far away and transport were slow that day. The 1st AD wanted to start shooting the scene in the shirt she had on and then change her, and continue shooting; a totally absurd directive. It has been my experience that, even though I will make a clear notation that a take is no good for continuity, it will often get used anyway. I can think of the worst example of that happening to me that resulted in an actor in sunglasses suddenly having none for a close-up, and then they were back on for the wide. If we change shirts during a scene, the editors probably won't use takes with both shirts as that would be a very obvious continuity issue, but they might use the takes with first shirt and then, when we see her again, she will be in the second shirt for the rest of the scenes that take place on that day and that will be a continuity problem as she is leaving for a flight in this scene and won't have had an opportunity to change before arriving at her destination. So I put a stop to it by talking to the two executive producers who are always at the village watching the filming. They jump out of their chairs to go inside the house and talk to the AD. The DP is furious with me and accuses me of 'stirring the pot'. I reply that I am just doing my job. He yells at me, as he walks away, to 'stop stirring the pot' again. I am somewhat mystified at his response as he is the one who started it all by saying the shirt she has on is no good. Apparently, despite a lot of arm waving and yelling about needing any shirt as long as it isn't blue, white or skin toned, suddenly the blue one is ok. I had no idea. And the wardrobe has no idea because they show up with an orange shirt and how he's pissed off about that. He doesn't want to have to color time orange.

Anyway, from that moment on, he makes sure that he is physically blocking my view so that I have to crane my neck to see even a sliver of the monitors. At one point a producer notices I can't see so changes seats with me as she has a wide open view to the screens. I am not in her seat for 10 minutes before the DP notices I have switched places and so moves to block my view again. It's very frustrating.

On the last day of the week, we set up for a scene in a ladies restroom. I have done many restroom scenes and they usually look like a dogs breakfast. They are very hard to light and just not an interesting room to look at. This time though, it looks great. The lighting with the colors of the room, tan and aqua, looks really, really good. I say as much to the director and attribute it to 'the magic and artistry of lighting'. When the DP returns to the monitors to check his work, the director tells him what I said. From that point on, he lets me see the monitors and actually talks to me and includes me in some of his conversations. A huge improvement that will make the rest of this show a lot easier on me.

Today is my day off. I can't remember when I have needed a weekend so badly. I am just exhausted and my back is not doing well at all. The PM gave me a brand new blow-up mattress to use. He didn't have a pump for it so I asked props if they had one I could use. They gave me a small compressor that plugs into the lighter of the car. When I got home, I tried to use it to inflate the mattress but couldn't get more than 5psi out of it. This was going to take forever. So I went inside, opened a bottle of Strongbow, and sat in the living room with Tana and blew it up by mouth. Whenever I ran out of air, I'd take a break, have some Strongbow and chat a bit, and then get back to blowing. It took two hours. But boy was it worth it. I dragged it upstairs and remade the bed with it on top of the foam base. When I fell into bed a few minutes later, it felt like sleeping on a cloud. I dropped off right away.

Today I have a list of things I need to get done. First and foremost, cash my advance cheque that they gave all of us on the first day of shooting. I haven't ever had a producer do that before and I was so grateful as I was down to my last twenty dollars. Because my credit union shut down my account when I went bankrupt, I don't have a bank account anywhere. I didn't open one up because I had no idea where I am going to be living; Kelowna or Langley. Also, I think you have to have some money to put into a new account and I didn't have any. So I have used Money Mart twice to cash a couple of small cheques I got for proof reading scripts. Then I have to pay my cell phone bill. I find close-by locations for both by looking online and then get ready to head out. I need a few small items from the store and we have been invited to a party that the transport guys are throwing at their house tonight so I need to pick up a bottle of wine or some beer to take.

I get all of that done in a few hours so I have a bit of time to put my feet up and read.

We decide that I will drive the makeup girls and the two wardrobe assistants will take their own car. The three of us don't want to stay too late. I will be the designated driver, as I don't like to drink much... one or two is plenty for me. We bring along Marjorie's GPS as the map the guys gave us has the names of streets in such tiny writing, none of us can read it. When we get in the car and underway, we realize that we don't have an actual address, just directions. The girls figure it out and get a destination plugged in, and we are on our way.

It's MILES out. We are well and truly in the sticks, on a long and windy road through forest, fields and hills. There is no cell reception for any of us. Why production would get a house for crew so far away from where we are shooting is a mystery to everyone. But when we finally arrive, the property is gorgeous. The house is nestled up in the trees and a lush green lawn leads down to a small lake. There are stone steps leading down from the lawn to a dock with a couple of lawn chairs and a diving board. It's beautiful.

Cam, the head of transport, is East Indian and he has spent all day cooking. He has a huge pot of butter chicken on the stove and pile of rice in a large bowl on the counter. He tells us to help ourselves and we do. It's amazing. The sauce is spicy and the chicken melts in my mouth. I haven't had much of an appetite these last five days, eating barely a fifth of the food that catering put on my plate every day. Three forkfuls of this chicken, and I am feeling the same way but I can't bare the thought of throwing it away and it tastes so good that I force myself to finish everything on my plate. The guys have also cooked hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob on the grille outside. They keep asking us if we want any but there is no way I could eat another bite - even though the corn looks so tempting. I don't know what's the matter with me but I just don't feel myself internally. Something's wrong and I have no idea what it is. Maybe it's just the back pain that's messing me up.

