Friday, May 25, 2007

West Coast, Day 2


Day Two:
Holy crap it’s early. But it’s good to see everyone, especially Liz who has been a part of all of my shoot blogs so far. We get into the rented minivan and Liz remarks that it feels like one of those early-morning excursions to Hasbro.

Todd brought along his own GPS which has some feature where you can pick the accent of the voice information. He has selected Australian and everyone else has named her Sheila. I think Todd just likes taking orders from an Australian chick.

It turns out that Andrea and I have the same knapsack. Or is it a backpack? Either way, that can’t be good. We got it from the same crappy production company when we were on the same crappy shoot a few years ago. But the knapsack is nice so I use it often. This has all the makings of a bad spy film. Andrea and I will be next to each other in an elevator. I’ll get off on my floor but pick up her bag. And then I’ll be stuck with all of her girlie things while she has the microfilm! And then I’d have to kill her. And that would just suck.

Greg M. (there’s also a Greg N. lurking about) correctly points out that the DJs out here talk way too much. These two morons (it might be Mark and Brian) are riffing on whales. They use terms like “humpback” and “blowhole” and discuss about the hole both blowing and sucking. Wacky stuff! Insert slide whistle, bicycle horn, etc. Greg and I start riffing on a morning duo called Banter and Chit Chat In The Morning!

Despite Sheila’s advice, Todd is lost. Wait, he’s not lost. We’re in the right place but it seems dodgy. There’s no one around and no one’s answering the door at the production company. Todd has left us in the van while he scouts the area. No one’s answering the phone. No one’s answering the door. Meanwhile, we’ve pulled up next to a homesless man covered in a blanket. And Todd’s standing outside the van with his computer open. He’s a man with no plan standing outside a van. Someone call Dr. Seuss. And then it turns out that they’ve been in there the whole time and not answering the phone at all. Not a good start to the day.

The prepro is predictably long and drawn out and overthought but we continue to amuse ourselves. For example, the last name of the guy we cast as a psych patient is “Moody”. And a boy named Henry the Third gets to third base with a couch cushion. That’s good stuff.

The director has a lazy eye but none of us knows where to look.

Lunchtime. Fancy sandwiches and pastries. Liz is reminded of the meringue incident in Buenos Aires, where meringue tasted like wet dog smelled. You can always rely on Liz for some bizzaro rationalization like that.

Wardrobe is lasting forever, but Liz is handling most of it. I trust her. I have to. Liz asking me for wardrobe advice would be like my cousin Heshe advising on dieting.

Dinner: Spanish Kitchen. Good food, crappy service.

Shoot: West Coast Style

Day One: 5/20/07

Heading out to California for another shoot. This one’s a little different because most of the people are already there. So I missed the fun of casting and any other wacky stuff that can happen before the shooting happens. But that’s okay, because I get to fly all by myself out to Los Angeles. So after my usual waiting until the last second to pack, I start throwing some clothes into a bag, especially because the car is an hour early. And it’s a stretch limo. Cool, but really not me. And I’m the only one in this thing. At least I don’t have to talk to the driver. The partition is up. Does that mean he doesn’t want to talk to me?

So now I have to find ways to kill my ridiculous amount of extra time. Even the long lines at security moved rather well. Either they’re very efficient or they just don’t stop people for anything anymore.

But there is a Dunkin’ Donuts. An iced coffee is in order to cut back on my usual amount of sweating. Why is iced coffee more expensive than regular coffee? I’d think that you’re getting less coffee because of all the ice. I’d complain but I really like Dunkin’ Donuts and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. Plus I really don’t care that much. I’m just trying to spark debate amongst my loyal reader(s).

I just realized that, in my rush to pack my stuff, I neglected to bring today’s Times magazine. No Sunday Puzzle!! I also didn’t bring my puzzles from the NYTimes Crossword Society (wow, that looks dorky in print). So what am I going to do? Do I spend the $3.50 on a whole Sunday Times or do I whine about it?

Commence whining.

On the plane, things re looking up. The guy next to me has the whole paper. But maybe he wants to do the puzzle. Sure I could ask, but that would be totally out of character for me. So I stew and try to find other things to do. I have some writing to do for another account, but this seating configuration isn’t conducive to working. And that brings me to a rant.

I like Continental but they’re not known for providing much room for people who don’t pay for First Class. I’m on the aisle of row 15. Row 14 is an exit row. Now while I applaud people in the exit rows for theoretically volunteering to help out other passengers in the event of a disaster, they do get tons of leg room. And that leg room comes with reclining ability as well. Now, the guy in front of me (and in front of the guy next to me) have decided that the ability to cross their legs isn’t enough. They want to recline fully as well. Now there’s a seat practically in my lap. So between the seat in my lap and the lack of elbow room, using a keyboard is out of the question.

