Friday, February 25, 2011

We Hate You Too, Nora Carr.

In today's NY Times City Room, there's an article in which Nora Carr and Betsy Palmieri present opposing views on having movies shot on the streets of New York. Nora's view can be summed up as "I hate it when they move in". Betsy presents a reasoned, polite, intelligent, articulate response. Good on you Betsy; I'd expect nothing less from you!

However, since this is not the NY Times, I'm permitted to take the low road.  See, it turns out, We hate you too, Nora Carr.

That thing in the picture probably isn't Nora Carr, but it might be.

Those of you who visit Polybloggimous regularly know that if there's one thing I excel at, it's my utter disregard for research or pretense at knowing what I'm talking about.  I tend to be right; live with it. Really.  I just know shit.

Anyway, the Times article says Nora Carr lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, and is a graduate student in history and literature at New York University.  Aside from that and what could be gleaned from a desultory Google Search, there's only so much I can tell you about the woman...or is there? Contrary to the short bio in the Times, she might in fact, be a graduate of Oberlin College (class of somewhen between 1893 and 1908).  If that's the case, she may be the REANIMATED UNDEAD!  I'm not saying that's the case, but it might be.

She might be this Nora Carr, in which case it's obvious she has a passive-aggressive relationship even with those she claims as friends.

Maybe this is Nora Carr.  I'm not saying it is; just that it may be.

Now, having admitted my utter lack of personal knowledge of Nora Carr, you might wonder how I can so boldly proclaim, We hate you too, Nora Carr.  I could just fall back on my well-known penchant for "pulling stuff like this outta my ass", but I won't.  I'm going to spill the beans on a TOP SECRET initiative that's been in effect for a number of years here in New York.  That's right...the NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theater & Broadcasting maintains a sign-up sheet where Location Managers are able to coordinate our campaign to "Annoy and/or Avoid Nora Carr".

On the avoidance side, are the movies that need to actually get their work done on any particular day without the interference of the insufferable Ms. Carr. She's known to argue loudly with the P.A.s who are tasked with keeping "bogeys" out of shots.  She blithely barrels through lock-ups to get to her ever-important Aerobics, Yoga, Kitten Stomping lessons.  She hauls around a vintage 1980's Boom Box so she can drown out any dialog scene she encounters.

She's a one-woman blown take.

Therefore, the city keeps careful tabs on her whereabouts.  Her home, workplace, favorite stores, bars and restaurants are all tracked. Her various friends and their habits are noted.  The city even maintains a database with GPS, HUMINT, and clandestine electronic eavesdropping so that even her most spontaneous movements can be accurately anticipated.  And Location Managers are kept up to speed on our iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys so we can religiously avoid encountering her -- There's an APP for that!

On occasion, we're taken by surprise by emergency street work or a water main break, a parade or street fair we may have overlooked,  or even some Presidential Motorcade we should have known about -- but we're never surprised by what we in the business, refer to as a Nora Carr Infestation.  To be honest, missing one of those other things is understandable and Producers chalk it up to us being "only human", but getting caught flatfooted by an appearance of Nora Carr is a firing offense.

It just doesn't happen.

I suppose you can be forgiven for wondering why, if we're all avoiding her, does Nora Carr seem to be incessantly annoyed by the presence of Major Motion Pictures everywhere she goes!  That's the other part of our campaign which was brilliantly conceived during the Koch Administration.  When any movie is issued their permit, they're required to affirm that they will "conscientiously endeavor to harass, inconvenience, provoke, besiege, ruffle, antagonize, peeve, molest, rankle, irk, vex, bother, and/or annoy, Ms. Nora Carr of Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, for no less than 2.37%" of the time they are filming in NYC.  Even movies that are intended to film entirely in studios are required to sign the pledge;  don't sign and you don't get a permit!

So, the truth, as I'm now happy to reveal, is that it's been years since Nora Carr has encountered a real movie shoot on the streets of New York.  They've all just been staged events solely for her benefit!

We really hate you, Nora Carr!
Update (with a slight change of gears): I've been back to the original article and read the comments, from which I take a few things.
1. Must. Resist. Arguing. On. The. Intertubes.
2. The Mayor's Office of Film Theater & Broadcasting has apparently changed their name.  When did this happen?  And why haven't they changed their website?
3. One of the most belligerent and assholey comments over there is by someone I suspect is a cousin of mine.  Note to family: If anybody invites him for Passover, he better be seated at the kids' table. Just sayin'.
4. If you're not related to me, good luck identifying the person I'm talking about in #3.  The comments get even more assholish as things go on.
5. For the record, on any decent production, P.A.s who "lay a hand" on civilians are promptly reclassified as Unemployed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sorry. Wrong Number.