The guys have gone all out. There is a new garbage can on the deck full of ice water and is stuffed with beer and Strongbow. There's wine, rum and vodka inside with all the mixers. They bought a new stereo for the garden so there would be music outside as well as in [and it's playing - LOUD]. The whole crew was invited. So far five of us have shown up; the girls from our house. The guys seem disappointed about it and I don't blame them. The two wardrobe assistants get up and start dancing to the music and some of the guys join in. A couple of them are really good dancers. One guy, also East Indian, is amazing. Tana and Marjorie eventually join them and they start to bug me to join in. I tell them I have to have a few drinks in me before I will dance. But I eventually get up and sort of dance. I am far too self conscious to get into it though, and I am not wearing the right clothes to feel good dancing so I go outside to join some people out there.

I am near the counter with all the alcohol on it when I notice a square silver box, about 5 inches on each side and half an inch thick. I pick it up and whatever is inside is advertised as 'thin, strong, and sensitive'. My eyebrows shoot up. What exactly do these guys have planned for the evening? I open it up to peek inside and chuckle when I see the spool of fishing line nestled there. I show it to Tana and we share a good laugh over it. Who knew that fishing line needed to be sensitive?

Eventually the second AD shows up with our two lead cast members, Drew and Britt. Britt gets into socializing right away but Drew takes a plate of the butter chicken and a beer and goes to sit at the bottom of the garden looking out over the, now dark, lake. Tana asks me where he is after a bit, and I point down to the end of the lawn. She asks me why he's down there alone and I say I think maybe he is texting his girlfriend as I saw a phone in his hand, I think. After a bit I wander down there to check out the hot tub and to see if he's ok, and he is just enjoying the view to the lake. There are a few lights from houses across the way shining into the water, and the stars are very visible out here. We chat for a bit and he tells me that he is concerned about getting back into Victoria as they drove out here with the needle on empty before they even got going. I am dumbfounded. This is a long way out and there's not a gas station for miles. Britt has to catch a flight at 7 a.m. in the morning. Drew is really worried about being stuck out on the road with no cell phone service [so he wasn't texting] and I tell him that we have room in my car and he can come back with us. He seems grateful. I tell him that we don't plan on staying much longer, if that's okay with him. He say's that's fine. He'd rather go home early than be out on the road in the dark with no one around for miles all night.

He goes up to talk to Britt and she doesn't want him to leave without her so he declines the ride back. I talk to the girls and we figure we can fit three in the tiny back seat as Britt is so small. There's only two seat-belts back there but it's better than being stuck in the middle of nowhere if the 3rd AD's car should run out of gas. So I make them the offer and they decide to come with us. We leave about 20 minutes later. We feel badly because there's no way to slip out like we had planned due to only 7 people showing up. The guys are good with it though and really appreciate that we made the effort to come out. I am glad I went. I almost didn't because of feeling so off.

We drive Drew and Britt to their hotel in downtown Victoria and then head back to our place. We all fall into bed pretty much as soon as we get in.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I went to sleep to the sound of waves again. On my iPod. I wake to the sound of someone knocking on the door and I hear a woman's voice say, "Ladies?" I look at the clock; 3:54 a.m. WHO could be at the door at this hour? I get up and look over the rail down to the entrance hall. The front door has tinted glass and I can see outside. No one is there. I get back into bed and am thinking I dreamed it when I hear it again. Knock, knock, knock - "Ladies?". I call out, "Yes?" but no one replies. I roll over and try to go back to sleep. I can now hear the women downstairs talking and moving about. I need ear plugs. I don't have to be up for over an hour yet. It's not going to matter much now but by the end of the week I will be needing every second I can get.

I must drop off because my alarm wakes me at 5 a.m. I roll onto the floor and then stand up. Not as easy as it sounds with my bum knee and bad back. I need a BED!

I am out of the door by 6 a.m., map in hand. I find my way to set without a problem; it takes about 20 minutes to get to Sidney, where we are shooting all day today. I park my car in a huge field with the other crew cars, and walk to the catering truck for a scoop-full of scrambled eggs and some orange juice. I want to be really good about what I eat on this show. There's always so much food between catering and craft service, and I end up gaining weight. But I really want to lose weight so my resolve is strong. At the moment.

I heft my bag into a 15 passenger van and climb in the back beside Jill, the 'A' camera operator. I have worked with her before so we chat a bit about how dismal this past year has been for both of us insofar as working goes. We get to set, a 200 year old church just across the street from Brentwood Bay, in less than five minutes. It is surrounded by a graveyard on three sides. It is very picturesque. We are starting out inside, in a room off the tiny main sanctuary. This scene is before the wedding of two very young people. The bride is with her friend getting ready and both mothers will be in this scene. I leave my music stand, which I use to hold my big fat binder, and work bag with my big fat binder inside and which is, basically, an office desk on wheels, on the lawn and go inside to see where the director is. I haven't met him yet as I had to miss the production meeting due to being with Shonah while she had her wisdom teeth out. I don't know many people on this crew as I haven't worked for this production company, Front Street Productions, before. I soon meet the director, the 1st Assistant Director and the two executive Producers.

There's a flurry of activity happening already as the set decorating team get the room ready, as well as the sanctuary for a later scene. The grips and electrics are already hard at work setting up some preliminary lighting. Soon 'on the clock' is called and a private blocking is held. This means just the actors, the director and 1st AD, the Director of Photography (DP), Jill and myself are allowed in the room while the scene is played through to see where the actors will stand and deliver their lines. This way the DP will know where he needs to put the lights and the camera operator will know what shots she has to get. Once we run through the scene a couple of times, the rest of the crew is called in to watch a run through. Then the actors leave to finish hair, makeup and getting dressed in their costumes; stand-ins take their places so that the DP can light them. I go outside to find out where 'video village' will be set up. This is a cart with two monitors on it that are worth about $40,000 each. The camera assistant will run a line to the monitors from the cameras and then the Director, DP, and myself will sit and watch the filming of the scene. Clustered around us while the cameras are rolling will also be the producers, the hair and makeup gals, and probably the on-set wardrobe assistant, props and set dresser. They will watch for their own continuity, and I will watch everyones continuity to make sure that everyone and everything is consistent from scene to scene and take to take.

