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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
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.