I still covet the guy’s newspaper. I even offer him my Time magazine in hopes that he’ll offer me something in return. But all I get is a stolen magazine. When he gets up to go to the bathroom, I pick up his magazine and thumb through it so when he comes back, he’ll see me reading and offer it to me. But that doesn’t happen as well. It’s not until we start our decent and he starts gathering up all the papers that I ask him if he’s keeping the magazine. And he cheerfully gives it to me. I’m such an idiot.

My cab driver is from Prague. I know this because he’s chatting his brains out to me. Of course, I’m encouraging this by keeping the conversation going. Apparently, the airport is very busy but he’s seen worse. Sunday nights are bad but he’s seen worse. I think he’s trying to tell me that he’s seen worse. I tell him that I imagine that holidays are probably pretty bad. He says no. But Sunday nights and holidays are pretty bad. At least we’re getting to the hotel so he’s going to have to stop talking to me. But nope. We pull up, a valet opens my door and the driver is finishing his speech about the cost of living in Prague and the high taxes.

None of my coworkers are around. They’ve all gone to The Ivy for dinner. But Todd tells me they’re on their way back so I hang. Everyone says goodnight except for good ol’ Todd who hangs in like a trooper and has a couple of drinks with me. His eyes are half closed (or half open) but he’s still there. What a guy.

Sadly, we have to be in the lobby by 6:15 am for a 7 am preproduction meeting.

Friday, May 18, 2007

You Hate Me! You Really Hate Me!

I've been at my current place of employment for almost 17 years. It's amazing just to look at it in writing. In that space of time, I've worked with dozens of different people and while I may not have become best friends with all of them, I'd like to think that I left a positive impression. Apparently, this isn't true.

The other day, I got my first piece of hate mail. Actual hate mail! Here it is:

I'll admit that I was a little hurt at first. I mean, I'm a nice guy. People actually ask to work with me sometimes. I can't imagine who I pissed off so much that they'd actually take the time to send something like that to me. I mean, this is pretty nasty stuff. Some friends have tried to convince me that I shouldn't pay any attention to it; that it was probably sent by some disgruntled employee to all of the creatives. But no one else I know of has received one. And there's a reference in the letter about the "ad guy" thing which appears on my voice mail. So it seems pretty directed at me.

But maybe I should look at this in a positive light. I mean, some people go a whole lifetime without getting hate mail. Granted, it took me a long time to get one but it finally happened. Where's your piece of hate mail? That's what I thought. So I guess I've arrived!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Kid On The Block

The exciting world of blogging has a new blogger. I invite you all to check out Mindless Musings. Since as far back as yesterday, this blog has mused stuff.

Also, stay tuned for another travel blog as I head west to shoot some more commercials.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Planet of The Apes

If I've said it once, I've said it seven or eight times: commuting is a fact of life here in Suburbia. It is for me, anyway. And when you commute, you throw your lot in with hundreds of other suburbanites. A full NJ Transit bus holds 57 people. The odds of 57 people having the same standards of politeness and courtesy are slim but some things go without saying don't they? People will never keep their voices down on their cell phones. I've given up on that dream. But at what point did personal hygiene become an accepted public activity?

This man was on my bus the other night. We left Port Authority on time, at 9:20 pm. We got to the first stop twenty-six minutes later, and my fellow commuter finished clipping his fingernails. Yes, almost a half-hour of nail clipping.

You have GOT to be kidding me. When did this become acceptable? Have we gotten to a point where people are so ensconced in their own worlds that they don't recognize the existence of other people? At what point will people take off their shoes and pumice their heels? Oh, and speaking of bad manners, the woman behind him spoke full voice on her phone. But she stopped after 20 minutes.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Run! He's A Killer!

I accidentally killed a chipmunk last Sunday. I was standing in my driveway and I saw a chipmunk just sitting there in my garage. You rarely see these things just sitting there. They tend to dart around a lot. It starts moving and it's limping. It looks like a bum leg. I know this because of my expertise in the veterinary sciences. Anyway, I feel bad and I walk towards it and pet it. I want to get it somewhere safe, namely out of my garage. So I pick it up but it got away from me and crawled under the base of Aaron's basketball net. The thing weighs 300 pounds filled with sand the way it is. I figured the chipmunk wouldn't be able to get out from under there (again, because of my animal knowledge) so I get some leverage and move the whole thing. Maybe it was the adrenaline or something. I mean, how did I move it by myself? If it was adrenaline, it didn't last long. The weight shifted and I basically rolled over the little guy. I didn't flatten it or anything. In fact, I thought I missed it altogether. But it was just lying there, breathing heavily. So now I felt awful. I picked it up and put it near a hole that it (or some other chipmunk) had dug. I kept petting it and it would move occasionally, trying to get back into the hole (or away from the idiot human petting his probably broken ribs). So I left it alone. Later on, it died. I feel bad. I was just trying to help.