I was on a shoot. The room I was working in was not square to the building it was in. It was like a set built inside the larger building, white walls that went up, but with no ceiling. It would be a breeze to light; I was just going to bounce a couple lights off the larger buildings’ ceiling from the left and the right. I had plenty of room, and all the lights I needed.
The shoot went off without a hitch. I just needed to clean up. I had a ton of gear out. I had my three tripods. One was light weight. It was fast to set up, worked well, and was reliable. I have a heavy-weight tripod for those shots when steadiness really counts. And I had a high-hat for extreme low angle shots. All had to go back to my car.
I had a couple large boxes of lights. Usually I just shoot with two or three open faced lights. Today I had used two boxes of three lekos each. Big, powerful and bright. I had them all packed back into their boxes.
As I started to get things ready to transport, I suddenly had helpers. A few of them, and they brought hand trucks. I saw Paul pushing out a cart with my light kits on them, someone else had my tripods, someone else had rounded up the mics… my work looked to be done.
I went out to my car, and everything was loaded in, but not well. I had to re-organize everything to get the back door to shut. The tripods and camera underneath, the light kits on top. Perfect.
We were in LA; Ken, Leslie, Lisa and I. I knew it was doing to be a long day, so I had a bit to eat before we set out. Unfortunately, I ate too soon. We were headed to South Beach, which had some great restaurants. And when we got there, that was a our first stop– a burger joint.
One of the first things I noticed about South Beach was it’s inappropriate name; it was well inland. In fact, it was just south and west of downtown. Ken said it was a name chosen to boost tourism; having “beach” in your name was a valuable asset when hunting tourists.
We settled into a burger joint, and I was very bummed I had already eaten. Leslie told me they had a burger licensed from Disneyland that was an exact copy of the theme parks famous “Deluxe Burger”. As I thought about it, there was not much difference between this burger place’s regular offering and Disneyland’s deluxe. They both piled on the seasoning salts. So the copy of the Disneyland staple made perfect sense to me.
We went outside, and the sun was out. It was a beautiful day. South Beach had wonderful, broad boulevards, with large grassy center strips. We were walking one of the strips, and noticing the sprinklers. South Beach was trying the new metal sprinklers. From what we could tell, they were not working out too well. All the heads seem to be rusted shut. Leslie poked at one and started laughing as the whole head came right off.
“What good is this gonna do,” she said, holding up the severed top. “With no top, they are just going to gush water, not water the grass.” We all started poking the metal heads; they all crumbled and came right off.
There was a greensman working the strip, too. We could see he was not too happy with the metal sprinklers; they are to install a second set of plastic watering devices in parallel to the metal ones. The plastic ones were quite large. He had one dug out that he was testing. The body of the sprinkler had to be two feet tall and eight inched wide; it was massive.
To get a look at how it was working, he took a reciprocating saw and cut into it. As half fell away, we could see the insides were full of salt.
We walked further up the road, and we came to a street I remembered well; there was a small movie studio Ken and I sometimes came to here. I asked Ken what the name of the studio was. He pointed up. Behind the short street there were a series of skyscrapers. There were six or eight, and they wrapped around the top of the street like the Plaza caps the end of Fremont Street in Vegas. Each of the buildings had its name in neon, strangely also like the Plaza. Ken pointed to one, the “Carrac”, and said that was the new parent company of the studio.
As we walked up the street and looked into the very small back lot, we could see some temporary corrals set up, and two horses penned in them. I told Tori that they must be shooting a Western. We saw the typical shop areas, prop storage areas and greeneries.
Tori asked me what they made at this studio. I said that they did a lot of The Muppets movie here– not “The Muppet Movie”, but the one after that; I forgot the name. I remembered that they shot part of Batman here. We watched part of it, and I pointed out a couple shots I knew had been done here.
There was an exterior shot of the Batmobile coming around a corner and stopping– that was hot over there on the back lot. And then Bruce Wayne’s office was shot on the stage. We looked at the set on the video. It was a dark set, with a messy desk and a lot of hand-written sticky notes all over.
We went on the stage, and they were setting up for a current movie. The set was a rehash of the Bruce Wayne office, down to the same sticky notes. No, someone there said, they are not the same yellow notes. We made new one up for this show, so the notes made sense to the story.
I looked at the yellow notes up close. They appeared to be hand-written, but they were not. They were slide-on letters. The same letter set was used in Batman– that is why they looked so similar.
I woke up.