I'm not going to talk about the job I'm on right now, but suffice it to say, when the Producer called me a couple of hours ago, the first thing he said was, "After this job is over, I'll completely understand if you put a block on my number."

::Big Smile::

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blogger Block.

You may have noticed I haven't posted a damned thing since Saturday.  Bah on me.

Sorry, I just haven't had anything particularly interesting to talk about.  I actually did start a few different posts on various subjects and realized if I was boring myself to tears, so I decided not to inflict that on you.

There are a couple of other things you might want to take a look at, though.  A week or two ago, I realized that most of what I write about the film biz consists of bitching about it.  Well, that's fair...bitching is fun.  So I was thinking about how cool it is to do this for a living sometimes, and before I got a chance to write about it, A.J. did it...and did a fine job of it too.

Also, I know most of you aren't all that concerned about the esoteric knowledge required to be a good dolly grip, but it won't take you all that long to read this.  Whenever you're watching the credits at the end of a movie (or even just stuck to your seat, so you don't have a choice but to notice how long they are), D's post is a good reminder of just why there are so many people involved in making a movie.  There are a lot of jobs to be done and most of them really are specialties.  In other words, we each have our own little (or not so little) areas of responsibility and it takes quite a bit of experience and expertise to be good at any one of them.

I'm off to The Hamptons in the morning for a couple of days' recce.  I doubt I'll need my shorts and sandals.  Damn!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Here's A HUGE Variety Examples Of Cover Art For Alice In Wonderland*

*All of them Copyrighted by people who aren't me.  If anyone has issues, please let me know and I'll be happy to remove any offending items...I just happen to think these are terrific.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

♩ ♫ The Ants Are My Friends, They're Blowin In The Wind, The Ants Are A-Blowin' In The Wind. ♬ ♪

In a stunning announcement, The Department of Homeland Security revealed today that Janet Napolitano will be granted a "Do-Over" for the testimony she gave yesterday to the House Committee on Homeland Security. An unnamed source revealed that Ms. Napolitano had been speaking about Tourism and only realized her error when reading this morning's Washington Post coverage of her testimony.

Insiders say she's taking the news "very hard" that she's been mistakenly fighting Foreign and Domestic Tourism since being named to the post.  She had believed her agency was doing a "bang-up" job with such initiatives as making air travel nearly intolerable and the inclusion of so many children on "No-Fly Lists".  "What family was going to go to Disney World if they had to leave little Timmy at home", our source said.

Furthermore, Napolitano is said to have been somewhat perplexed as to why there seemed to be such a focus on Islamic Tourism, when it was clear that Japanese Tourists were so much more prevalent.

Asked how the government might alter its strategy, our source revealed that the Department would "probably let gas prices fall to where they should be the $1.15 per gallon range", but otherwise they were looking into their options.  "Frankly", he said, "we're not at all sure how we're going to go about identifying potential terrorists.  It sounds hard."

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Twilight's Last Reaming.

By now, you've all seen or heard about Christina Aguilera's painful butchering of the National Anthem at yesterday's Super Bowl.  Most people are latching onto the bungled lyrics, but, c'mon...wasn't that thing excruciating by design?  And, frankly, I don't know why any of you expect anything different.  The NFL* does this pretty much every year.  They trot out some pop star, who, to be honest, has usually seen better days and is in the midst of an all out push to re-establish some relevance.  God forbid, they should think of someone who is actually at the height of their popularity -- I'm not really a fan, but I'm pretty sure a Lady Gaga or Katy Perry appearance would have been worth watching. Not to worry; one of them will get the nod in 2023. (Beiber's a Canuck, so let's give him a pass, shall we?)

Anyway, said Diva (and the appellation usually fits the male specimens they disinter for the honor too), goes whole hog trying to outdo every rendition ever previously heard by mankind.  And they tend to fuck it up in previously unimaginably embarrassing ways. Within moments, 32% of Americans will be calling for changing the National Anthem to America the Beautiful, 6% will be saying it wasn't that bad, 4% will want to know why Aguilara isn't a judge on American Idol anymore, 23% will be bitching that today's youth, "...ain't got no damned respect. Get me another beer Eunice".  Fully 19% of Americans will blame Obama and the remaining 16% were watching Girls on Probation to honor our 40th President's birthday.

