Day 5 of Volcano Girl did not happen. The storm of the freakin century came through Los Angeles. It not only soaked our set, but it caused electricity to zap my crew. Oh hell no.
We are shooting this weekend on the CBS Radford neighborhood lot. This neighborhood location has been seen in a ton of USC thesis projects, the show "Greek," "Two & a Half Men," and "Perfect Couples." Here's a list of other shows that shoot there - so maybe you'll see our neighborhood location on those shows as well?
Back to the story.
Friday was completely clear and sunny until about 3pm. Then the rain came down.
We arrived at 5pm in down pour rain. The crew arrived and started setting up tents and lights - providing umbrellas and plastic bags for all electrical equipment. The rain slowed us down but wouldn't stop us. Productions shoot in the rain all the time.
I sat with the actors in the make up room most of the night but would travel to set a few times. On my way back to the make up room I was caught in a very serious down pour.
Hanging with the soundies on the deck of one of the fake houses.
I went to the car to grab my phone and got stuck.
Alan, our assistant director, ran over to the make up room and notified me that people were feeling a current from the lighting equipment. This of course is dangerous so we stopped production. Our plan was to figure out what was causing this, and if no solution came, then we would stop the production for the night. The rain was not stopping, so we really had no way of drying off the equipment.
We Needed Help
After calling every contact at CBS, with no one picking up the phone, we knew we were in a stand still. It also doesn't help that this weekend is a 3-day weekend. I bet a lot of people left work early!
I found a security guard who called someone...who called someone...who called someone. Thanks. But no thanks.
I got on the phone with my directing instructor, Sheldon Larry, and he talked me through it. Since we had no solution, he suggested simply walking around CBS to find someone. He then said not to worry about losing the night. We would figure it out, but safety first. He totally understood that I wanted to figure out the problem and continue filming. He said it's not abnormal for a director to say to their actor or crew "oh you're okay? can you go for another take? great!" ... I wanted so badly to find a solution and at least get some shots in the can.
I grabbed Stephen, one of the producers, and we walked the lot. He approached everyone who passed us and we finally found the CBS Electrician, Billy Webb. He came to our neighborhood location and called reinforcements. We had found someone to help!
They couldn't figure out what was wrong... They had no idea... and couldn't recreate what was making the spark. In preparation for calling the night, the whole crew put the equipment away and locked it up, so we didn't have our original wiring for these guys to look at. So with no solution and the rain not stopping, we officially called the night.
Now it was my job to figure out how I can shoot a 3 page fight scene in 2 days. Nearly impossible.
With the help of the DP's, producers, and AD, we cut almost 30 shots and moved an entire scene to another weekend.
We're A Team Now
It was - simply put - heart breaking. My whole body was slouched over, mourning the loss of the night. I didn't cry - don't worry - I knew my mom would talk me through it. She's good at that. I did get a little emotional though when my DP's looked at me and told me how upset they were. That was the moment. We were a crew. A team. This was our production and we as a whole were losing so much.
I learned so much that night. I learned about the strength of a team. We all worked hard even though the conditions were terrible. We all believed in the project and were willing to walk around soaking wet to make Volcano Girl a reality!
Talk about bonding!