We get a bit of a late start to the day, which is typical for the first day. Everyone is getting used to everyone elses working habits and needs and it typically takes three days for the team to gel.

The weather is holding up. The day starts out cloudy but gets clearer and hotter as it progresses. At one point I have to bring out my hand fan to keep myself cool. A girl in wardrobe gave it to me years ago and I use it all the time on set. I love it.

I see Carmen on set, the Wardrobe Key who is staying in the house with me, and tell her about the strange knocking this morning. She tells me that it was her girls trying to get into the bathroom downstairs that the make-up gals had locked from the inside. I laugh and say tell her how I had jumped out of bed to see who was at the door.

Props bring the chairs over to the village and the girl apologizes to me because the name on my card that slots into a clear vinyl pocket is someone elses name. Apparently I was not the first choice for Script Supervisor on this show. She tells me that it will take a couple of days to get a new one made with my name on it. I tell her that I don't have that big of an ego. Just take some gaffer tape and write my name on it and put it over the other gals name. And I only ask for this so that people don't call me by the wrong name and then get annoyed when I don't reply. She thanks me profusely and a few minutes later, my chair has my name on it. Some people think that it's an ego thing to have your name on your chair but, in actual fact, it just means that you get the same chair back all day when they have to move them around and so the pocket that hangs off of the arm has your water bottle in it and your garbage or saved cookies. Or script. If that is what you put in it. I don't as my script, two of them - one for me to scribble notes all over and one for the editor with camera lines on it, are in my binder at all times.

The main actor in this show, Drew Seeley, is a terribly cute young man. I looked him up on IMDB last night, something I do with ever actor I work with so that I know who they are, and he is a Disney boy. He is also a singer. I chatted with him as he waited for the lighting to be ready and he is a pleasant and polite young man who works very hard. He tells me that he spends a lot of time traveling to state fairs to perform. I would love to hear him sing. I read on IMBD that his voice was used along with Zach Ephron's for High School Musical. He tells me that is how he got in with Disney.

The very gruff head of transport comes up to talk to me and I find out that they don't need my car as the director doesn't like it. He wants one older. He tells me that production won't be paying for the car, I have to, and that they would have only paid $50 for one day's use anyway. This is a big hit. Over $600 for the three weeks. I am not thrilled, but I don't have a choice. I have to have a car.

Once we are finished with the scene in the side room, we move into the sanctuary for a short scene. It's just a portion of the wedding service. After that, we move outside for a scene of the family having their photo taken, and then across the street for a wide establishing shot of the church.

Once that is done, we break for lunch. There are always several selections on the menu. I have the beef and some peas and carrots. I take a little of the spinach salad from the table. I am really not feeling well, due to my back hurting, so I end up eating very little of it.

After lunch, we move to a new location. I pile into a van with the 1st camera assistant who has the camera on his lap in the back. We drive to a warehouse that has been converted into a bus depot, with the talent of the set dec crew. There are two Greyhound-type of buses sitting outside. We film a heart wrenching scene of the now not so newley-weds (about 9 months) as the wife leaves the young husband and her baby son. She won't be coming back. I fight back tears during the rehearsal. This is going to be a real tear-jerker of a scene.

Once we film 8 different angles of the scene, we wrap 45 minutes early. Because of our late start today, we have to push two scenes that take place in another location to tomorrow. This company does not go into overtime, they can't afford it. I am happy to be done early, and take the next fifteen minutes to finish up my paperwork.

I catch a van to the circus - what we call the place where all of the trailers are parked. I head into the AD trailer, which is a small office on wheels, and make copies of all the paperwork I generated today - about 30 pages. These will be sent to the production office where they will make a copy for themselves and send a copy to the editors. The editors will use my notes to find the shots they need to cut the film. They will read what takes didn't work and why; which takes the director liked; if there were sound problems - like the airplanes that flew over the church every 20 minutes at about 400 feet as we were right next to an airport(!); that sort of information.

I get into my little car and drive back to the house, missing my turn-off and have to take the next exit and go back one. When I get in the house, I put all the paperwork back into my binder and prep the pages for tomorrow.

All in all - not a bad first day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I can't figure out how to work the space age looking clock in my room so I set my cell phone for 3:45 a.m. and turn out the light. I fall right off to sleep. The bed is SO comfy. But I wake up with a start and panic, thinking I slept in. I look at the clock and it's 12:30 a.m. I fall back on the pillow in relief and drop back into unconsciousness. I then repeat this process hourly until 3:30 a.m. when I give up and get up. I put on make-up, fix my hair and pack up the rest of my bits. I try to be quiet but Debbie hears me once I am up on the main floor and gets up. At 4:20 I still haven't heard from John. He was to call me when he was leaving his house and he said it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to mine. So I call him and he says he is on his way and was just picking up his cell phone to call. I give him ten minutes and then drag all of my stuff to the curb and wait in the dark for him to come. He arrives about 5 minutes later and we load all of my stuff and drive off.

He's an older guy and really nice. A gentle sort of soul. We talk about work, or the lack thereof, in the past year. He has worked for this production company for many years. This is my first show with them. We make really good time to the ferry, and as we get close, the sign over the road says that our sailing is at 62% capacity. It's just after 5 when we pull up to the ticket booth. We park in our designated lane. There's hardly any vehicles waiting so that 62% must be mostly reserved. John goes inside the terminal to find a coffee and I put my seat back and close my eyes. My back has been really hurting these past couple of days and I try to get comfortable but it isn't happening. John comes back before too long and we sit and wait as the sky lightens as the sun comes up.