Personally, I think.. wait for it...wait for it....WAIT FOR IT....there oughta be a law! Yup, I'm proposing a law.  First, it'll need a name.  We could call it the Christina Aguilera Law to honor it's latest inspiration, but that wouldn't be fair to Roseanne Barr, Michael Bolton, R. Kelly, or that Cop in Chattanooga.  There's also precedent for naming new laws after a noteworthy victim of the crime being addressed by the new law, but the list of potential victims in this case is a little unwieldy.  Nope, I'm gonna suggest we emulate our current Congress and give it the clunkiest, cheesiest name we can think of:  The Defense of Our National Anthem; The Star Spangled Banner as written and composed by Francis Scott Key and John Stafford Smith of the Anacreontic Society (even if the latter was a vile Limey at a time when we still didn't like them all that much, but that's water under the bridge) Act; a Statute which shall safeguard American Ears and the Ears of Naturalized Citizens (but only by incidental consequence, the Ears of Undocumented Aliens) from cacophonous and/or mis-sung renditions of the Anthem, and also as Evidence of the Patriotism of all Congressmen & Senators who shall have voted correctly regarding its adoption.  Doesn't that just roll of the tongue and guarantee Bi-partisan support?

I'm open to suggestions on what exactly should be in the bill, but here are a few key elements.

1. A sprightly instrumental interpretation can be achieved in 47 seconds without seeming too rushed and a more stately vocal rendition can be easily performed in 1 minute 16 seconds.  Any performance exceeding 1 minute 30 seconds shall be punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

2. The law should establish official sheet music for the Anthem and performers should be restricted to the notes on the paper with harmonizing acceptable when more than one voice or instrument are in use. Each use of a note not present in the sheet music or used in the wrong portion of the performance shall be punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

3. The inclusion of trills, tremolo, glissandi, excessive rallentando, coloratura, singspiel vibrato, and/or fatuous improvisation shall be kept to a minimum.  More than three instances of any or all of the above shall be punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

4. The words are the words.  Performers shall be encouraged to make use of cue cards, Teleprompters, crib notes or audible cuing devices.  Getting it right shall be deemed more important than appearances.  Variations in pronunciation intended to accommodate "vocal gymnastics" are to be used in moderation.  (Example: The word "proudly" has two syllables and shall not, under any circumstances, be pronounced Puh-ru-uh-ouuuuuuuuuuuuudly.) Variations in pronunciation based on speech impediment or the accent of Non-Native speakers of English will be overlooked, but the transposition or invention of words or lyrics shall be punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

5. Prior to performing the National Anthem, all performers shall be required to provide officials with a screenshot of their Google Ranking.

Fines for infractions will be weighted by the performer's Google rankings prior to the performance with unknowns paying fines of an essentially symbolic nature while the Internationally Renowned will face steep fines, lengthy imprisonment and, in exceedingly heinous examples, deportation should be held open as an option.

6. Congress shall establish the position of U.S. Music Laureate, who shall be responsible for evaluating any performance suspected of not being in compliance.  The Music Laureate will serve a term of 2 years so as not to overtax his or her tolerance, excepting that any Music Laureate who has previous experience  teaching music at Jr. High School or earlier levels will be deemed to be capable of serving two consecutive terms by virtue of Immunity to Atonality by Prior Exposure.  The Music Laureate's compensation will be a relatively small stipend, but each case he/she is called upon to judge will entitle him/her to a generous commission.

Feel free to contribute ideas to this bill.  I know it's not really thought out very well, but I want to make sure it feels familiar to the Republicans who would be voting on it.

*The NFL isn't alone here. You can substitute NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, Professional Bowlers Association, or the National Pork Producers' Council to equal effect.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Know This Great Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.

I know what I know.  I know what I don't know.  I know that I don't know all of the things that I don't know.  I don't know some of the things I know.

I know what you did last summer. I don't know the name of that song.  I know why the caged bird sings. I know where you live. I know I got skilz. I don't know how she does it. I know where I've been. I know how the moon must feel. I know I've got issues but you're pretty messed up too. I don't know who set the world on fire. I know the first cut is the deepest. I don't know if I can do that. I know she's kind of socially retarded and weird. I know the future.  I don't know which came first. I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way. I know my rights.  I don't know when to quit.

I don't like the look of that. I know who killed me. I know where I'm going.  I know where I've been. I know it when I see it. I know when I've been insulted. I know what boys like. I don't know what you're talking about. I know what I saw.  I know why and so do you. Don't know much about a science book.  Don't know much about the French I took. I know diddly. I know you're out there; I can hear your breathing. I don't know what you heard about me. I know you rider. I know how you feel.

I know the finger, Goose.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Well, My Streak Is Safe!

In the comments to this post, timb111 added a link in the comments that, uh, I can't directly comment on -- wink, wink, nod, nod.

It includes this wonderful bit of video that should be watched.  You'll have to get through the first minute or so to get to the relevant portion.  But I'd just like to point out that during the irrelevant portion, there's a paparazzo who seems to be having an inordinate amount of fun with the fact that Snooki doesn't seem to care that "her Senator" has just passed by without her noticing.  For the record, Chuck Schumer is not now, nor has he ever been the senator from New Jersey.

