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Goodbye Florida... thanks for all the memories... and Union Days!

sorry this post is so long

So the shoot down in Florida ended with a bang last night, or should i say, this morning.(18 hour day) there was a big debate whether we should start during the day and make it look like it was night, or just start when it was dark and shoot all night. it came down to an actor's preference and we shot during the day, which means that as grips, we have to make it look like it's dark outside... a process called "tenting." tenting means putting black material up on the windows and doors to block out all of the sunlight. now that part is easy and that part is actually just called blacking out, the real hard part of tenting is when you have a door that opens to the outside in the scene, or windows that you need to shine lights through, you have to actually build a tent around the door or window. it's a real pain in the butt. there are pictures near the end of the post of the tent we built.

anyway, below are some highlights from the shoot, i didn't take as many pictures as i should have, but i got most of the highlights. the biggest highlight of the shoot is something that i couldn't take a picture of.(i know i ended that sentence with a preposition, sue me) in the middle of our second week of shooting, the show flipped. that means that the union(IATSE. international association of theatrical and stage employees) called the producers and told them that if they didn't sign a contract with the union, they would have most of the crew go on strike. the whole ordeal is very complicated and kind of secretive, but the end result is that all of the days i worked on the show count as union days. i need 30 days to be eligible to join the union, and in the florida portion alone i got 28. we are still shooting 9 more days in LA so i will have all 30 days by the end of this show. this is big news for me as one of my main goals is to join the union where the money is better and there are benefits. i'll keep you updated as things move along with the actual initiation process, but the hard part is over.

Went to a Jai Alai game while i had some down time... very interesting. Florida is one of the few states it is still legal in.

Josh(gaffer) trying to look sexy on the beach in Hollywood, FL

Our first day of shooting in FL. We were on the beach in South Beach, and the weather was beautiful, hot, but beautiful, untill....

it starting pouring rain over lunch. it's hard to tell from the picture, but it was raining really hard and there was lightening all around. All of our gear was soaked and even until the last day of the shoot some of our rags still smelled. Welcome to florida!

Shooting from the top of a ladder in a church. there were 100 extras filling the pews. we had two 6k ballons lighting everything.

this was a real tv studio and the university of miami, we just put our fake news logos on all the screens. we shot a scene that took place in the studio and the control room simultaneously. Shooting scenes like that is very confusing because you can't play it out in both spaces at once, so you have the script supervisor reading the lines that happen in the other space.

This was our locations for our second and third weeks of the shoot. The Biltmore Hotel in beautiful but confusing Coral Gables, FL. Our first week was just 3 days and we shot in various spaces around the hotel, including...

The Everglades Ballroom... where our main character meets the governor of Florida....

A beautiful rear entrance where he is dropped of by a limo...(and where josh makes goofy faces)

And the main lobby, which we shot night for day, meaning we had to light it up to look like it was day when it was actually night.... which lead to an interesting problem....


Filming on location always brings new and different challenges, dangers, and risks. The bright lights attracted bees and each light and diffusion frame(pictured) was covered with hundreds of bees. anytime I asked one of my grips to change diffusion frames all i heard was, "i'm not doing it this time, i just did it, have alex do it."

This is the "Al Capone Suite" or 1300 as the hotel staff called it. it was a penthouse on the 13th floor, or rather it was the 13th floor. $5000 a night to stay there. it was ginourmous(not a word) but really small to have a film crew in. you see, you can shoot in a really small box, as long as there is a place for the crew and all their gear. this suite was really big, but only the main room was big... all of the attached rooms were really small and the mezzanine that overlooked the main room was very narrow, and not very easily accessible. it made staging equipment very difficult, especially for this scene. this scene was a big party that was filmed in one long handheld shot that went in the back rooms on the main floor and all around the main room. lots of extras, lots of set dressing, and lots of time. but that scene gave me my big break.

Yep, that's me! the director liked my look and we got along well and he was always joking about putting me in this scene. when i told him i would shave the main characters name in my head and wear a toga he was sold. i'm actually featured very prominently in the shot and lead the camera from the bedroom where i was chatting up the girl in the green dress(left) into the main room. we also shot a specialty shot of just me that should be on the dvd extras. that being said, being an extra sucks... i just sat around all morning, i couldn't wait to get out of that toga and get back to work.

this was our electric best boy, Gordon... i mean Ken... taking a name at lunch. he didn't have a raincoat and borrowed one from wardrobe.

this is a hanging dummy used as a double for the main characters dad.

i don't know why i thought you guys might like this, but this is a diffusion called hampshire frost. it's tapped to the outside of a door so that when the camera sees out the glass and would normally see equipment or just the normal street view, it now sees a fuzzy version of what is outside. just one of the little random things grips do to make movies look better.

this was our main actress watching news coverage of the dying sun. the one tv that is black with red tape on it will have the news coverage we shot in the stuido on it. those tape marks are so the visual effects guys can track where exactly the edges of the tv are.

this is a bad picture of the tent we made over the front door of the house. it took us three and a half hours to ten this house.

this is a rig i built for inside the house. it's called a "shotgun truss menace arm." shotgun truss means truss built with two pieces of Speed-Rail® clamped together over under to increase the rigidity of the Speed-Rail®. menace arm refers to the technique of attaching a piece of Speed-Rail® to a stand and then ratcheting the back end of the rail to the base of the stand. the suspension bridge looking thing adds strength to the shotgun truss.

and of course the men who make it all possible Alex(UR), Matt(LL), Peter(LR), and Me(UL)

Great bumper sticker

Florida... land of humidity and crazy birds