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...

Friday, November 25, 2011


We wrapped our last night on the show 'running and gunning' which is basically running from location to location and getting the shot as quickly as possible without setting up monitors, chairs, heaters and maybe one or two lights. We got a lot of exterior shots with a very small crew of about 30. The rest of the crew were left behind in Maple Ridge to get a long list of 'insert shots' that we didn't have time to get for the past three weeks. (An insert shot is close up shots of various items that don't involve shooting actors [other than a stand in for a hand or other body part] such as a file folder, a computer screen, a telephone call ID, etc). It was a freezing cold night and what could have been really miserable was made a lot of fun by our fantastic director.

The director waits while camera crew set up a shot. . . . . An unusual sign on a downtown building.

Before we set off to do that, we shot the last two indoor scenes at the warehouse in Maple Ridge where we had been for the past few days. While the director was in a small room setting up the next shot, the producers whisked away his standard rented director's chair and replaced it with a gorgeous bamboo wood custom upholstered one. He used to have a chair like this that he got as a gift when he was nominated for an Emmy but it broke while filming in Montreal due to becoming brittle in the sub zero temperatures. He has mourned the loss of that chair ever since. So he was rather overcome when he stepped out of the room to see the new chair waiting for him, and the applause of the crew. It was a great moment.

Sunday, the day after we wrapped, we had a lovely cocktail party at the Shangri-La hotel in downtown Vancouver. It was a beautiful location and a fun party.

This week I have been driving my daughter to work each morning and picking her up at the end of the day because she is finding taking public transit very difficult at this stage of her pregnancy and as they only have one car, which her husband needs to commute to his job way out in Port Coquitlam, the bus has been her only option. Unbelievably, at 8 months pregnant, no one will give up their seat for her - this I have known for some time. I found out later that, when the bus fills up, she feels very claustrophobic as people press up to her and she hates having her belly up against someone else. She is also rather sensitive to odours and finds it somewhat nauseating to be among all the different ones people carry onto the bus with them. On Monday I was thinking about her having to stand up for almost an hour each way to and from work. I couldn't stand the thought of it and decided to offer to drive her and she was so grateful. When she told me how really hard it has been for her I was very glad I have the time off to be able to do it. This is her last week of work before taking maternity leave, including Monday next week. She was supposed to go until Wednesday but has decided she just can't do it. She works as a daycare worker and the kids she looks after are so hard to handle. One of them sat right on her belly the other day as she was sitting on the floor with another few kids. It really scared her and the baby was restless for a few minutes right after it happened yet it seems no damage was done. But she really is done with work.

For the 'Play" part of this post:

Today after dropping Ashleigh off, I drove back to the North Shore to Lonsdale Quay to meet a friend for breakfast. There was a gorgeous yacht - Attessa IV - tied to the dock, having some work done. We walked over to have a look at it and as we did, I looked it up on the internet on my iPhone. Turns out it has recently had some major refit and renovation work done to it at a shipyard here and has been on a test voyage around Vancouver Island. I guess not all was good because the starboard rear side is being sanded down to the steel and is being re-finished; it looked like the workers were applying a fairing compound to the starboard rear section while we were watching. When it's done, it is heading to the Caribbean!!!! I wonder if I can get them to take me on as crew?!

Specs of Attessa IV:

At 330 feet, she is the largest yacht to be launched in North America!! (and the largest rebuilt yacht in the world)
42.13 foot beam
13.78 draught
Yacht Design: Glade Johnson Design
Rebuild Company: Washington Yachting Group
Project Manager: Captain Ted McCumber
Accommodation: Able to accommodate up to 36 people on board and has 24 crew members.
Classification: Lloyds and MCA Class
Jacuzzi: Yes
Pool: Yes
Helicopter capability: Yes
Yacht Owner: Montana based businessman Dennis Washington
Yacht Charter: No

The refurbish took 250 skilled Vancouver workers and close to a million man hours

She is the 23rd largest private yacht in the world. It recently won the 'Best Rebuilt Yacht' in the 'World Superyacht Awards' in London.

