Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life on the Set of Unicorn City

Thought of the Day: "The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but hold hands."
Song of the Day: Nineteen by Tegan & Sara

Dear humans. I have something to tell you.

Do you remember when I was ranting about Unicorn City, a movie that recently begun filming and is in turn written by our friend Adrian Lefler? And remember how I was offered a PA job there but had to turn it down? Whaaaale.... I was able to take the job at about 6 hours a day instead of 12, and I started on Monday. I'm so stoked. Oh, and not only did I start, but my bee eff eff Katie also got a job there because she knows Adrian too! Huzzah!

In honor of Unicorn City, my pictures today are all unicorn-inspired. I Google Image searched "unicorn" and about five million pieces similar to these popped up. It makes me wonder about the type of person who sits down and draws a unicorn with a rose in its mouth. Enjoy!

The first day on set I was alone because Katie didn't think she was allowed to come with me, so I was very timid and scared of everyone and I kind of lurked around and tried to appear busy when I didn't have a job to do. I'm hired as a PA – a production assistant – so basically I run around doing odd jobs like holding trays of chopped up Pop Tarts or fetching water for the infamous David Thorpe. But there's a ton of down-time, more like standing-around-in-the-shade time where we can just hang out and watch the actors film or stare at a bug or something.

The actors are not supposed to get overheated, but in between takes they aren't allowed to run off and stand in the shade, so the wardrobe and make-up girls plus the PA's have a bunch of these funny umbrellas – Some are rainbow and some are black and say "FootJoy" on them. No one knows what FootJoy is. – and they go and shade the cast while they're standing around. For some reason, I find it unreasonably hilarious.

Also, the crew wears radios to communicate with each other. At first I was overjoyed to get mine – a walkie-talkie with a microphone and an earpiece – but soon I discovered that the earpiece makes you totally 100% deaf in the ear it's in, making talking very frustrating because you can't really gauge your volume level accurately. I'm probably yelling all day long. Plus chewing and swallowing when it's in your ear is gross, it sounds really loud in your head so I always get paranoid that everyone can hear me gulping away. But hearing your name on the radio is surprisingly fantastic. They talk in this cool code that's like "Bob to Avery" and then you go "This is Avery" or "Avery copy" or my favorite "Go for Avery", and then they send you on fun missions. Sometimes we even get to call people and attempt to sound very professional.

Katie and I are the youngest people there, aside from some 10-year-old daughters of the crew that run around and be cute, and also this 6'2, 300 lb. gorilla-man that turned out to be 13. It turns out that being in high school isn't a socially acceptable thing anymore. When you tell people, they get this look on their face and then all say "So young". I think I hate that.

It's about 200 degrees every day so I've gotten a minor tan. You get covered in dirt. I come home with streaks all over my face and dust sunscreened onto my arms. Ew.

They spend hours and hours doing the same scenes over and over and over from a thousand different camera shots. I laugh every single time. Today I got to meet John Gries aka Shadowhawk aka Uncle Rico on Napoleon Dynamite. Darren came up to Katie and I at the very beginning of the day and was all, "John Gries is coming in today and... don't talk to him unless he talks to you". So naturally we thought he was going to be some sort of prima donna and super mean, but then when we nervously offered him something off our food platters (like jerkey or cherry granola) he was really great and nice, he even asked what our names were. I'm going to have to go on Facebook and find some sort of page for him so that I can become a fan of him right away.

A few memorable people on set:
  • Darren. I'm not sure what his actual job is, but he seems like the guy to know. He's in charge of lots of things and everyone takes orders from him. He's also incredibly nice and funny. We heart Darren.
  • Ashley. She works at craft and is nice to everyone.
  • Birdman aka Robbie. He wears a wetsuit with black low-tops and multicolored feathers everywhere. Priceless.
  • Bree. She's this Australian wardrobe chick that I've never really had a conversation with, but everyone is constantly looking for her. She gets radioed a thousand times a day. "Where's Bree? Has anybody seen Bree?"
  • Unice. His name his Charles Unice and he's some crew guy (we don't know any of their actual jobs) that likes hohos and being amusing.
  • Brian. He's the director, and Adrian's brother. Our job is to remind him to drink water.
  • Clint aka Rhubarb. The centaur. He's this big redheaded guy with this fantastic crimped mohawk that walks around with a cooler attached to his waist. He looks really intimidating but it turns out that he's one of the nicest guys on set.
  • David Thorpe. The Water Hog. Forever asking for new water bottles.
  • Stephen. He had a staff infection on his nose and wasn't allowed to touch the food. Turns out that he's hilarious too.
  • James. The highlight of Wednesday was when he came up to us when we had mini-donuts and said. "I'll take a donut. Two dones." Dones?! That's freaking funny.
  • A. Todd. He always has some hilarious spazzy thing to say when he takes food from us. Sometimes it's sound effects, other times it's just random comments. He was there after James's "dones" thing, and after seeing that make Katie and me laugh so hard he decided that he needed to be funny too, but all he could think of was "I'll take one bread..." Obviously we laughed even harder.
  • Ty. Another PA, but one that actually gets cash. He's a spaz, and a 36-year-old woman loves him.
  • Scott. The future of Collin Edward White.
  • Dash aka Codpiece aka some other name that I can't remember. He wears red long johns and a bedazzled hubcap and codpiece. It's awkward/insanely funny. When he isn't filming, he sits around and writes which I – obviously – think is muy attractivo.
That's all I can think of right now. Everyone is awesome though and terribly terribly funny. We're always laughing.

That's all for right now. I'll tell you more later, I'm just combusting with stories about set.

See you in my dreams.
-Avery Jalaine

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