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#1 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 01:50 PM

Hey Everybody,

I just thought I had to post here that I just worked on the gnarliest set I personally have ever worked on. For those who know the Universal backlot should feel my pain. You know when you are working on the backlot and you walk into the building mock ups and look at the interior. It loks like a MC esher (hope I spelled that right) painting with all the stairs, curves, etc.... You see this and think to yourself......Man I am glad I don't have to run up and down these stairs. Well, That was exactly what I had to do all night last night. I was chasing a girl following and leading from one end of the set to the other and back again up and down the stairs. Three levels of unlevel stairs.Not to mention the very tight corners that I could not see when leading the actor and my spotter having no time to get me out of the way. I felt like a pinball because there was no room to move and I hit corners and walls like crazy. Good thing the shots are not supposed to be oners. I tried to have the actors work with me and they tried but it never really helped. The director and D.P. wanted so much out of me and wanted to do take, after take, after take. I of course at the end of the day was nowhere near satisfied with my operating. So I am sure you guys have had some crazy experiences and nightmare sets so lets here your stories!
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#2 Brad Hruboska

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 02:16 PM

I had an experieince on a shoot on a riverbank trying to do a walk and talk with three actors years a go with a BL 4, and man I worked hard to get that shot to work, I look at it now and I couldn't even begin to think about including it on my reel, but at the time the director was very happy. I was however on the same shoot and I wound up refusing to do a shot from a cliff edge looking up at a crashed truck on the higher ledge and realized that the purchase was not good, very unstable , so I hiked back down the valley to the production fully expecting to be fired after a verbal tongue lashing on the walkie talkie. Was told to see the director in his trailer, walked in , he said sit down, poured me a scotch and asked if i was scared to do the shot, I told him I was afraid for my safety, he thanked me shook my hand and we went back to work, best of friends...
Stress turns otherwise nice people into monsters sometimies.....
Last night the key grip and I had to threaten a walkout on a music video job, due to wood smoke from fire barrels, looked great, but I can't take any kind of acrid smoke without getting really conjested, so we had a 15 minute clear out while the air vented...DP was upset at the time but by the end of the night was fine with the issue, calmer heads always prevail. Unfortunately , sometimes you have to be the grownup.
I had another issue where I was talked into using the super post on a performance and realized in rehersal that it was just to long a pendulum to follow a dancer/singer in a tight shot 360 and keep any kind of frame, so I had to stop , convert back to regular mode and admit that I had been talked into a bad idea, but I had the solution, and everything was going to be fine....Yoou can see the fear , the meter is running and sometimes you just have to be the grownup, the firm, fair, calm adult who gets the fearful past their little moments of doubt.
Don't be afraid to say what shots you think are beyond your ability, they will appreciate your candor, and find another amazing shot to do, you might go home early but with a better rep than struggling through . A Big D.P. once told me that what separates the pros from the wanna be is the ability to say I can do that shot well or not. Now on smaller jobs the disturbing trend is dolly OR steadicam so you become the tripod that bleeds . I do try and suggest studio mode conversion, and make sure your assistants know that we might be going to handheld or dolly and have a plan for conversion worked out.

Who knows in a few years maybe you'll ace that shot. ;)
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#3 RonBaldwin


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Posted 14 November 2004 - 02:47 PM

one time...back in band camp...coffee wasn't ready untill an hour after call!

BJ, I thought you would have worse stories from your Angry Dragon experience in Cleveland?

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#4 RobVanGelder


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Posted 15 November 2004 - 06:37 AM

I had a nice day on a underground-escape tunnel. They build it in the studio from wood and PUR/foam, all black and with earth and as it was located in the story under a city, pipes and other stuff would stick out. To enhance the narow feeling it was build narrow and low. They had an operator on this show, a good one, but about 1,90 m long and a big guy and it was for him not possible to move at a reasonable speed through this maze, the tunnel was build in an 8 with some extentions. I'm only 1.73m and could make a good speed through it.

I did it with all kind of protection, like bicycle helmet, protectors for elbows and knees and we managed, my spotter and I, to drag ourselves through it, preceding them, going into a little cave, following the people, etc.
Lot's of scraping agains walls and everything, slippery too as they sprayed the walls with water to make it more real.

Good excersise, framing in the dark with only oil lamps occasionally.
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