I can't even imagine what it must be like to have the ability to own such a gorgeous vessel. What a 'toy'!!!

With so many photos today, I posted the small version but just click on any photo to see it full-sized.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Here's a few photos that put my week into pictures instead of words.


Beautiful mommy-to-be.

We each painted a bib for the baby. This is mine.

Guess which is the actual baby and which are balloons!


Perfect cufflinks on our very nattily dressed director.

Trying to stay warm on a freezing cold outdoor night shoot.

The director and director of photography busy on their iToys between setups.

Staying motivated.


(this picture was actually taken 4 or 5 years ago in my house in Langley but I didn't get a picture of the snowfall here in North Vancouver - thankfully it wasn't quite this much snow that fell)


I spent an hour in this very hammock. Wish I was there now.

The last picture was taken by a very talented photographer living my dream life in the Virgin Islands. You can see more of his work here: OLD MANGO

Friday, November 11, 2011


With three days off in a row (four for me as Saturday is my daughter's baby shower) I have some lovely down-time to spend relaxing. Yesterday I spent the day with my daughter shopping for my big gift to her for the baby - a Dutailier glider chair and ottoman. They are the 'Rolls Royce' of gliding rockers and are made right here in Canada. We were directed to a store that carries a good selection and can also place custom orders. We found exactly what my daughter wanted in stock and, not only that, but it's a special design just for that store and was priced at almost half of what they normally go for. I was thrilled to say the least. We quickly spent the other half of the budget on more things for the nursery and those items will make up some of the gifts I plan to take to the shower for her.

After a White Spot burger lunch, we drove into downtown Vancouver for the Circle Craft Christmas Market. We were both quite excited to go as we have done a lot of craft fairs in the past, particularly when we lived in Seattle, and have always found them to be full of wonderful and affordable creations. As we entered the large space that the booths were set up in, we were immediately impressed with what we saw and both of us found items we wanted to buy, albeit a bit pricey. But as we progressed through the rest of the booths, we both became very disappointed at the offerings. There seemed to be a repeat of the same sort of items over and over, such as SO MUCH silver jewelry, and they weren't very creative at that. Also the prices were astronomical for almost everything we saw. I had fully expected to have to seriously restrain myself from buying out the place but, in fact, I didn't see much that I wanted to buy. I did end up buying a lovely hat to wear when it's cold at work. I don't usually suit hats but this one looked great on me and is fleece lined so very warm. It was expensive at $65 plus tax. I bought a little tree ornament for my daughter and her husband made of fimo depicting a cute couple expecting a baby - $15. My daughter bought some herbal cremes for herself and the baby for post-natal care. I found a necklace I LOVED that reminded me of the beaches in the BVI but at $125 for it and $69 for the matching earrings it was far too costly. I reluctantly left it behind. (The link is to the matching bracelet. The necklace was a larger version of the flat circular bead as a pendant on a silver chain.)

Ashleigh buying hand made soap to add to a Shoe Box of items she is putting together to be shipped overseas to a needy child for Christmas

A coule of the booths had items that really impressed us. One was called 'Alphabet Photography' where you could buy a black and white photograph for $5 that had either an architectural item or some other sort of item (like twigs, or rope tied around a post) that resembled a letter of the alphabet. You could then buy as many as you wanted to spell a name or a word and she had frames that accommodated those letters ('artistic photographs of objects that spell words' is how they put it). Ingenious and her booth was packed.

Another, Janice Lutsenko Flower Art, was a huge assortment of framed pictures that were created from dried flower petals. They were gorgeous; a shoe, a purse, a woman in a flowing dress, a quilt on a washing line, the word 'Family'... all very delicate and sort of French looking. Also very pricey.

Another booth, Toad's World, had a huge selection of animals, all hand made by Diane Jordens, dressed to the nines; 'opulently costumed animal dolls'. That booth reminded us both of the sort of thing we were used to seeing in the Seattle area craft fairs. I wish there had been more like it.

