Thanks to a daily regiment of Irish whisky at 8am, the afternoon was now beginning to feel like morning.
I drove the RV west into the sun for the start of a new day.
A woman pulled up alongside to get my attention.
"Oh, she must be wondering how movies are made," I thought.
I rolled down the window to answer her questions.
"YOU'RE ABOUT TO LOSE SOMETHING!!" she shouted.
Sure enough, in the rear view mirror I saw the back panels flapping away in the breeze.
Something long was indeed protruding out of them.
It got longer and longer.
Then it flew out onto the side of the road.
And then another one.
"Shit. THANK YOU!!"
I pulled into an abandoned parking lot.
The RV I was driving had tables in it.
This was news to me.
Previously the tables had been transported in a minivan.
While I was at the office at 4am, the decision to put the tables unsecured in my RV must have been made.
Now they were on Route 46.
I walked a hundred or so yards, where a man and his pick up truck had pulled over.
He studied the tables on the side of the road.
"How's it going?" I asked.
He acknowledged me with a NASCAR nod.
"These are mine," I said with bored guilt.
We shook hands.
"Yeah, I pulled this one from the middle of the road."
I thanked him.
"Well, I just hate to see shit lying in the middle of the road."
And like the exhaust from a nitro-burning funny car on a hot July speedway, the would-be scavenger vanished into the sunset.
Normally production tables measure 30" x 72".
They can be made of plastic or aluminum and are generally lightweight.
For the filming of Grundler Bend, Jerry rented wooden tables.
They weighed about 40 lbs each.
I carried them one at a time above my head for the two hundred-ish yards back to the RV.
"Hey Dan, I'm going to be about ten minutes late. Some tables flew out of the RV."
"Are you okay? Is everything okay?"
I assured him that no one got hurt, and that the heavy wooden tables had flown only onto the side of the road.
Not through anyone's windshield.
Or into anyone's children.
"How many tables do you have?"
I counted six.
"We're supposed to have eight."
Well then it was very possible that those tables had killed some children.
Just Another Morning Evening
Tonight we filmed on a well-wooded residential street in Ft. Floyd.
On the corner stood an old, green, vacant mansion.
I taped pieces of paper with xeroxed arrows onto a porta-potty.
The crew parked wherever they wanted until Dan yelled at them.
Nearby, the grips unloaded their truck of never-ending gear.
To me it resembled giant Dutch drum hardware.
The talent RV's needed power before the talent arrived.
Electrical was to supply us with a line of power.
The emaciated best boy was hard to approach.
He found a contained joy in ignoring me.
I asked again about getting power to the RV's.
"itll be a while we have more important things to do"
This would become an ongoing daily ordeal.
I stood and ate pizza for breakfast.
Mixing With The Locals
Ft. Floyd came out to see what all the fuss was about.
They gathered politely in droves on the corner.
"What is this?...What movie is this?...What's it about?"
"We're filming a movie...Grundler Bend...It's an independent film about ghosts."
Everyone wanted us to film Transformers instead.
That would've been fun to try.
But filmmakers don't take requests.
"Do you need any extras ha ha ha...? ? ?"
Holli had me on lock-up by the talent trailers.
Some passersby eyed the deserted pizza under the lonely tents.
"C'mon honey. That's not for us."
"I DON'T CARE. I'M FUCKEN HUNGRY!"
A woman came up to me.
She was tall and blond and spoke with an accent.
"What is this?"
I told her what it was.
She had lived in LA for a while but had gotten a divorce.
Now she was in Ft. Floyd.
She rolled her eyes when she said it.
I inquired about her accent.
She spoke with a cold dry curiosity.
She went from 4º to 6º C.
I learned a lot about her.
"I'm a googlemaniac," she declared.
She told me about her job in Aurora as an air traffic controller.
She worked alone in a dark cubicle.
She told me about airports that had terrible layouts.
I asked her if she had seen the movie Pushing Tin.