But now, go on to the video.

OK, by now you've discovered that clicking on the "video" doesn't do anything!  That's 'cause I discovered, just in the nick of time, that the embedded video would have put up a label naming, She Who Shall Not Be Named...right here on the blog!  And that would have been bad.

So you should just go to the link timb111 provided. Also, you'll see that there's a claim that the offending sentence on that post was written by an editor; ergo  Dana Milbank's streak also seems to be intact as well.


"Oh, That's Heinous Fuckery Most Foul" *

*which would be a quote from Christopher Moore's Fluke.
So Steve had a post yesterday about a company looking for some slave labor an intern of some sort.  And he might have also inspired the title of this post a wee skosh. But don't let the evidence sway you.

Anyway,  shortly after reading his post, I was perusing FaceBook and I got one of those status reports I get from a certain company that puts up job listings in film and television.  The listings are only teasers and if you want to know enough to actually apply for one of their listed jobs, you have to become a paid subscriber.  If I happen to ever see one of their listings that sounds promising, I might consider signing up. (I've only been waiting for that elusive listing for about a year, so I'm expecting it any day now!)

Anyway, this is the listing I saw after reading Steve's post:

Allow me to parse the listing for you.

First, the "AP" they refer to is an Associate Producer.  Associate Producer is one of the most nebulous job titles in existence.  In television (as opposed to film), it usually means huge responsibilities beyond one's experience level...but they make up for that with really low pay.  Oh...and you get a nifty job title. Don't get too excited though -- once you're on the job, you can expect to hear over the radio, "The toilet's clogged in the upstairs bathroom.  Get one of the APs up here right away."  Note that I'm not dissing APs; I'm dissing a system that gives the same job title to one person who could practically run the show and to another person who has trouble getting the lunch orders right.  And they both get paid the same.

Next, still in the first line, there's a reference to a "new reality series".  This can be translated into "We're not paying any writers; we're not going to have a real equipment package or camera crew -- just a bunch of low-paid AP's running around with little HD cams. We aren't spending squat to make this show, so we need a bunch of people to work extra hard so we can get this puppy in the can and on the air.

The next line reveals the Production Company -- a "Major Cable Network".  Translation: The first 15 seconds of advertising will pay the production costs of the first episode, but your petty cash includes a receipt from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.  We'll allow it this time, but next time you should take the Manhattan Bridge.  There's no toll on that one.

As an aside, the job description makes use of the word "doorstep" as a verb.  People who use the word "doorstep" as a verb should be bound and gagged and "doormatted" at the entrance to a particularly well attended Justin Beiber concert.  And people who apply for jobs with people who use the word "doorstep" as a verb may have only themselves to blame when they discover they're working for assholes.

The listing goes on to describe the job requirements which sort of match the qualifications of somebody who already has a few years experience as a Location Manager (which they've kind of made a point of warning you that they won't pay for), and then remind you not to apply unless you're an experienced Location Manager (which they can't afford). But they're not going to call the position "Location Manager" because that would clearly define the applicant's responsibilities -- and since they're looking for a "Locations AP", it means they want to keep their options open, as in ultimately, they'll be able to pile on a bunch of other AP responsibilities at their whim.  "Yeah, I know you still have Locations-ey stuff to do, but surely you can find time to drive out to Hackensack to pick up our Director's kid from day camp! Of course we'll pay for the tolls."

The part where they say they want someone who "would be excited to get out into the city" must be one of the perqs of the job.  Apparently, they'll spring for a MetroCard? And it's a "Self-Perqing" job!

The part about existing PR contacts being helpful but not required is sort of a "Hail Mary".  Hey, as long as we're asking for the world, why not throw in the moon and a couple of comets?

Finally, they stress that it's a non-union job and they're only hiring locals (i.e. no travel, per diem, etc.)  This is the final reminder that they don't intend to pay anyone very much.

Granted, this isn't as heinous as the indentured servitude Steve showed us, but it's not that much of a step up.  And I'll acknowledge; there's certainly a place in the world for jobs that call for people to perform well beyond their experience in exchange for a cheese sandwich.  Allow me to illustrate the difference.

If your show is the result of a few friends swilling beer and one guy suddenly says, "Hey kids, let's put on a show!", then you get to pay people diddly and expect them to do everything.

If, on the other hand, there's anyone in the chain of command whose primary responsibilities include keeping the cast supplied with pharmaceuticals and encouraging them to take up smoking, you  can probably afford to be hiring experienced people and paying them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Obeying Letter and the Spirit of the Exercise.

I don't really have anything to post right now, but as John pointed out, I need to move the previous post down the page just a little.

Since I've been listening to Duane Allman a bunch, here's Little Martha.