GoPro (353rd new thing).

January 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

After talking about my zipline experience and my plans to go skydiving, a host at work offered to lend me his GoPro to document some of these exciting adventures through video. On Day Three Hundred Fifty-Three he brought it in and I spent some time with the small video camera.

I didn’t have any adventures planned for that afternoon, so my experiments included spinning around in a circle with the camera outstretched in my hands (think self-portrait style). I would have rolled around in a big-ass tire like in The Smashing Pumpkin’s video for “1979,” but I didn’t have a big-ass tire.

Later I attached the camera strap to my dog’s collar to see if I could get a “Murphy-eye view.” That didn’t turn out so well. It was too dark in the house, and the only image recorded was his two skinny white front legs trotting about. So actually, it was sort of cool for like half a second until he wanted the camera collar off.

Truth be told, I never fully took advantage of the camera. When I went skydiving later the instructor had a GoPro, but other than that all I did with the thing is somehow lose it on its way back to the owner and had to buy a replacement. After watching these videos, though, I would consider getting the portable waterproof camera…but only with a head attachment. The wrist one was too weird.


Zombie Attack! (332nd new thing).

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

The final shoot day of the pilot had arrived. It was a night shoot. With Zombies. On Day Three Hundred Thirty-Two for the first time, I worked with Zombies. Or at least people dressed up like them.

We congregated in the afternoon at HomeGrown restaurant with extra space across the street at Wonderroot. For most of the evening I was holed up at the art space turned production office with a local band belting out tunes in the basement. Just your average Friday night. The view across the street towards set looked chaotic.

I meandered over a few times and it was quite surreal walking through a bunch of strangers in zombie make-up. Some were covered in green face paint, with fake bloody gashes across their face and body. Others looked more gray and , well…dead. Most were actors or extras and really got into character, grunting at me as I strolled by, eyeing me wearily. There was one person who even recognized me. He worked with my friend Erin, and it took a minute before I could place this man in gray make-up. At least with the costume I had an excuse.

I watched a few scenes being shot before I headed back to my production office hole. Part of me wanted to ask for a little zombification myself, but the more rational side thought about getting all the make-up off when it was over. Turpentine? I bet that stuff stays in your laugh lines for days. Or your frown lines if you’re sad. So I chickened out and only ended up with the grime of a long day’s work. And by 4 AM, I probably looked like a zombie anyway.

Oh, and don’t Google image search “Zombie make-up.” There are some really gnarly realistic examples. It made my stomach churn a little.

Stop the Moving Stairs! (331st new thing).

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Day Three Hundred Thirty-One was the first day of shooting on location for the TV pilot I was working on. We spent the day in Decatur, in the same area where I once had my wisdom teeth removed (totally coincidental). One of the shots required elevator doors to open and included dialogue in the scene. For the show it meant that the noisy escalators around the corner would have to be stopped. Cut off. Shut down. And I was the one to push the button. That’s right, for the first time, I pushed the emergency brake on an escalator.

The action itself was clearly not a big deal. However, there was quite a bit of anticipation leading up to the big stop. We didn’t know what would happen once the red switch was flipped. Would an alarm go off? And more importantly, once we stopped the moving staircase, we couldn’t turn back. Without the daytime security guard and his escalator keys, there was no way to turn the escalator back on.

Yeah, big decisions.

In the end I held my breath and went for it, coming in with a hard fist bump to the big red button. And the stairs stopped. No noise. They just stopped moving. And I had done something that I had always been curious about, whether in a mall, in the airport, or anywhere else where there are a lot of people and an escalator.

If only there were a bunch of unsuspecting travelers on it when it stopped…that could be funny, like dominoes.

I’m a TV Star (329th new thing).

July 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

From the beginning of this blog (and probably way before that), I have wanted to act as an extra in some sort of film or TV show. I never actually applied for the position; it seemed as though the casting calls for a large group of background people never happened on my days off. However, on Day Three Hundred Twenty-Nine while working (a freelance thing), I was asked to step in to portray a script supervisor extra. I didn’t even hesitate.


I was sent to the makeup chair to be powdered and primped. Stephanie added under eye concealer, powder, eyeliner, and a touch of lipstick. She said I didn’t really need blush because I had a naturally rosy glow. I told her it was probably more because I was outside for two hours in the thirty degree morning directing angry gaffers to park further away than they’d like. Or my English heritage.

The clipboard is so official.

