Friday, December 18, 2009


It has been a busy fall. I have been back to California to work on a music video for a couple of days. Most people I know who work in production rarely accept work on a music video, due to the fact that the budgets are low and usually the days are much longer than commercials as most music videos are non union jobs and can go on forever. The hours are long and the budgets are low so the amount of images wished to be shot by the record company and director are usually vast. I am one of the few to be able to work on a music video and be pleased.  All of my friends and family who usually take work on mulit-million dollar commercials and movies always cringe when I tell them I am working on a music video. One of the tasks that was required on this particular Lady Ga Ga Poker Face video was to retrieve signatures from the neighbors who live close to the location where the video would be shot. There is a title for the person whose to go door to door to receive these signatures,  they are called the Location Manager, who by the way make a pretty penny for their services. On this production, as I mentioned before the budgets are low therefore there is no room to pay a location manager. So this is the roll I played on this particular job. You see in prodution one must be able to wear many hats.  Oh woe is me? Really? I have to walk up and down a beautiful Malibu neighborhood disturbing people in the prime of their morning routines to ask, plead, and beg for their signatures and approval to shoot in their neighborhood? No problem. I knew that in a couple of months I would be back at the farm wearing layers of clothing trudging through the snow to let the chickens out every morning, so a morning walk through Malibu sounded FAB!! Guess how many signatures I received? Zero! 
 The first day I dressed in my sensible shoes, jeans and button down shirt, hoping to come off as professional as possible. After buzzing the gate at each and every multi million dollar mansion, I knew I was getting a once over through  the surveillance camera's that were pointing  directly

at me with my clip board and the all familiar location permits. No reply at all. So I was sent back to the production office in West Hollywood to retrieve a side of bacon that was missing from one of my co-workers breakfast. The last day before the shoot, I had to get at least ONE signature before noon.  I had four hours to try and get somebody to commit to signing. So this day I wore something different. I wore a little black dress. I teased my new blond hair with a windswept Malibu Barbie ponytail and off I went. BUZZZ! BUZZZ! BUZZ! I thought for sure that if they saw me looking as dashing as I did they would for sure think I was a neighbor making morning salutation calls. NOT!! Without a single signature, I returned to the office all
dolled up and preceded to run around Hollywood   in my little black dress. Thank God I was wearing it because on this particular day it was 99 degrees and I didn’t feel it one bit!! (I love little black dresses). I finally received a call from one of the residents agreeing to shoot. They were out of town. I understand why some of them would not agree. In the past there have been productions who promise they would be shooting only dialog scenes, and in turn end up shooting a punk rock video for 18 hours.
I sympathize with them as they live in their  luxurious neighborhoods for a reason. To enjoy the fresh ocean breezes and scenic views, to send their kids to the best schools and to enjoy the community. They did not agree to live on a back lot while they were signing escrow papers for their homes.  
I completely understand, when we lived in Venice Beach, we had a similar situation. An independent movie crew was shooting next door to our little cottage near the canals. Unbeknownst to us, the production crew sent our landscaper away without informing us of the shoot first and forcing us to cancel a BBQ we had planned. We did not take this lightly, I wont

tell you what we did to stop the production from shooting for 30 minute, or how we got our predominately Spanish speaking landscaper on the phone with the first AD. (Ok I will but you’ll have to wait for it) If you are reading this and work in production you know how messed up it is when somebody stops a shoot and delays the whole picture.  I know it seems like a power trip but hey, this was our community, and if the industry wants to continue to create magic in somebody else's backyard they need to respect the residents and abide by the rules of production. If that means blasting Cypress Hill's, "Rock Star" full blast next to a production trying to record dialog for 30 minutes to make a point, then so be it. I think we were only bitter because we had to deal with a lot of productions on a weekly basis while living near the canals in Venice. It’s not so glamorous when you spend all your time working on set and have to come home and literally be on set again with out the paycheck. It’s fine when you have notice, this particular day we did not get notice. Which was icing on the cake when we were forced to cancel a BBQ due to the production that was illegally shooting in the apartment building next door. We didn’t have the heart to call it in. Just enough heart to act like a couple of dicks.
Every time I work in production and go back to my farm town I love to share stories with my new country mom's as they have never had some of the opportunities I have and seem to get a kick out of my production stories. I usually have a celebrity sighting or two to share.  This time the only celebrity I saw and was given the once over look while crossing the cross walk on

