The call sheet tells the story: Day 39 out of 44. It
is the home stretch.
That means the book keeping has to be taken care of. Mary Ann, Pam and Amy, the wardrobe department, are making sure all the changes,
all the clothes an actor has worn in one scene, are bagged and tagged.
Actually, the clothes are bagged and tagged at the start of production,
when each of the costumes a character will wear has been selected. Mary Ann then assigns
the get up a Change #, and the tag gives the actors name, a description of everything in
the bag, the day # the scene will be shot, and the scene #.
Now, as actors are wrapped out of the picture, Mary Ann puts the bags of
her or his costumes on a rack in the corner of the room. At some point the things hanging
on the rack will be boxed, detailed labels will be put onto each box, and all of it will
be sent to a storage facility.
If reshoots or pick ups turn out to be necessary, all the elements are
then in place to get the job done.
Meanwhile, Pam works on the continuity book, a daily log of Polaroid
snapshots and notes that detail what each actor wore in each scene. The book runs
chronologically, with each page broken down into sections in which Pam notes the date, the
change number, the scene number and the specifics. Facing all of this are plastic sleeves
to hold the pertinent photos.
In the event of those reshoots, the Continuity Book should be able to
answer any questions about what happened on the day the scene was originally shot.
The continuity book
"You do this every day?" I ask Pam.
"This is my job," she replies, meaning that this is the
part of her job she finds tedious. There is a lot of bookkeeping to be done in the movies.
Even though the end is in sight, shooting is ongoing. Tuesday went well,
and the crew was wrapped by 9:30. Today's late call, as the production moves into night
shooting, has been refreshing.
"It was like a second weekend," Kyra
I've come to watch Donovan go through
wardrobe. The scene he is in today is a continuation of the scene in which he is dressed
as Spartacus, which we wrote about here a few weeks ago.
After he passes through hair and makeup he comes over to the other side of
the room, to the other side of a rack of clothes, to wardrobe.
"Your things are in your room," Mary Ann says. He nods and heads
out into the outside area, where the actor's rooms are. "We're going to use your
jeans," Mary Ann calls after him.
"You can't keep them. They're all I have to wear."
"You could wear your tights, Spartacus," Curtis suggests.
"Right." Donovan laughs.
Mary Ann explains to me that the production has jeans for Donovan, but his
are more naturally broken in. She'd like him to wear his own. When he comes back Mary Ann
makes her suggestion. He can wear the production's jeans home, she says, because once
clothing has seen the screen it must be bagged and tagged.
"I think I'll wear your jeans," he says plainly. Mary Ann nods.
That's fine. He sits in a folding chair and she begins to lace his sandals.
Mary Ann ties Donovan's sandals
Step by step she completes the costume, putting on and lacing one sandal
and then the other, hanging the skirt and lacing on the chestplate. There is a sword and
scabbard to affix, as well, and a cape and bracelets. As Mary Ann completes all this Noah arrives to set the wireless lavaliere microphone.
Pam adjusts Donovan's breastplate
Lavs are tiny mikes that are fastened to the actor's clothes. They have
only a short range, which means they don't pick up distant sounds very well. But they'll
pick up nearby voices just fine, which is one strategy for keeping background noise down.
In this case Noah is using the lavs because the scene that is to be shot
is quite wide, and there is no place from which Matthew
will be able to hang his boom.
The problem with lavs is that they can pick up the rustling of the
actor's clothing, or if the cable rubs they will generate other noises. Shalom's lav is
pinned in her hat, the wire then runs down her back beneath her hair.
That isn't possible for Donovan, but Noah tries a few different paths.
Mary Ann and Pam make suggestions, pros and cons are quickly discussed and, finally, a
route is devised. It means taking Donovan apart again, but as he is unlaced and then
relaced he is patient.
Pam has continuity points, regarding the way his cape is attached. Noah
asks that he help attach the transmitter to his leg.
Noah fiddles with velcro
The whole process takes nearly a half-hour. I can't help but think that
this must be enormously tedious for an actor. I ask Donovan what the most complicated
wardrobe he's had to do.
"I was in The Blob," he says. "To be
blobbed was tough. First you had to climb into a green, um, thing, like a big plastic
green body suit. You climbed up into it and then they filled the suit up with the green
gel. You had an oxygen mask so you could breath. Then you lay there and when they shot
they would pump more green goo into the suit and it would go up your nose and into your
eyes. It was terrible."
"So this is nothing," Mary Ann says and Donovan smiles.
I guess so.