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...

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.
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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