Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Down the drain

One of the first things you learn on set is that "not all is as it appears to be."

All those nice offices, airports, hospital rooms, and even small town Americana, are constructed for the "look," and ease in filming.

This means that for a certain coverage shot, a whole wall might be unscrewed, unbolted, and moved out of the way so the cameras can get a better angle, usually in a matter of minutes. I've also seen the gaffer make the decision to take a portrait off the wall and have a large hole cut to bounce a light into a shot. Picture goes back on the wall, and no one is the wiser that there's a big gap behind the nice painting.

And other things which you take for granted, such as electrical outlets, phones, televisions, and trash bins are probably just props, and non-usable.

For instance, on show I used to work with an airport set, newcomers would often throw trash into the "official" looking bins, only to have props yell at them - the "real" trash cans were Rubbermaid bins with plastic liners.

But sometimes, even the vets forget this principle.

So today, I watched one of the leads on a show throw a cup of cold coffee down a kitchen sink, only to get yelled at by the crews as if he was a newbie backgrounder.

The sink's plumming was non-existant. That drain poured that bad cup of coffee onto the floor.

At least, today, they couldn't blame the background.

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