...delivers a resounding "meh."
Looking out the big doors of Stage 23 at Sony Studios
Every now and then the geiger-counter at Blogger detects an uptick in activity from a particular – and occasionally new – source. Although this space has been on the receiving end of flurries from Reddit.com in the past, there’s been nothing for a while... until this last week, when a Reddit member posted a few recommendations on the Industry blog-o-sphere for his fellow readers. He liked the infamous but talented Shane Hurlbut’s “Hurlblog, “Gaffers Unite!” and Evan Luzi’s “The Black and Blue” a lot, as well he should – although the last time I looked, Evan was working in the Southeast, not Los Angeles.
But maybe he’s since moved out here to Hollywood. People do it everyday.
“Surprisepinkmist” (no, I’m not kidding) is also a fan of “Dollygrippery” and “Totally Unauthorized,” for good reason. Both "D" and Peggy Archer -- the O.G. Queen of the industry blog scene -- tell it like it is with lean, punchy prose I've always admired. Anyone interested in the nuts-and-bolts of movie making will learn a lot from all of those sites.
The Reddit poster was less impressed with this space, describing BS&T in rather tepid terms: “Has the occasional informative post, but a lot of the time it’s mostly just snippets of set life.”
That's an apt description, but I'd argue that it all depends on your definition of the word “informative." If the technical details and how-to of filmmaking is what you seek, this blog will be of limited use -- after all, the sub-heading below the title is “Life in Hollywood, below-the-line,” not “How to shoot a feature with a cell phone
,” “How to light a night exterior in the rain,” or “How to best employ the latest in LED lighting technology on set.” Although I retain a professional interest in such subjects, they don’t motivate me to hit the keyboard. Besides, with a dozen ways to solve every lighting challenge (depending on the circumstances), it's not my place to stand atop a soapbox and tell the world how. Seekers of technical specifics will have more fun elsewhere, because other than an occasional bleat about lousy or dangerous equipment, I’m not particularly interested in writing about the mechanical/digital aspects of the industry.
Now on the downhill slide of a career that will end (one way or another) within the next five years, it’s the human side of the story that interests me; the techno-wizardly, not so much. Thirty-five years ago I couldn’t take my eyes of those gleaming Panavision and Arriflex cameras on set, but nowadays a camera, digital or film, is just a piece of expensive gear in someone else’s department, and just as well.
Although I completely understand the fascination of younger people – film students and recent grads just starting their careers -- for the newest digital gizmos designed to put motion pictures on screen, the stories that interest me in Hollywood come from the people behind the scenes, not the technology.
And if that makes me an official old fart, so be it. There are reasons why young and old see the world through very different eyes, but in sifting through the varying perspectives available on the web, you might eventually find something resembling a rough distillation of The Truth. I can only write about what's important and meaningful to me, and if this space fails to intrigue, there are many great industry blogs packed with useful information out there for you.
So thanks for the link, Surprisepinkmist, and the subsequent uptick in hits. For any disappointed Reddit readers searching for technical and problem-solving advice on running power and lighting on set... well, you won’t find much of that here. The meat-and-potatoes of this blog has always been the human experience of living and working in Hollywood below-the-line. The rest is gravy.
That said, we never turn the lights out at Blood, Sweat, and Tedium, where you’re welcome to linger as long as you like. Be my guest and browse through the stacks... but if you can't find anything interesting here -- and instead harbor an unquenchable lust for the gleaming technology that enables modern cinematic image-making -- then you might find other sites more rewarding.
And in that case, Godspeed on your quest through cyberspace. Take my best wishes with you.