It's full daylight by the time the ferry starts to load. We get parked on the top level and so just have to walk up one flight of steps to the restaurant deck. John goes off in one direction and I go line up for the cafeteria.

A guy falls into line right behind me and he is on his cell phone. He has a great Scottish accent. He is done with his call just as the ferry begins to pull out of the slip and he makes a comment about how quckly we seem to be getting underway. I turn and agree, and then comment on his accent. We strike up a conversation that lasts right up until the line starts to move and we finally get to the counter. I order the waffles with strawberries and cream, as the bacon and eggs might be greasy and my stomach is still not great. His order is ready before mine and he goes off to find a seat. When mine is ready, I find a spot and eat while I people watch. There are 4 kids sitting at a table beside me and it's evident from their conversation that they are all off to their first year at a private school. The girl is still dressed in her pajamas. I wouldn't have dared to do that when I was kid.

When I am done with the delicious waffles, I go find a seat in the lounge area. I find one beside the window and realize that we are about to head into Deception Pass. This is the best part of the trip and I pull out my camera. Just as I do, a ferry appears at the other end and I get some good shots.

All too soon the announcement comes on that it's time to return to our vehicles and I make my way down to the van. John is already there and as soon as we dock we get on our way to the production office, which is right downtown Victoria. When we get there, he has to leave right away to pick up cast at the airport so I unload my bags while he goes up to the office to get his directions. There's nowhere to leave my luggage.... I don't want to drag them all the way up the narrow stairs to the second floor where the offices are. They're way too heavy and my back is far too fragile today. I pile them in the narrow hall leading to the steps and then go up to meet the production staff.

I meet Miles right away and he is as nice and affable in person as he sounded in all of his emails to me. I meet his assistants and then the Wardrobe Designer walks out of the back. I haven't seen Carmen since we worked together on The Collector, over 5 years ago. But we recognize each other and hug, exclaiming how great it is to see each other and how good the other looks. She truly does look amazing. I love her hair; a mass of barely contained wild curls. She has to get right back to work so she goes off and I go into Miles' office.

We go over some details about my paperwork that he should have ordered by now but hasn't. And then I go to the copier to make copies of the stuff they aren't going to order from the printer on NCR paper. Once that is done, I get two new scripts and go off into a corner to set up my binder. That takes all of 15 minutes. Now I am done and I need to find a way to the house that the production has rented for the wardrobe dept, the make-up girls, and me. It has a hot tub and I can't wait to get in it. Hopefully it will ease my back ache.

Miles gets me a chair to wait in his office and I sit there for the next four hours and watch the utter chaos of pre-production swirl around me. He's on the phone, on the computer, there is someone knocking on his open door every minute with all kinds of problems and questions. They say I have the toughest job on set. Maybe I do, but this guy definitely has the toughest job in the production office. I would go mental trying to do what he's doing. Cast needs lunch. Cast needs to be taken to the Dr.'s for their medicals. The Dr. is waiting and doesn't want to have too much time between. But the young guy who is playing the lead hasn't arrived from the airport yet. Then Miles' phone rings and it's the actor wanting to know where his ride is. Miles gets on the phone and calls John. John doesn't pick up so Miles leaves a message. Then the actor calls again and says he's ready to take a cab. Miles tells him John is there and looking for him - even though he didn't speak to him. He calls John again and this time he picks up. He's waiting at the baggage carousel and so Miles tells him to go outside and look at the cab waiting area. He tells John to stay on the line until he's found the actor. Thirty seconds later he say's "Great. Good. Thank's John." and that's another fire put out. His whole day goes like this.

He turns to me after I have been there a couple of hours and says that it's not going to be easy to get me a ride to the house. I ask about renting me a car. He gets his assistant to put a call through to the Line Producer, who is in Vancouver (?!) right at the moment, working on two upcoming shows. That is so unusual... one show at a time is more than enough chaos I would think. Anyhow, he's on the line and she hands the phone to me. I tell him I need a rental car but don't have a credit card. I ask if transport can get me one and then take it off my pay. I say it would be nice if they could cover part of it but he tells me they can't do that. He say's he will set it up with the head of transport. I go back into Miles office and tell him. After an hour he's not sure it's happening so he calls the car rental company that they are renting a few cars and trucks from, and asks for a compact for me for today. They say they will look into it and get back to them. About 20 minutes later, they call back and ask if we need two cars? Because transport just called and asked for a compact. Miles isn't sure if they are both for me so he tells the guy he will get right back to him and he calls the head of transport. They say that they are going to rent me the car, use it as a picture car (in the movie) and so their department will pay for it. I am thrilled as this just saved me $600. Miles is pretty happy for me as he calls the agency back and asks them to bring it right over.

Soon a guy shows up and he helps me get all of my bags into the cute ice blue Suzuki SX4. I need to take him back to the car lot so he gets in and drives there so that I can get my bearings to find my way back. When we get there, I go inside to inquire about a GPS unit. I don't know Victoria well and the thoughts of having to find my way to a different location every morning freaks me out a little. I can't be late. But the GPS is $12 a day so over $200 for three weeks. I could buy one cheaper, if I had the cash. I don't have the cash so I will have to use a map. They root through a drawer and give me a map of Victoria, and not a cheapie tourist one but a real map. I thank them profusely and leave.

I get in to drive and I love the way this car handles. It's smooth and fast and corners tight.

