A gaggle of Condors
The machines are Condors. These are the 60 foot variety. And the top
platforms, which are shrouded here in blue plastic tents, are called buckets.
The Condor buckets are used to hold lights in high places, such as outside
a third floor window, to give the illusion that it is daytime, even when it is actually
night. Or in this case to make it seem as if it's sunny, when it is actually overcast.
The Condors are parked outside the location of Ernest and Mammy's fine
apartment. The only problem with them is that they are not easy to move up and down, and
there must be an electric (electrician to you) in the bucket at all times.
So the electrics take turns, going up in the buckets in the morning and
staying there until lunch, when they are let back down. And two new electrics take to the
air after lunch until quitting time.
I asked Brian if there was anything to do while up there:
"Occasionally, you move a light a little," he said, which I take to mean there
is nothing to do most of the time.
"You read, you talk, you shiver," is about it.
Stephanie and Stu suffer from post-bucket narcosis
On Tuesday morning Brian and Seth were in the buckets for a little more
than three hours. The temperature outside was in the mid 30s, and it was raining. In the
afternoon Stephanie, the newest electric, and Stu went up.
Stephanie has been an intern during the making of Cherry.
She spent most of her time in New Jersey out on the street, working with pedestrians, as
it were. She is from Argentina, where it is Summer right now, and much prefers to be out
of the cold. In addition, her interest in film runs to the camera department, so as an
intern she hoped to get some useful experience.
All of which may go some of the way toward explaining why she was so
excited last week when she got bumped over from Set Intern to Electric Intern. The
electrics set the lights up, and work with the Director of Photography. "I'm working
with the electrics now!" she said, practically running over with the news.
On Tuesday, after lunch, at about 3:30 PM, Stephanie went up in the bucket
alongside Stu, who was in the other bucket. As the afternoon waned the temperature fell
into the low 30s and the rain came a little harder, at times.
"It was really fun driving it at first," Stephanie said. On the
other hand, it was cold and she had to urinate almost from the start.
"I have to go often," she said, "and I had to go when I
went up. In an hour I really had to go."
When the electrics on the ground told her that there was no bringing her
down until 2nd Lunch, or they finished shooting, she thought they were kidding her. They
are hazing the new kid, she thought. But they weren't.
She complained from time to time, shivering in her blue plastic tent.
Although she was wearing about eleven layers, including 3 of cashmere, she wasn't using an
effective system of staying warm. Too many clothes, and too much cotton, restricts
circulation and keeps your perspiration on your skin, making you feel cold (Nick said
afterward: "What keeps you warm is your body temperature").
"Cotton Kills" is a favored motto for outdoors people.
It turns out that the electrics are experts at keeping warm, and each,
afterward, put on a little fashion demonstration of all their Gore-Tex, polypro, capiline,
fleece shirts, jackets and pants. Damon even wrote a treatise about winter clothing, with
a listing of good stores, pointing out to Stephanie that as the spring comes there are
sales that will bring the price of all this gear down.
Damon jots down some important notes
All very nice, though none of it helped Stephanie the day before, when she
spent six hours in the bucket, no doubt wondering why in the world she aspired to work
with the electrics...and how she was going to relieve the mounting pressure in her
But at least she didn't have to hold it in the whole time. After a while
someone below suggested that she drop a line down and they would attach a bucket. Although
first they had to find one. Eventually, they did.
"I was in the bucket and on the bucket," Stephanie said.
"My nickname is now Bucket."