Sunset Boulevard was Rick Rubin!! This was HUGE for me! Even the once over I accepted happily, after all I was wearing a little black dress. We crossed  Le Peer together going in opposite directions.  He gave me a quick look up and down with an approving the dress smile. I gave him a quick, “Good afternoon Mr. Rubin". I said with a smile and nod  attached trying to mask my star struck excitement. Once he realized I knew who he was....I receive the ever so famous smile turned to SMUG. That's OK.. He probably thought I was one of his ex floozies, as I of course was dressed like one at the time. Who is Rick Rubin you ask? Only the greatest music producer still living. Google him to see how many of your favorite CD's were mastered and fantastically produced by him. You will be as amazed as I am by this heavy set bearded man.
 One of the tasks I had to do to help bring the Lady Ga Ga music video for Poker Face  to fruition was to shop for hair and make-up. Oh woe is me. NOT! I was on a mission to find some boa  feathered fake eyelashes for Miss. Ga Ga to don during her shoot. First stop, Hollywood and Highland Sephora to pick  up some body  shimmering  lotions.
  Sounds glamorous to some, but to those who know Hollywood Blvd. at 5PM know just how NOT GLAMOUROUS this route an be.  I knew I had to run in  and run out and then jump onto the 101 towards Canoga Park where the eye lashes were waiting for me at a salon that would be closing at 6pm. All to be done in a timely fashion.  After being stopped for an hour at one light on Franklin, which was supposed to be my short cut, I saw an open space, parked and ran, not walked, to Hollywood and Highland Sephora. As I entered the store I walked directly to the first sales person I saw. I told them what I needed and the large quantity and to meet me at the register. While at the register, of course I had to try out a few jokes as I am a stand up comedian at heart and always trying to get somebody to laugh. The sales person said I looked beautiful in my fancy black dress and that I needed some blush. So without stopping, I paid for the shimmering lotion, had my blush retouched and received the greatest little blush packet for myself, all while jetting toward the door.  Not kidding, he was literally putting blush and lip-gloss on me while I was in motion walking at the same fast pace I was, without missing a beat. Needless to say I was in and out of there in less than 12 minutes and received a make-over without jeopardizing the productions time and money. I even had a few tourists snap my picture as they had NO IDEA WHO THE HELL I WAS, or why I was getting such special treatment while shopping without stopping for a minute. It's called buying retail in bulk with cash! These sales associates are used to this type of shopping as I am used to killing 4 birds with one stone.  Usually a natural way of life for me, maybe that’s why working in production suites me so well.
Needless to say it was great experience for me, and I'll always be available to my friends in production whenever they need me.  I enjoy mixing my life's tasks and the money is great!
 Some may think that one would be getting taken advantage of by giving the other so many hats to wear on the job. I don't see it this way after I witness countless people in this small farm town who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet. I was glad to be back and basking in the beauty of Autumn leaves turning colors, and the farmers rushing to harvest their fields before the frost arrives. 
Although I can't say I was too excited about stepping on a lone mouse head that was left as a gift of my return by our farm cat Roller. I guess he thought I was just dying to peel it from the ball of my foot so late in the evening.
Ahhh Home sweet home! 


bernthis said...

I had a video shot in a duplex I was renting many years ago. Loooong day is right.

Susie said...

How do you do it lady?!! We used to live in L.A. as my hubs is a musician but it was too nuts for us and WAY to expensive so 4 years ago we moved back to our little cabin in the beautiful NO. AZ mountains. It's a struggle for my husband with going back to L.A. or travelling back and forth from gig to gig. Sometimes I wonder if we should move back to make it easier on the kiddies and myself but ugh! The traffic and grind kills me and I think I love fresh air too much. :) My mountain Mama friends love to hear about the comings and goings in LaLa land too. I doubt they would know who Rick Rubin is though. :) Anyway, love reading about your coming and goings. I hope you are enjoying winter out your way.


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