I head back to the production office and go in to find who has the address and keys for the house. The office assistant has a map already printed out for me and there's a lock box on the house and the code to it is on the top of the map. So I am good to go.

I drive to the house; the road turns into a highway and I watch for my cut off - Royal Oak Avenue. I find it and take the exit. Right at the corner is a small outdoor plaza with a grocery store, a liquor store and several other small shops. I make a mental note of it so that I can come back and get some food supplies. As I follow the map, the directions lead me into a very upscale neighbourhood with narrow streets lined with tall oaks and huge homes. I finally find my street and slowly make my way up the hill, looking for the address. I find it and pull down a steep short drive paved with red stones, and park. The house is grey and modern; very 80's.

I get out, punch the numbers into the pad, and take out the key. I unlock the double maroon colored doors and step inside to a cool grey interior where every level surface is either tile or laminate. Directly opposite me is a wall of windows with a view to die for. The water far below, and not a quarter mile in the distance, is Haro Straight and I can see San Juan Island and Mt. Baker in the distance.

No one is home so I walk around and get my bearings. There's three or four steps down to the main floor off of the entrance and the open concept plan contains the kitchen to the right, the dining room straight ahead, and the living room to the left. Through a door off the kitchen is a 2 pc bathroom and the laundry room. Down the curving open stairs are two bedrooms, one containing a queen size bed. This is where the make-up girls will stay. There's a huge bathroom off to the side in two rooms. One holds the bath/shower and sink, the other the toilet. On the other end of the floor is another bedroom that has two twin beds. This is where the wardrobe assistants are staying. Between the two rooms is a small TV room with a couch that pulls out into a bed.

Upstairs is a large master bedroom with a queen size bed. Off of it, is an open bathroom (no door) with a large sunken jacuzzi tub and a huge walk-in shower. This is Carmen's room and her stuff is all over the bedroom. At the other end of the floor, across a breezway that looks over the dining room, is a den with a TV and built-in bench seating. This is to be my room but there's no bed. Carmen had mentioned that I would be sleeping on the pull out couch but that we would probably want to move it into this room as the other room downstairs will have people going through it all of the time. I look outside for the hot tub but there doesn't seem to be one anywhere. Hmmm. I am disappointed as I was really looking forward to that.

I look around the house for a cupboard with some bedding but can't find any. I go downstairs and pull out the bed on the couch to see if it's already made up, but it isn't. There's just a mattress protector on it. Ok. So this is not going to work. I call the office and ask to speak to Miles' assistant, as there's no way I want to bother him with this after seeing what he goes through all day long. I tell her the situation. "Oh no!", she says, "There's no bedding anywhere?" "Not that I can find." I tell her. "And, at my age, I am not spending three weeks on a pull out couch. That mattress is about 2" thick." She tells me that she will see what she can do and get back to me.

Meanwhile I go back upstairs to assess the situation. I pull the 4" foam seats off of the built-in benches and lay them on the floor, side by side. I am thinking that if I take the mattress from the couch downstairs and put it on top, this could work. But I will need some bedding. She calls me back in about an hour and tells me that I can share a room in a hotel with Anya, the 3rd AD. I am not crazy about this option as I never share a room when out of town for work. My hours are long and I need privacy, quiet and sleep. But I tell her I will go for that and ask if she has checked with Anya to see if she's ok with it. She says she hasn't and will talk to her and get back to me. I don't have to wait long before she calls to tell me Anya isn't ok with that. In the interim I have gone through the house again, to try to find a cupboard that has sheets, and found one downstairs. I tell her this and that I will try to make the foam bed work. But if not, they will need to arrange something else for me. When I hang up, I realize that I really want to make it work somehow because I am looking forward to spending time with these women.

I can't drag that mattress up two flights by myself so I will wait until everyone else gets back here to enlist some help.

I bring all of my bags inside and leave them in the entrance hall just in case I am not spending the night here. Then I get in the car and head down to that little plaza to get some provisions.

I buy a few things but I have to be careful with my money. I only have $75 to my name and I realized on the way down to get groceries that I might need to put gas in the car before I get my first pay cheque. It's full up now and it is a compact car that probably gets great mileage, but I don't know how far flung the locations will be for the next week or so. I just get a few things and head back to the house. As of Thursday, all my meals will be on set, so I just need something for the next couple of days and the weekend.

I get home, mark my stuff with a Sharpie, and put it in the fridge and find an empty drawer for my dry goods. I find my iPod in my bags and plug it into the small stereo in the kitchen. The sound is great and I find a playlist that is mellow and settle down with my book on the bench seat in the kitchen window.

Carmen and one of her wardrobe assistants get home at about 9:30. Long day. Right away Carmen asks me about my sleeping arrangements and what I want to do. I tell her that I just need help getting the mattress upstairs and so we go down and she takes it up for me with her assistant. We make up the bed and she brings me the quilt that was on her bed because she brought her own. We lay it on top of the mattress to give it more of a cushion as it is thin and I can feel the springs in there and then put the sheets on. She gives me a blanket and I found a large lap one so I am all set up.

They make something to eat. I had warmed up a Weight Watchers dinner earlier so am not hungry. I sit with Carmen at the dining table and we get caught up on each others lives. She asks about my kids and I am touched that she remembers. I tell her about Ashleigh getting married and she wants to hear all about it. When I tell her it was a destination wedding, she wants to see the pictures. I tell her we can look at them tomorrow when she isn't so tired out. We both head to bed. The young assistant stays up with the other assistant that just arrived and, as I climb into bed, they are making popcorn. Oh to be young again. Because my room is open to downstairs, loft style, I can hear everything so I pull out my iPod docking station and find the track I bought of waves hitting the shore, turn it up, turn off the light, and I am gone in less than 5 minutes.

