1.15.98

Call: 7:15 AM

Making Cherry
a romantic comedy starring Shalom Harlow
"Optimists live longer."
--Janna DeLury
"Pessimists live harder."
--Aleksa Palladino
You've Got Questions? Cherry Has Answers
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Locations:
Muffin Shop

Sunrise: 7:20 AM
Sunset: 4:46 PM

Weather: Snow! 1-3" Cold--20s-30s

Principals:
Leila, Dottie, Darcy, Customer, Menu Man, Red, Jack, Evy.

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Not all the action is on location

Thursday is payroll processing day, so Peggy and April are slogging through the acres of paperwork necessary to get the much beloved paychecks out. This week, at least, the process has been slowed by the somewhat late returns of many time cards.

Everybody wants their checks on Thursday, which may happen next week. Or not. This week, it seems, the checks will be distributed on Friday.

Otherwise, apart from payroll, Thursday at the office during production is much like any other day.

Becky comes in at 5:00 AM, the better to scramble drivers to pick up actors and crew. When all is said and done she will talk on the phone for the next 17 hours or so. And when I see her at 4 P.M. her bag of lunch from the Daily Soup is sitting on the table at her side, untouched.

And it isn't full of gazpacho.

Becky is the production coordinator, which means that the burden of obligation in the office is squarely her's. She is the head of the production department, and it is a tribute to her effort and humor and authority that those who work for her sing praises to her.

And may be why her soup is cold and her ear is red from contact with the phone and her voice is now always just a little raspy. That doesn't mean, of course, that she does all the work.

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Heath and Meg come in at 6 or so and stay until the day is done. As office PAs (Production Assistants) their jobs are to fill in whatever way is necessary. Which means that Heath makes a couple of runs to the set each day, to drop off call sheets and gift baskets for the actors and new script pages (pink this time), and to pick up paperwork and, some people hope, to bring back bear claws.

Black paper tape? It takes a sequence of calls to find it and price it, and send an intern on a trip to the store to pick it up. But Heath is on the case.

And Meg started her day by picking up Isaach at home and driving him to the set. She then spent the day on the phone, arranging to get things to set that are needed from the office, and vice versa.

"It sounds boring," she says after running through a rather incredible litany of ways she has spent her day. "But we don't have much chance to catch our breaths."

It isn't that the activities themselves sound all that exciting, but rather that there are so many of them, and they are all detailed and crucial to the production of the movie that impresses.

It is Katja, who takes the late shift and comes in at 8 A.M. (and goes home at 1 A.M.), who is responsible for maintaining the records of the shoot. Her list, it seems, goes beyond incredible:

First thing at night, that is when the shooting is done... The Script Supervisor's Report is copied, copies are sent to the editor and placed in the day file. The Film Inventory is copied, the original goes to its own file, a copy goes to the day file. The Exhibit G's (which are the actor's time-sheet-like work records) are copied and distributed to accounting, to Becky (to go to the Screen Actor's Guild) and a variety others who need it for scheduling and budgeting. And the handwritten Production Report, the record of what got done, is copied and distributed to all those same folks and filed in the Production Report Folder, of all places.

Of course, that's just what needs to be done immediately at the conclusion of shooting. Before a 24 hour cycle is completed the Production Report must be typed and redistributed, the camera/sound report must be copied and sent to the editor and Peggy. The camera/sound purchase orders must be processed, the call sheets compiled and copied and distributed and delivered and filed, and the signed SAG contracts must be filed, sent to the agents and distributed to accounting.

And the sides (script pages to be shot the day after) and skinz (a listing of needed extras) have to compiled and copied and distributed, too.

Meg says someone described the production process to her as "solving a really complicated word problem. A million details that can be organized in a million different ways."

Of course, as everyone knows, there is only one best way, though many others can be successful. And many others ways can lead to failure. In the crucible of production, when the tasks are many and the pressure is high, it is perhaps understandable that one's thoughts can focus on the fundamentals.

"What's really important," Katja tells me, "is that we don't usually get a chance to eat. And we never go to the bathroom."

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Oh, and in a good news/bad news development, tonight's shoot is running late. Which means it's a long day, but at quitting time everybody should be getting their paychecks. You win some, you lose some. And you're still running a sleep deficit.

    Mail the Cherry Web ManPeter Kreutzer  

 

Friday

 

(c) 1998 Peter M. Kreutzer