She laughed and said it was accurate other than the romance.
She told me about the old, green, vacant mansion on the corner.
It once belonged to the founders of Ft. Floyd.
She and a neighbor had broken into it recently.
Apparently the toilet in the basement still works.
Also, her husband was away in Dallas.
"Raccoons love Chinese food," she added.
I was learning a lot in general.
During the course of our conversation, both Holli and Dan had dropped in to visit, and then returned to work.
It seemed we had been chatting for close to an hour.
"Well, I'm going back to the house for a martini."
I remained on my lock-up.
The director's mother is a sweet, lovely woman.
Every night before midnight, she arrives with food for fifty hungry jerks.
She makes the food herself.
Tonight it was Greek cuisine.
It was delicious.
After lunch everyone is less of a jerk.
This is the best part of the working day.
Thank you, Suzanne.
Mikey & The Digits
After lunch, I mostly hung out on set.
Holli gave me the northern lock-up.
It was an easy, isolated spot.
Before lunch, Mikey had the southern lock-up where all the rowdies clamored.
Between takes, a gaggle of girls flirted with him.
By the end of the night, one girl had given him her number.
Way to go, Mikey!
That kid has been working his ass off.
In addition to the 14 hour days spent on set every night, he's continued his day job as a park district custodian.
He's been catching naps on gym mats.
And get this.
He's working as an intern.
An unpaid intern.
And the producers won't give him college credit.
So even the word intern is a misnomer.
He's a volunteer.
Fuck that girl or something, you're making me ill over here.
Blind Spots To Blood Spots
A Ft. Floyd police cruiser had a camera affixed to it.
The actor drove it down the tree-lined street from 2am-3am.
He grew more impatient with each take.
After the ninth or tenth call of "reset", he began driving recklessly back to "one" in reverse like a petulant child.
With the car idling, the slate girl put her eye to the viewfinder of the camera on the car.
The actor had kept the car in gear.
"He's still in reverse!" I called out.
"Guys, the car's still in gear!" Holli warned.
The crew ignored us.
The director of photography spoke to the actor.
The slate girl took her eye off of the camera.
The car backed up and almost clocked her in the head.
She stepped out of the way.
"Thank you, Tony!" said Holli, walking up to me.
"He's going to kill somebody tonight."
Meanwhile, a girl from the art department sat cross-legged and painted a doll red for eleven straight hours.
Moving To The Mobil
We made a company move to a second location.
It was a gas station and 4am.
We were behind schedule.
All the trucks and gear and hipsters had to pack up, drive one mile, unpack, and set up again.
It began to drizzle.
To stay dry, Holli invited me into the police car to stand-in for the actors while the crew set up the shot.
I felt like we were in a reverse drive-in, with the director, the grips, the art department, and the camera department all looking in at us.
It was taking a while.
The DP had been using lots of time to set up shots all night.
His name was Wentley.
He wore the irked air of a prickly caviar critic.
"How are you sitting?" he glared at me.
"I'm sitting like this."
He scowled and returned to his weird world.
How was I supposed to answer that?
If I have to interact with him to stay dry, then I don't mind getting wet.
The Fantastuck Four
We wrapped on the dawn of another dreary day.
My mind had become a grey soggy egg.
I did make sure the panels were locked on my RV to prevent further unsolved deaths of innocent children. But I couldn't figure out how to get any radio stations other than Noah's Severe Weather Report, which is a robot that repeats only the hazardous weather information.
The good stuff.
Its cautious loop of possible hailstorms and gust advisories calmed me all the way back to the hotel, where Holli and I imbibed in our daily habit. Dan and Alex joined us in our room, and now a quartet dished about the perils of this goddamn job.
Alex is a genuinely friendly person.
When he removed his Super-PA cape, I got to know him even better.
Despite my professional shortcomings, he seemed to like me, too.
He's an earnest man with enthusiastic curiosity and an ability to crack up a room with a simple observation.
Did I mention Irish whisky was involved?