Have I told you about my disdain for film crews? It is absolutely irrational how irate I get at having to be put off by on-site filming. An event that happens quite often living in Los Angeles. A normal person would take it with a grain a salt and just go about their business and/or be excited at a possible glimpse at a celebrity. Not me. I see those big white movie trailers parked in an area I’m headed to and I start to get all red with steam coming out of my ears. I don’t know why. Maybe it is jealousy. I’m jealous that they get to be doing their fun job while I am not. More than not though I think it is the fact that I’ve come up against many an actor/crew member who feels entitled by their position. I don’t do well with those type of folks.
At one point in my college life I did extra work during my school breaks. Because of my age I mostly was background where “over 18 to look younger” was needed. If you want to come face to face with entitled actors TV series that feature teenagers is a pretty good place to start. More than once I had to sit around in short shorts and a crop top freezing my ass off while someone had to convince the lead actress to shrug off her big warm jacket to do her scene. You know it’s bad when the crew starts asking if you are okay and mention that you are starting to turn blue. I soon learned that my “acting” skill wasn’t really needed in this specific setting and learned to do the minimal amount of work possible. Most of what you do “on set” as an extra is sit around and wait. Due to boredom I sometimes missed out on the getting up and moving part. I was once asked if I could at least read my book inside the shot. A quick shrug and I mosied on over to some steps where the lead actors where going to be, plopped down, and got back to reading.
I was on a set of a TV show where the lead male actor was such a cocky ass that I managed to get caught making fun of him. I was taken off camera that day. But not off set! I got to sit next to the bagels and eat, read and get paid for it. Since no one really knew who I was it didn’t hurt my working on more sets either. There was always a need for the “over 18 to look younger.”
What is worse than the studio productions are the independent ones. The ones that are shooting on the fly, without permits, and with minimal crew. I once almost killed myself and some dude holding a mic by the LA River. They were filming some period piece on the bike path and as I turned a blind corner (on my bike) the crew guy came running down a bank right in front of me. There is film somewhere that shows a biker from the future (aka me) screaming and cursing bloody murder at everyone on and off camera.
Just a couple of years ago I was in NY and late for a meeting. I was power walking down the street only to get stopped by a “studio cop” who was holding up foot traffic to film some scene from some TV series. “Hellz no!” I thought. Granted I was in a bad place right that moment in my life but the last thing I needed was to be even later for a meeting. In my mind I was working like a dog and I wasn’t going to let some TV series tell me what to do. I walked through. I heard someone yell cut and like you would expect from good NYers had a number of people follow my rebellious ways.
Today Riggins and I headed to Griffith Park for a fun hike. My plan was to park near the start of Fern Dell to take the fun little path up to the cafe then continue up to the observatory. Of course my plan went to hell in a handbag as soon as I saw a zillion white trailers and orange cones. They were filming. Damn it! Despite the fact that they felt like they could take up 90% of parking at Griffith Park I was able to find a spot for my car. My anger subsided as I had a gay ol’ time with my buddy Riggins and didn’t even remember I hated these people until it was time to get back in the car to leave. At that point I went up to the GIANT parking lot to turn around. There is no way they could take up the ENTIRE PARKING LOT. I was wrong. There was no one to be seen but one lonely traffic directing woman who thought she was all that AND a slice of bread. She stood in front of my car frantically giving me the STOP sign. I pulled up and rolled down my window telling her I was just turning around. She was not okay with this and started to go crazy. Luckily I was in a car and all I had to do was roll up my window and drive around her. Then I turned around, drove by her again as she glared angrily at me, and headed on my way. Now explain to me why I couldn’t turn around right there when they were filming a good 1/2 mile further down the street? This is just where the crew was supposed to park and even then the lot was nowhere near full? THAT is why I dislike these people. You aren’t that important. Seriously. You just aren’t. There is absolutely no reason you need to act like you are guarding the President of the United States. Riggins cares way more about your craft service table than anything else and I care about nothin’.
Here is my theory on how on site filming could make things better.
1. Stop being entitled asshats.
2. Give something back to the people you are putting off. If it is a movie you are filming give out free tickets to a screening. You can even make it a test screening for you if you want to get something out of it. Frankly most won’t even show up but it is the thought that counts. TV folks? Give away anything. At a hiking spot? Give away bottled water with your logo. Anything to show you appreciate the fact that you are in someone else’s space. Even if you are paying the city to be in that space … acknowledge the individual.
3. Don’t take up all the parking. It’s already a pain in the ass to park in LA. You are already busing some folks to and from their cars would it hurt you to drive a little further?
4. Don’t be angry when I screw up your shot because you have pissed me off. I can’t control myself. I just get so enraged.
I know all folks in the “business” aren’t bad. After all I have many friends who work in it and I love them dearly. Don’t get me wrong though. If their filming gets in my way Riggins and I are walking right through their shot. Look for us the next time you watch your favorite TV show.