One thing I was sure we'd be able to find there was a small accent pillow in a deep raspberry pink - one of the last decorative items my daughter is looking for to add to the baby's room. Not only did we not see one, there wasn't ONE SINGLE pillow or cushion for sale in the entire show. Very strange indeed.

After dropping a very tired mommy-to-be at her home, I drove back downtown to meet Ron Oliver and another friend, Sean, at Gerard - the lounge at the Sutton Hotel. I gave Ron a gift I found for him at the craft fair; a Belvedere Vodka bottle flattened to make a cheese plate. He loved it and said it ranked as one of the ten best gifts he has ever received. He has gotten some lovely gifts over the years so that is pretty spectacular. I also gave him a package of cocktail napkins I had found at a small coffee shop near where I live. He thought they were pretty great. I thought they were too true.

The cocktail napkins

We had drinks and a small dinner and Ron and I shared a visit to the chocolate buffet.

A lovely end to a lovely day.

Spicy fried salmon tacos - not spicy at all but very delicious

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I have been working on a Lifetime movie of the week, (MOW) with my good friend Ron Oliver as director, for the past two weeks (and he is the only reason I am working on this show for reasons that you will see as you read on). It has been a lot of fun (entirely due to Ron), albeit if a challenge, and I am really enjoying it. There are a couple of reasons for the challenge and all seem to stem from one source: for some reason, although the budget is what is normal for these productions, there doesn't seem to be much money to go around. I am working for the lowest rate I have had in 7 years and I was given just one day to prep, normally I get two or three. Consequently, I was unable to do a timing or a thorough breakdown of the script. A breakdown is where I go through the script with a fine-toothed comb and track all continuity as it progresses through the story; wardrobe, makeup (progression of injuries and their bruisings), props, set dec, vehicles etc. and then place it all into a one-line description of each scene. HERE is an example of one I created for a movie I worked on several years ago. This lack of ample time to go through the script and work through continuity has resulted in a few issues on set. Couple that with the fact that low rates usually results in inexperienced crew and it's a recipe for disaster - as we discovered in our first week.

The on-set wardrobe girl seemingly does not understand the requirements of her position and thus, when I suspected a problem with wardrobe continuity after filming a scene where the main character was no longer wearing her suit jacket and I wasn't sure as to why that was - I went to her and asked to see her continuity photographs for three particular scenes. The on-set wardrobe person always takes photos of how the character is attired right before the scene starts. They also make copious notes as to anything that transpires with the wardrobe during the scene, for example: Jessica removed her jacket and hung in on the back of the chair. She fled without her jacket so she will no longer have it for the remainder of the show. When the on-set wardrobe girl couldn't produce any pictures or notes and, in fact stated that she had none, I was flabbergasted. This was a first for me.

Even if I had enough time to do a proper breakdown, there are things that transpire while filming that I am not aware will occur because I have not been party to the meetings between the director and wardrobe (or other department heads) where those decisions are made. Apparently, there wasn't enough prep time for anyone on this show so those meetings never occurred. But, at the very least, the on-set crew of all departments should be taking notes as to what is happening as it is happening. I am there as their safety net but I am not there to do their jobs for them, as I made clear to the wardrobe girl. I told her I needed to see her breakdown for wardrobe and when and where changes would be made. She assured me she would have it when we returned from our day off. She didn't produce any paperwork for me to see until the third day after our return and when she did, it was of no value to me as it made no sense. So now it seems to fall to me to determine when and where wardrobe changes will occur and to track those changes (the story takes place over three days but our main character is on the run and so wears the same outfit for most of the movie - a skirt and matching jacket with blouse, and a camel coat. She also has a sports team jacket and baseball cap that she will wear at one point as a disguise. The camel coat will be left behind in one scene. The jacket issue was resolved by our ingenious director and now needs to be tracked). We had a long discussion at the monitors one afternoon as to when the camel coat will be left behind and I came up with the best scene in which for it to occur. At that point the director turned to the producer and PM who were sitting there listening and said, "From now on you will give my continuity girl at least two days prep and then we can avoid delays like this one and the four hours we wasted yesterday on the jacket issue." LOVE HIM!!!!!