When I wake up during the night, my back is killing me. This bed is not going to work at all. By morning I am almost incapacitated. It's 7:30 and the other gals have left already. I get up and make a cup of tea and have a few spoonfuls of the lemon yogurt I bought. I was hoping it would be tart, but it is sickly sweet so don't eat much. I then head back upstairs and into the huge shower, hoping that some hot water on my back will ease the pain.

An hour later, I am showered, dressed, hair and make-up on, the iPod playing David Grey downstairs, and I am at my computer finishing up my one line synopsis of the script. That done, I send it off and my day is my own. I shoot off an email to an office PA to send me a cast list so I can look them up and see who I am working with, and ask for a phone call when my supplies arrive.

It's pissing it down outside, a real West-Coast rainy day. The cloud cover is so low and gathers through the next hour that I can't see the ocean anymore. I am hoping it gets it out of it's system before we shoot. I hate working in the rain as does everyone else but the challenge of trying to keep my paperwork dry is such a pain.

I make some pea soup out of a can for lunch and then settle back down with my book. I end up falling asleep on the bench in the kitchen and when I wake the rain has stopped and the blue sky is peeking out through the clouds. My back is driving me nuts so I go into the livingroom and lay on my back over a large ottoman with the upper half of me hanging off, trying to stretch it out. It doesn't help, in fact it feels like my back might go out so I abandon that effort. I walk around a bit and as I stand at a counter in the dining room to look at a book about the house and the area, I see an SUV pull up on the road outside the house, back up, and then pull into the driveway. The make-up gals have arrived! I open the door just as Tana gets to it and we laugh and hug. We haven't seen each other in ages and I have been looking forward to this as soon as I saw she was on the crew. Her assistant is someone I haven't worked with before, her name is Marjorie. We are all in the same age range, as is Carmen. I love it!

I help them in with the lighter of their bags. They are stunned at the house. Because this is a lower budget independent film, Tana was expecting that it would be a bit of a dive. I show them around and they are so happy. I ask if they were told it had a hot tub. Tana's face lights up and I have to quickly tell her that it doesn't. I explain that I was told it does but I think that the fellow was confusing a jaccuzi tub with a hot tub. Tana is ok with it as she didn't pack a swim suit. I packed two. Oh well.

She takes one look at my 'bed' and tells me that I need to call production and get them to buy a bed for me. "Two hundred dollars, and you have a bed. They can afford that. You can't be sleeping on the floor." I tell her that I am going to take the pull out mattress off because I could still feel the springs all night. She tells me to call production. I tell her I will give it one more night and if I am still in pain, I will.

I tell them that I just read in the book about the house that there are bikes in the garage for our use. Apparently, no one lives in this place, it's a rental for vacationers. Kinda like the villas in the BVI. Yes, it always comes back to that place in my mind. I can't help myself.

Anyway, we go out to the garage to see, and sure enough there are two bikes there. Tana opens a large cupboard on the far wall and finds a queen sized piece of 2" foam rolled up. Her face lights up. "Hey! Maybe this on the bed will help you out." she says as she pulls it down off the shelf.

I take it inside and, while they unpack, peel the sheets off of my bed and haul the mattress off and remake it with the foamie. I hope it works.

Monday, September 7, 2009


My poor girl. She is so sore and swollen after having all four wisdom teeth removed under general anesthetic. She is being very stoic and doesn't complain. But when she tries to eat some of the food I have prepared for her, she often grimaces in pain. And she asks me when her next dose of Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen is due about half an hour before it is.

I picked her up and took her to the dentist office at 11:00 on Thursday and she was in there for an hour. While she was out for the count, I went and got her prescriptions filled for the T3's and penicillin. When I got back to the office, it wasn't long before they came out to reception to tell me that she was ready to go home. I went in the back where she was laying on a cot in a small room. She had her eyes closed and when the nurse spoke, she opened them and smiled at me in a dreamy way. 'That will be the last smile I see from her in a long time,' was my thought. And it was.

I get her home and into bed and then start the day-long routine of setting the oven timer for 15 minutes per side for an ice pack and then 30 minutes rest and putting the pack back in the freezer. I am up and down out of my chair all day and am wiped out by the time I go home. I also make her some jello and soup, and go to the store for some applesauce, juice, Gatoraid, and canned pears. I make sure she eats at regular intervals as the nurse said it was important for her to get some nutrition. Shonah had bought herself some popsicles in anticipation and so she has a few of those as well.

Friday and Saturday I spend most of the day with her right until she goes to bed at night. Saturday, I spend the morning packing up to leave for the coast. It doesn't take as long as I thought it would. I clean the bathroom and the kitchen and then get over to Shonah's. We spend some time watching episodes of Friends that a friend of hers loaned her and we laugh a lot. Well, I laugh a lot. Poor Shonah holds her cheeks and chuckles carefully.

My friend Brenda sends me an email on Friday to tell me that her sister is in Kelowna and is coming back on Sunday so I can catch a ride with her and her husband. I am thrilled as Shonah will not be in any sort of shape to do the trip with me. When I call to make the arrangements they aren't sure when they are leaving; they might even leave on Monday, which is too late for me. So we arrange that they will call me and let me know. I have packed for the bus, just in case, and plan to leave one big bag behind with Shonah; summer clothing and shoes that I won't need on set. The other bag is bulging with what I will need. And I still need to go through my stored clothes to find my micro fleece long johns, my rain gear and socks and my boots. Who knows what kind of weather we will have over there this time of year. It could be gorgeous and warm or raining and cold. There will be some night shooting as well, and that close to the water, it won't be a warm night.

