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...

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.
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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