Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

P.A. - Also known as assistant to the assistant to the asistant to the assistant to the director!

Another long day, still shooting on the SS Lane Victory in San Pedro Harbor, where I guess they filmed some of the movie "The Thin Red Line". More interrogation scenes. We shot a couple others as well. A scene where our protagonist is almost told to get back onboard a ship in a Turkish harbor, till a friend of his comes to save the day by bribing the guard. On that scene, I was in charge of making sure the extras went in front of the camera at the right time. I'd turn the volume on my walkie down (everything is abbreviated, so no "talkie" on that), wait for the 1st A.D. To give me the signal, then tap the extras when it is their turn to go. I talked to them for a bit, the extras. One guy says he does extra work as much as he can, and if you can get a Union gig, it pays really well. He was supposed to carry a box in the scene though, and he was really, really careful about how he picked it up and put it down. Not that he was concerned about the box. Must have worried about his back. After a couple takes, it looked like he was struggling a bit, so I'd just pick up the box and hold it till he was supposed to go. Production work is grunt work.
Did I mention I worked in production yesterday? There are several different departments, and I imagine on a large production with a lot going on in the shots, there is a wide array of departments. Grip/electric, Hair/makeup, Camera, Props, Script Supervision, etc. It is productions job to make sure all the other departments can keep working. Production is the grease that makes the film machine run.
As an A.P. You're at the bottom of the pecking order. Anything that anybody needs, you go get. But if those instructions ever conflict with the 1st A.D., follow the 1st A.D. Our A.D. Seemed a little brusque, but I think that's part of the job. They want to keep things moving, so when people don't move on command, they let you know. But don't mistake the rigour for real rudeness. It's not. Just part of the job. Our A.D. Was good at what she did. She is from NYC and used to run a live theater there. It sat about 500 guests, but moved out here for one reason or another. She couldn't find too much work in stage theater, so got into film production.
Anyway, today we're shooting some street scenes in downtown L.A. I'll be working grip. I'll let you know how it goes.


mary c. said...

The bad news is that I tried posting a comment on here but it didn't work. The good news is that I checked your name on IMDB and you're already on there! Your photo is definitely not the most flattering however. It doesn't even look like you.

Emily said...

Mary, it looks a little like him: blond, flowing hair, white teeth. It was taken back in his All My Children days.

Nancy said...

sounds like you're getting all the cool behind the scenes stuff, I bet you never watch a movie the same way again.