On Sunday I go over to Shonah's at ten in the morning and spend a couple of hours with her. She tells me that she wants to go to a barbeque in the afternoon for just an hour. It's a meet and greet for the youth leaders to meet the new grade seven kids that will start youth group this fall. So I take drop her off at that and go to have a hot chocolate at Perks but it's closed so I just sit and read a book in the car until she's done. She comes out pretty flushed and tired and as I drive her back home she says she just wants to go to bed. At her place I get out of the car and give her a hug and kiss and then leave, knowing I won't see her for a month or two. I hate leaving her when she's like this. I wish I could have two more days with her; then the swelling would be gone and she might be off the T 3's and able to function a bit better. But I have to leave her.

Brenda's sister, who is also Sandy, comes at four in the afternoon just as the skies open up and rain falls like I have rarely seen in this part of the world. My soft bag full of clothes has to go in the back of the truck and if it's raining like this all the way, my stuff will be soaked through. So I fetch a couple of garbage bags and some duct tape and her husband and I wrestle the huge bag into the plastic ones and tape it all up. When we are done, we are soaked through. Reminded me of Virgin Gorda; it absolutely pelted it down, like I have only seen in movies, our last morning there.

He makes amazing time on the trip down and what would normally take 3-4 hours takes him just over two. We went through about 4 or 5 radar traps and he never got caught. He seemed to slow down just in the nick of time. So I get to Debbie's, my friend who is letting me stay with her for the next two nights, at 7:20. We sit and have some tea and chat until 11:00 and then, both of us almost senseless with fatigue, stumble to our respective rooms.

Another dear friend emailed me on Sunday and told me that I could use her car all day Monday, as she didn't need it. I gratefully accepted her generous offer and it made my day so much easier than I thought it was going to be. I headed over to Brenda's to cut her hair and then she took me to see the house they just bought. It's brand new and gorgeous. It has a basement suite that I may rent with another girl. It still needs a kitchen putting in and a bedroom walling off so I had a bit of trouble picturing what it will be like when done. There is a huge bedroom already there but the other girl will take it. She just has a twin bed and I have a queen so it seems a bit backwards but, whatever. I am just happy to have a prospect for somewhere to stay. They won't take possession until two weeks after I get back from the Island so Debbie said I can stay with her. Honestly, I don't know where I'd be right now if it wasn't for my wonderful friends.

After Brenda's, I head up to Cary's. Fran took all of my bags of shoes and clothing over there for me because she and Tom are going away for the long weekend. Cary is SO helpful, bending over backwards to make it easy to go through my bags, as my back is absolutely killing me. It started two days ago and I am in constant agony. She can see the strain in my face and comments on it a few times. My bags are out in her garage and I find the items I need in short order. I don't remember doing this (it doesn't surprise me, however) but I put all my work clothes in the suitcase last so they are right on top. And when I open my work bag (I call it my drag-bag because it's on wheels) not only is all of my equipment in there as I knew it would be, but so are my work lights, my gloves and my arm warmers. I am impressed with myself as I go back into Cary's and she can't believe I am done in less than ten minutes. "I thought you'd be out there for an hour or two." she says.

She wants me to stay for lunch and she makes us each a huge chicken salad in a tortilla shell bowl that she makes herself. Even though my stomach has been acting up lately and is sore today, I don't have any trouble eating the lot. It is delicious, as usual. Everything she serves is delicious.

I tell her that I want to go see Ashleigh and Rob and that Christopher and Izzy are spending the day together downtown Vancouver and, when I called him, agreed to go over to the apartment in North Van and meet me there and the five of us would go out for dinner. But I am really not feeling good because of my back and it's worse when I sit down, so I am dreading driving all that way. And with it being a holiday Monday, I anticipate that the traffic will be horrendous going across the bridge from Surrey to Coquitlam, as it always is. We listen to the radio to see what they say about traffic, and it sounds like it might not be too bad. I decide to go for it.

I stop off at Debbies to drop off the gear I picked up at Cary's, and to grab the little zester I found for Ashleigh at the garage sale. Then I hit the highway and, surprise, it's smooth sailing all the way and I make it to North Vancouver in less than half an hour.

Just as I pull up to the curb, Ashleigh and Rob are walking out of their apartment. I honk and they laugh as they come up to the car and open the passenger door. "Where do you think you're going, when you know I'm coming?" I ask in a cheeky tone. "You were supposed to call when you were on your way." Ashleigh says. Oh right. I was too. They tell me that they were just going to walk down to Lonsdale Key to Opus art supplies. I tell them to hop in and I'll drive them. So they do. It's a long way down the road, it would have taken them over an hour, there and back. I get there in 5 mintues and park. We cross the road and walk up the hill a bit and just as we are about to climb the steps to the door of Opus, we hear them dead bolt it from the inside. DANG! Even though it's Monday, because it's Labour Day, they are closing at 5 like they do on Sundays. We groan and the person inside hears us. She unlocks the door and pops her head out. "I heard that," she says with a smile, "is it going to be a quick trip?" she asks. "No." says Ashleigh. "Oh, then sorry. I am going home." she says. We thank her anyway, it was so nice of her, and head back to the car.

We go back to the apartment and while we wait for Izzy and Christopher, I cut Rob's hair because I happen to have my scissors again - just like last time. Then Ashleigh sits me down on the couch and shows me their professional wedding photos that they just got from the photographer in the BVI. The photographer has adjusted the color so that, even though they are color prints, they have a sepia tone to them. Ashleigh's dress was a soft white, they call it champagne white, but in the photos it looks ivory. I think they're gorgeous and so does Ashleigh and Rob. The prints they ordered have also been put on a disc and Rob makes one for me so that I can get some printed later. I hope they are the same color on the disc.

