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...

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It doesn't seem to work for people in Canada, but for my American readers, you can go here to see a trailer for Smoke Screen (now I can tell you the title!), one of the movies I worked on this summer starring Jaime Pressly and Currie Graham, based on a book by Sandra Brown. It premieres Sunday, Nov. 21 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on Lifetime Movie Network. Please watch it!

I have been kept very busy working on my new show, Mr. Young. What was supposed to be four day weeks with 10 hour days and every Monday off, has turned into four day weeks except for the pilot episode, which we shot last week, and was 5 days, and more like 12 to 15 hour days (not that I am complaining about the extra hours - being a union show, it means a much fatter paycheque). And any time there's a stat holiday, like the recently passed Remembrance Day, then we work the Monday to make up for it. So I have only had about two long weekends so far. Good news is, we are on hiatus this week so I get nine glorious days to recover before we start banking an episode.

Yep, banking an episode. I had to ask what that meant when I first read it on the shooting schedule.

It means that, in addition to our already packed four days, we will now start to shoot one third of another episode per week so that we can cram 26 episodes into 22 weeks. I have no idea how we are going to do this. What's worse, nor does the director who has been doing this for a decade. He says that he's never heard of such a thing and what probably looked like a good idea on paper to someone in an office is going to be next to impossible to accomplish. I say lets not accomplish it.

I remember when MOW's (movies of the week) were shot in 21 days. Then they dropped it to 18 and we all freaked out at first but managed to get it done quite nicely. So the next thing we know, they dropped it to 15 days. We really freaked out at that and yet somehow still managed to get it done. Then I got a call to work on a show that was going to be shot in 12 days - two 6 day weeks. I wasn't looking forward to that schedule but needed the work so took it. It was a total grind but we got it done and, suddenly, what was supposed to be a 'one off' ended up being the norm for that production manager. Then, a year later, I got a call to work on two shows shooting back to back, each in 10 days. Yep - two MOW's in one day less than it first took us to do one. If it wasn't for the fact that we had an incredible director who not only knew how to be very efficient with his shots, but had a fabulous sense of humour that kept the whole crew happy, I don't think it could have been done. Or, maybe it could have but the end product would have been total crap and we would have been a miserable bunch doing it.

***Let me just say here that two of the movies I worked on this summer, the above mentioned Smoke Screen, and On Strike for Christmas were shot in 15 days each. MUCH more civilized and you can actually make a good MOW in that time. Thank you Jim and Damian!!! (I love those guys.)

So now here we are, once again attempting to accomplish the impossible and, if we do manage it, I can just see season two being two episodes per week. We HAVE to stop keeping up with everything producers throw at us or we will all be in an early grave with the stress and lack of sleep... not that it isn't happening anyway. I am shocked at the amount of 'In Memoriam' notices I get from the union and at the ages of those who have passed. No wonder we have a healthy retirement fund - no one lives long enough to collect! I was mentioning it to someone on set and they said that IATSE members have the shortest lifespan of members of any union in North America. That's sobering.

On a much lighter note, look at these awesome candy apples I saw in Vancouver when I was out for lunch with my daughter and her hubby right before Halloween. I didn't buy one but I thought they were great.

And here's three guys from work filling in for cheerleaders while a shot is being rehearsed. Bob - your pom poms are backwards!


  1. i don't get it... why shoot 4 day weeks? they may be saving crew pay (but are they really, with all the o/t?), but what about all the truck and equipment rentals? trucks don't go home for that monday down day; the production would still be paying for 5 day rentals... that's a head-scratcher

  2. Ha! Spoken like a true accountant.

    It might have to do with it being a crew of kids and they have to bank so many school hours. They are there 5 days a week and Monday is all school. As for trucks - we don't have much of a circus seeing how we are in studio all the of the time. There's just hair/makeup trailer, wardrobe has two trailers, a cast trailer or two (the ones that are partitioned), and a honey wagon.


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