Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Red Light is On

I was amazed to see this sign outside the door to the stage where "Parks and Recreation" (a television comedy starring Amy Poehler, for those who don't know) is shot. Studio protocol has always required people outside a stage to wait until the red light goes off -- signalling that the cameras have stopped rolling and "cut" has been called -- before entering. It's common courtesy to everyone involved, ensuring that the sound for a take isn't ruined by some oblivious and/or self-important idiot blundering through the door while yakking on his/her cell phone.

This protocol was established many decades ago (long before cell phones), despite the fact that most sound stages were equipped with double "airlock" doors that allow a relatively silent entry. Newer stages are rarely equipped with double doors these days -- that would cost money. As I recall, the "Parks and Rec" stage has at least two single doors like the one in this photo -- doors that slam shut with a very loud bang if not slowly closed by someone who can read and actually gives a shit.

It's their show and their soundtrack, but I hate to see a discipline that was once standard throughout the Industry fade away like this. The red light means "stop" -- or it used to. Nowadays, many people just blow right on through the stage doors whether or not the red light is on -- either they don't know or simply don't care.

And that's just one more thing that pisses me off. Yet another straw on this aging camel's back...

The red light still means "stop" here at BS&T -- and given that I'm back in the forested boonies of the Home Planet, that's what I'm going to do for a little while. Stop, that is. Internet access is sketchy at best up here, which makes posting a time-consuming ordeal in the best of circumstances. Besides, it's the heart of baseball season, which means I'll be doing a lot more listening to the radio than staring into this screen.

Hey, it's summertime, and we all have our priorities.

It's just as well -- you probably need a break from my increasingly cranky and didactic blather as much as I do. I'll probably put up a post or two over the next month (or more in the unlikely event that inspiration strikes with overwhelming force), but am putting the regular Sunday Post on the shelf for the next few weeks. With any luck -- inshallah -- BS&T will be back up and running by August.

Have a nice July...


Penny said...

Hi Mike. Wondered if you remember our actress on our last show bringing her 3 and 5 year old boys to the set during rehearsal? I'm not big on kids, but all she had to say to them was "red light on - Mommy is working" and they were quiet as angels!

Cheers to schooling them young,

Lakshmi said...

That's a lovely story from Penny... :) Have a great summer, Mike.

Michael Taylor said...

Penny --

One block-and-shoot day while heading back to stage, I found that actress's mom (the executive producer) waiting in the hot sun for the red light to go off -- and this was at one of our two double-doors. We chatted about the lack of respect so many people exhibit toward the red light these days -- and she just shook her head. I was impressed -- she could have quietly slipped in through those double doors (and as the exec, nobody would dare challenge her even if she made some noise), but didn't. Having been raised in the business, she respects the disciplines that form the foundation for everything else.

Lakshmi --

Yeah, good story. You have a great summer too...