Christopher and Izzy show up and after hugs all around, that feels SO good, we head out for sushi. Lonsdale, the main road at the end of Ashleigh and Rob's street, is a wealth of little restaurants of every ethnic description, and there has to be at least five sushi places. The one they like is closed so we go to another one. The prices are so reasonable. Cheap really. I had 10 pieces of veggie tempura in Kelowna one day and it was $11.00. Here, 10 pc's - two of which are prawns - is $4.50. A huge difference. And their rolls are $3.00. Even the fancy ones are less than $5. When our food comes, it's absolutely delicious. Some of the best I have ever had. And my bill is $7.00. Can't argue with that.

The conversation is fun and we laugh a lot. I am crazy about my kids and the partners they have chosen are wonderful, special people. I love them all so much. I sit there and bask in the precious moments I have with them all, knowing that it will end way too soon and I will be alone again. And sure enough, I look at my watch and gasp. It's almost 8 and I wanted to be back in Langley by then. I have arranged for a ride to the ferry in the morning with a transport guy from the show. He lives in Cloverdale, which is fifteen minutes closer to the ferry than I am yet he said he will come and pick me up right at my door. He has to be on the 7 a.m. ferry so he's picking me up at 4:30 a.m. That's a pretty early call and I want to be in bed by 9. And before I can do that, I have to pack up all the stuff I got today into my bags. I reluctantly tell the kids that I have to get going, so we pay our bill and leave. On the walk back to the apartment, Christopher asks Ashleigh and Rob if they are up for a game of Uno. "Noooo!" I cry, "You can't have fun without me. You know how I hate to miss anything!" They laugh and Christopher says, "OK, we're just going home then." with a big grin. We get to my car and I hug each one of them, hating to let go, and then watch as they all go inside to play Uno, and I get in and drive off. It's 8:15 and I am so torn, knowing I have no choice... I have to get the car back and then get to bed.

I make good time and return it with many, many thanks and more gas in it than there was when I picked it up, as a small thank-you, and Debbie comes to fetch me home. I take 20 minutes to pack my stuff and then get straight to bed. It's going to be a short, short night.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Michael just got back from a week down in Washington to visit his sister who has a holiday place there. We went out for dinner because I told him I needed a stopwatch and he said he had one I could borrow. So we turned the handing it over into a date! We went to Cactus Club and had a lovely time. And why do I need a stopwatch, you ask? Because....


Yep. After an entire year of not working, I got a call to do a movie over on Vancouver Island and I got the position. So now I am deep in prep, breaking down the script; timing it, giving each scene a page count in eighths (so one scene may be 2/8 of a page, another 1 4/8), and looking for continuity errors, general mistakes, and putting together my one-line synopsis. And hoping like crazy I haven't forgotten how to do my job once I get into the hectic pace and atmosphere of being on set.

The tenants downstairs have agreed to take care of the cat and plants and get the mail. I need to find the resident son a ride to the airport, and myself a ride to the coast. I asked my daughter if she is up to it, if she will take me and she said she would. But she gets her wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow under general anesthetic so not sure if she will be good to go by Sunday. I need to find a place to stay in Langley for two nights while I go through my suitcases of clothes I have stored there, and pull together what I need for three weeks of shooting in probably every weather but snow. There will be a few night shoots as well and it will be cold by the water so big puffy down coat will be required!

Last night, while out on previously mentioned dinner date, there was a huge electrical storm and it knocked out power just as we were seated. It came back on in short order and we had one or two brown-outs during dinner. When I got back to my place, the internet was down and still was this morning. I tried for several hours to get online. What a time to lose it when I have so many emails to send and receive to the production office about the show! Michael had offered to let me print the script and anything else I needed on his printer. I planned to download the drivers off of the internet for the printer here but now I couldn't get to them. So I called Michael to take him up on his offer. He had me go down to the modem and wireless router and try a bunch of stuff to get it working. He was mystified because the modem lights were indicating that the internet was coming into the house just fine. He offered to come over and fix it... he is an IT guy. I wasn't eager to put him out like that but he insisted. He came over and it turned out that the router had lost the IP address, or something like that, and he had me back on line in half an hour. I offered to take him out to lunch as payment and he took me to a little Malaysian restaurant on the main street of Kelowna. I would have just walked past the place, in fact I am sure I have, many times. It was delicious. What a hidden gem of a place. My friend Donna hired me to paint her bathroom this week so I have a wallet full of cash and this meal came to $16. Not bad at all.

I am on the Island until September 28th. Where I will be after that, I have no idea. I am kinda getting attached to Michael and he isn't into long distance relationships at all, and neither am I, so I am thinking about coming back up here. But I think I will do that only if Disney calls. I wrote to Lance Priebe, the guy who was in the first interview with me, and is the founder of Club Penguin. Basically I said that I was on the island until the end of the month and after that, unless I heard from them, I would be staying on the coast to find work there, that I can't wait indefinitely for them. But that I would be willing to work as a Customer Service Rep until a position more suited to my skill set presented itself. I don't know if it will do any good but I am hoping so. He said he wanted me working for the company so maybe this will get something going in time for when I am done the film.

OR... if I win the lottery... I just found out that Agape Cottages is for sale on Tortola. This is a small B&B type of place that is run by a Christian couple and they give drastically reduced rates to missionaries, pastors and burnt out lay people. Now I could for sure get into that. I have always wanted to own a B&B; my husband and I used to talk about running a place for that exact group of people; and I - as you well know - want to live in the BVI at least part of the year. If I won the lottery, I would get my kids to come with me and help me run the place. Then I'd never leave.

All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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