My featured scene was a flashback set in the 1980’s. I think I was chosen because one, others turned it down, and two, I was wearing jeggings and slouchy boots (hello, 1988!). I don’t know how I felt about either of theses rationales, but as long as I could accomplish my life long dream of acting in front of the camera, I was thrilled!

My moment of glory passed quickly. Although the little flashback scene I was in will probably be left on the cutting room floor, at least I can officially call myself an AC-TOR.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

TV vs Commercials (328th new thing).

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Day Three Hundred Twenty-Eight I worked the first shoot day on my first television pilot. I had worked as a Production Assistant on many commercials in the past year, but the only TV series experience I have is my one year at Whole World Theatre when they shot for Turner South. And I guess Gem Shopping, although that is an entirely different beast. Everything else has been commercials or promos. I suppose it’s been better for me financially (since commercials typically pay better), but I also like the range of work that comes with working on different narrative formats, even if I can usually be found doing office work.

The TV pilot I worked on was like Fight Club. We do not talk about Fight Club, at least until it airs (next January). However, I can spend a little time waxing about the difference (in my opinion) in working on on a television advertisement versus a television pilot. There aren’t an extensive amount of differences, but here are the ones that stuck in my mind:

The narrative. I liked reading the script of the TV show much more than any commercial. There is more dialogue, a plot, and developing characters. In a commercial the script can be an outline of movement, a suggested line, or even just an idea. Point one, pilot.

The activity. The activity on a commercial varies based on the budget, client, etc. I’m sure the same is true of a television show. However, being a PA on a commercial shoot that is longer than a day, it usually takes me about that time to establish myself to everyone, letting them know that I am not a slacker, but a smart, funny professional. It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough to where I begin to believe it. So I think the length of filming on a TV series would win in this battle, although I have worked on a few commercials for a week or more, so it’s kind of a toss up when comparing commercial and pilot.

The pay. Commercials pay better, across the board. So they win in a daily battle.

The titles. I was bumped up to a Production Coordinator title on the TV show I worked on. It’s a step up from Production Assistant, even though I was doing similar office work, just more of it. Resume-wise, though, pretty cool.

In all actuality, there wasn’t too much of a difference between my experience working on a commercial shoot and the TV pilot. The latter had a lower budget than a typical pilot shoot, which basically meant that I was working as a coordinator for commercial PA rate. And that the crafty selections were more limited. But I liked working on the pilot, liked the longevity that it could mean. And most importantly, I liked the project and the people I was working with. Which happens often on other freelance jobs, but this one just seemed cooler.

Lips of Rouge (317th new thing).

July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup. Quite frankly, I don’t think I would know how to apply anything more than blush, eyeliner, and mascara. I may even do that poorly. But on Day Three Hundred Seventeen I decided to step out of my makeup routine and wear bright red lipstick to work.

So bright!

The reactions were varied, but there was always a reaction. The security guard told me she liked my lipstick while the office bitch commented, “Oh, it’s so…bright.” I grinned widely and thanked her. Asif told me I looked like a circus clown. Jeremiah said it was actually a good look for me. One of the hosts asked me if it was one of my “new things.” I chuckled at that one.

I found the entire day very amusing, from positive to negative reactions. Any time I forgot that I was wearing bright red lipstick I was quickly reminded of the fact by the looks on my coworkers’ faces.

I don’t ever plan on tarting up my lips again at work, but I think it could be good fun on dreary days.

Greetings, from Production! (289th new thing).

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Gem Shopping goes off-air only once per year, from 7PM Christmas Eve to 7PM Christmas Day. During this period we’ve experimented with various filler material: host greetings, employee greetings, employee photos, host photos…you get the idea. This year some coworkers and I, all working in the production department, had a brief brainstorming session before setting out to create our video greeting. We shouted out ideas that progressively grew larger and larger until I was imagining myself entering a shot astride a CG reindeer. Eventually we collectively decided to try a bit of superimposition of our faces on ornaments hanging upon a Christmas Tree, a first for me on Day Two Hundred Eighty-Nine. I really wanted to ride a reindeer, but apparently it just wasn’t practical time-wise and equipment-wise.

We recorded our little greeting blurb individually, then Joel transposed us onto a royalty-free Christmas Tree background. I envisioned the scene as a sort of  “Brady Bunch” intro style, so unfortunately I look quite spacey shifting my eyes all around me.

For your own amusement:

Next year, I’m flying in on a reindeer.

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