The day I went to the wrong set …Oops

So...what had happened was...

Okay. Yesterday I was hired to do production sound on a PSA. I was told it was going to be very simple. Small crew in a theater. One actor. Only a few hours. No biggie.

So imagine my surprise when I drove to the location and there were huge signs not only telling me where to park, but also a transportation van to take me to set (transpo-van). You see, when you have a large crew in a city (and a budget), you need to provide them with parking and a way to get them to set that is safer than walking the few blocks.

I figured I must have misunderstood the size of this production, so I unloaded my gear into the transpo-van, parked my car and we were off.

This is what "crew parking" signs tend to look like, but they actually rarely ever say "crew parking." They usually have just the letters or just the arrow to tell experienced film crew members where to park. It's their way of making sure strangers don't just wander to set...or it's their way of luring experienced film crew members TO come to set - like me. Oops.

Something didn't feel right but I didn't listen - and not like a scary movie where you BETTER listen to your instincts...

My call time was 9:30am and it was about 9:25am. But wow, it looks like everyone else has been here for hours!

On the drive we passed 4 grip trucks, a costume truck, trailers and arrived at holding where there were two catering trucks. I must have REALLY underestimated this production. I even asked "Is this us??" and received blank stares from the other two crew members in the van. Hmmmm....

I still haven't figured it out...

I got out of the van and unloaded my gear. The 2nd AD walked up to me and asked if I was with "stills." I said "what?" He said "stills." I said "No, I'm the sound person." He said "okay, set is that way!" and he pointed. He was so nice. I asked if someone could come out to help me carry all the gear. He said "sure thing" and walkie'd for someone to help Sound (I don't actually get a name on on set...I am called "Sound" until I say my name enough for people to remember).

A PA (I think) was walking by and she said she would help me. Her name was Laurie I believe. She was so nice. We chatted. She had been on set since 6am (But I thought everyone else's call was 8am?). I STILL had not realized I was on the wrong set, but I was going to figure it out soon.

About to figure it out...

We joked a bit more and then she asked "Where is all of this gear going?" I said "I'm not sure, I haven't seen set yet." "Yes, but who is the gear for?" "ME!" I proclaimed. Could this woman really not believe I was the sound person? She said "Oh, okay" and we walked onto set.

We passed about 3 monitor set ups, a huge sitting area for producers, even more gear and crew - and then arrived to set. This was not a theater, it was a restaurant. Nope, this isn't right.

We stopped walking, and I said with a smile, "I don't think I'm on the right set."

"What set are you looking for?"

I asked, "Is this the Margaret Cho interview?"

"Oh no, this is a Food Network promo...but oh cool, Margaret Cho is awesome!" Yeah she is.

So yes, I was on the wrong set.

I and all my gear had made it onto a Food Network show, but now we had to go all the way back to the beautiful holding area - the one with all the food I can't have - and wait for transpo to pick me up. Laurie walked me all the way back and walkie'd transpo. I heard their walkie conversation "Oh the sound girl is on the wrong set" Shut up dude, you don't need to tell nobody!

And the best part? Her boyfriend was the sound guy on their set! She said she didn't recognize me as someone he has worked with in the past, but she wasn't sure. She was really giving me the benefit of the doubt in this situation.

Back to my set...

The transpo guy picked me up and drove me to MY set. It was now 9:45am. I was late. I texted the producer "got wrapped up in the other production - be there in 5." This producer hasn't even met me yet. Is he going to think I'm an idiot? Ugh.

The transpo guy was very nice. No one really thought much of my mistake. I was embarrassed but more worried about being late. Margaret Cho was supposed to arrive at 10am, and I wasn't even on set yet.

When we finally arrived at the theater, we saw my mistake. The side entrance to the theater was literally 10 feet away from the entrance to the parking area but not clearly marked. I just trusted the production to take me in the van to set. I think what I experienced was voluntary kidnapping?

Once I got into the theater, I got a little lost just finding the right theater (there are 3 in this particular building...WHAT??). But then I saw other production people, and yes, I WAS FINALLY ON THE RIGHT SET!!! and only 20 minutes late.

I quickly set up. Margaret Cho arrived. Makeup and hair took up enough time for me to finalize everything, then I mic'd her and we were ready to go.

Margaret Cho 2

SEE! THIS is the theater I was trying to find for 25 minutes...

Margaret Cho 1

Which one is the real Margaret? Well... it's actually hard to see her. She's in the grey sweater in the background. You'll have to check out the Anti-Bullying PSA when it is released!

It was such a fun day with a great group of people. It was short and sweet. We all went to lunch at The Federal, had great conversation, good vibes from everyone. It turned into a very relaxing day.

And - when it was time for me to call it a day and go home - I went back to that parking lot, said goodbye to the attendant and drove past all of the Food Network crew cars. Goodbye my "could have been" friends!

So...what I think I'm actually trying to say is...it is really easy to sneak onto sets.

Love, Ashley

Comments are closed.