I always time the script as well to give a total - scene by scene - of how long the show is running. Based on my timing, scenes will often be added or trimmed to bring the script to where it needs to be time-wise. Because I had only one day of prep, and almost half of that day was tied up in a production meeting, I had no time to do a timing. I informed the producers and director of this in an email and received no reply granting me an extra day, so no timing was done. Once I was on set, the producer questioned me as to when they could expect to get a timing. I informed her that there would only be the running timing of the scenes as we filmed, that there wasn't, nor would there be, a pre-timing as they didn't give me any time to do it. This did not sit well with her and she claimed she never gives script supervisors more than one day prep. I have been doing this for too long now to be giving away my expertise as I did when I first started out and I told her that I don't work for free as her other script supervisors surely must have, as it is not physically possible to do a timing and a breakdown and attend a production meeting in a 12 hour span.

What I have come to realize is, the lower the pay and thus the less experienced the crew - the MORE I should be paid as far too much falls on my shoulders. And the buck always seems to stop with me. One of the producers, while discussing the jacket issue, said - "this is continuity's fault" (meaning me). Really? What about wardrobe? She only has ONE area of continuity to watch and that is ALL she has to watch. While the camera is rolling, I am timing it, reading along in case the actors get the dialogue wrong or need me to call out a line they've forgotten.  I am watching where they are and what they're doing while speaking to make sure they're in the same place when we go in tighter or else it won't cut together.  I am watching what they are doing with the props to make sure they do it the same way each time and with the same hand and where the props end up.  I am looking at what shoulder the purses are on and when and where they were put down, and making sure they take it with them if they leave.  I am looking at levels of drinks in the glasses and where in the dialogue they took drinks from them; what was on the computer screen when; if we're seeing anything we shouldn't like crew in reflections or a light stand or a logo that isn't cleared... I have umpteen things I am watching for and trying to track and yet when someone screws up in their department and gets something wrong, it is MY fault and only my fault? I don't bloody think so.

I really love what I do, especially when I get to do it with Ron Oliver and his DP Kim Miles, but it's stuff like this that makes me want to get into another area of film. Either makeup where all I have to worry about is MAKEUP, or producing where I get to make the big decisions. I am kind of ready to phase out of script supervising.  It's a pretty thankless job (except for the odd director, like Ron, who really appreciates the effort and tells you so) and often only get noticed when you miss something.  It really irritates me how we can go again (roll on another take) for the focus puller time after time because he didn't get the subject in focus, and no one seems to mind; going again because the camera operator didn't like his move is never an issue; but if we have to go just once again for continuity - disapproval, frustration, and sometimes out and out anger is the norm (I actually did a series where we had not one single continuity error in 22 episodes, until the second to last day of 8 months of taping, and it was because I couldn't be in two places at once - 'B' camera had been left behind to get an insert shot while the 'A' camera moved to a new location for a new scene.  I went with the A camera, making sure with props that they knew the position of a basket that would be in the B camera insert before I left.  When we got set up at the new location and the monitors were turned on, I could see on the B camera monitor that the basket was in the wrong location so I ran back through the studio, dodging equipment, crew, and sets to find that they were just finished and wrapping the camera.  When I told them they had to go again and why, the Production Manager screamed at me and demanded to know what happened and why I made such a 'huge mistake'.  It was humiliating to say the least but I was furious to be treated in such a manner for my first mistake, which wasn't really my mistake in the first place.)

It's time script supervisors got the grace and same consideration that the camera department gets.  After all, each of those people are dong ONE task.  A script supervisors role is multi-tasking in the extreme and no one seems to realize how difficult and stressful a job it really is, even those who should know better, like Production Managers.
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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