Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unexpected Bugs

VERY unexpected. There I was, minding my own business, on Tuesday, June 7, very early in the morning. I had grabbed a cab to get to lower Broadway for a Boardwalk Empire shoot for a 5 am call. The set was absolutely spectacular. There's a tiny alley/street that runs behind Broadway at about Walker Street called Cortlandt Alley (of which I had certainly never heard) which had been tricked out to be a tenement block of the 1920's...which was only fitting, because that's what it WAS in the 1920's. There were pushcarts and laundry strung between the buildings...just amazingly great work.

Well, I felt a little nauseated when I got there, but I swallowed a few times and took some deep breaths and it all went away. Then I got dressed and haired and made up, the usual stuff, had my breakfast, and we started the shoot.

After a while it occurred to me that something was very, very wrong. It was a fiendishly hot day, and I had been placed right in front of the door to holding, where the air conditioning was blowing out, which should have been ideal, right? Unfortunately, as the morning wore on, I discovered that the damn air was giving me the chills, which should NOT have been happening.

I lasted until lunch on purpose...they can't very well be expected to stop a shoot for one lousy background actor. I mean, they would have DONE it...but it would have been damned expensive in terms of time and stuff, so I just got through it, and as soon as lunch was called I left.

I then proceeded to spend five solid days flat on my back with the worst case of flu I've ever had in my life. I mean, like running 104. I couldn't even get downstairs to smoke a damn cigarette...for me, that's SICK. Thank God for Sarah, who came in and out delivering necessities like Diet Coke and chicken soup.

I am now completely well again except for a lingering cough, which is getting better. Never again!

So yesterday I went out to shoot something called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in Brighton Beach, the deep Russian part of Brooklyn. What a damn screwed up shoot. I picked up the van at Varick and Canal, we got out there around ten, and they didn't use us until about 5 pm, which is in no way unusual. What was HIGHLY unusual was that there was no Crafty. Crafty is Craft Services, and it's the life blood of a shoot. It's your breakfast, it's your lunch, it's the all day snacks all actors count on so they won't have to go home and cook/pay for dinner. So we all had to go get and pay for our own breakfasts, which didn't improve anybody's mood much. The mood had already been pretty much lowered by the news that the agency had given all of us the wrong information when we called in to get our call times...they said wear a layered spring/summer outfit and bring a winter coat, hat, scarf. Turns out we needed two spring outfits. So all of us were dragging around all this damn heavy winter clothing for nothing.

And when we got lunch, it was catered by the Russian restaurant we were using as holding. Unfortunately, with the exception of things like caviar and blini and Beef Stroganoff, Russian food is pretty ghastly. Nine million mayonnaise laden salads and unidentifiable things wrapped in pastry and covered in breadcrumbs...all served cold. Well, at least it was ballast.

So we did the shoot, went back to holding and were wrapped around 6:15 pm or so. We all got signed out and went out front...only to be told that all of a sudden there wasn't any van to get us back to Manhattan. There would probably be a van at 10 pm.

Well, this was completely unacceptable, because the Brighton Beach subway stop is elevated...two flights up (and I wasn't hanging around until 10 pm). There's no way I can do this on a humid summer day hauling a heavy tote bag. (Please do not ask me why the HELL I didn't think of car service, but I didn't.) Luckily, after I stated my problem, the nice guy who was the background wrangler dragged my bag and me to the subway and carried it all the way upstairs for me (jumping the turnstile in the process, bless him), and I got back to West 4th Street which has an elevator.

I sincerely hope that it occurs to somebody that I deserve a pay bump for this, because I sure as hell wouldn't have even submitted for the job if I thought it was going to involve subway stairs.

Growl. On the other hand, even without a bump for transportation, I made a decent chunk of money. So there.

Love, Wendy

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