Monday, June 18, 2012

Studio Days

A few weeks ago I took the initiative and went down to one of the local lighting and grip rental houses. I walked in and asked what a guy had to do to get G&E experience around here. One guy immediately jumped up from his seat and gave me a tour of the facility and said they're always looking to put people to work in the warehouse.* I shot off some names of the local grips I knew. I saw his eyes light up when I mentioned one of them. "Oh yes, he's excellent..."

Two days later I had a call from them to help with the annual inventory.  Nothing gets you acquainted with gear like spending a whole day picking cable out of bins, laying them out, counting them, and putting them back. I had no idea there were so many different cable types, guages, and connectors. I helped fold rags, organize flags and nets in all the trucks, fulfill a rental order, and learned how to operate a roadrunner stand. During breaks I was encouraged to wander and familiarize myself with the layout of the place. Before I left that day, I got to see a pair of 12k Arrisuns in action, being tested for an outgoing order. It was a sight to behold.


A week ago a referral landed me a position as a studio PA for a day at a boutique production company in SF.  I had never heard of the place before, actually, and even when I was done I still had no idea what they actually did there. Video production seemed only a small part of it. They had a paint shop, a machine shop, a photography studio, a main studio with a bunch of vintage Mole-Richardson gear, and meeting rooms. The best I could figure is they offered some kind of concept-to-completion service for, like, corporations and advertising, or something. There was also a public coffee shop in front.

While I did sign an NDA regarding the current project they were working on, what I can say is it must be awesome to work there. I mainly spent the day going on runs for the studio, including a beer run, expendables run, and a final snack run at Whole Foods. I was astonished by the full catering spread they had for meals - gourmet breakfast burritos in the morning, Mediterranean for lunch, fancy cheeses and crackers for midafternoon snack, and Indian for dinner. I asked one of the studio technicians if this was typical, and not just because clients were present. No, he said, it's like this every day - "They really take care of us..."

Thanks to the runs, I had a crash course in parking in the city. At one point I squeezed in between two pick ups, less than a foot of clearance on either side. Like a boss.

Toward the end of the day, however, I didn't have to go on runs quite so much (thankfully, because as the weather warms up, I'm realizing my car has no AC), so I went out to the studio floor and hung around the technicians.

Before I left, I helped lug a Fisher dolly down a flight of stairs.  Check that one off the ol' bucket list.


I enjoy production, I really do, but I seriously wouldn't mind a peppering of rental house/studio days. Way more relaxed.

*Really? That's all it took? Man, I shoulda done this ages ago...