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, December 5, 2021

The Miracle of Wrap

                                                 Photo by Mike McKinnon

We've all been there: utterly exhausted after sixteen hours of working on stage or location, with tons of equipment rigged high, low, far, and wide, when the 1st AD finally yells "That's a wrap!"  

The immediate sense of relief is palpable but fleeting, because we now face anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours of relentless physical labor, depending on your department and the logistics of this particular shoot. After a long day or night of working like an inch-worm -- doing our respective jobs as carefully as possible, then standing back to watch and wait as the other departments do their work -- the switch flips as the entire crew kicks in the afterburners.  

For juicers and grips, it's one more slog up Mt. Sisyphus, knowing that we'll have to push that big rock all the way to the top of the steep, rocky slope before our day is done. This can be a daunting prospect -- more than once I've looked around at the miles of cable, the BFLs in condors and/or big scissor lifts, and all the heavy power distribution gear -- and thought "Fuck. We'll never get this done."

But I was wrong every time, because this is when The Miracle of Wrap occurs: your third wind kicks in, and suddenly you just don't feel tired anymore, as if the previous sixteen hours didn't happen. I've never ceased to be amazed at how much a small crew of juicers and grips can accomplish in short span of time when wrap is all that stands between them and going home. Granted, the rig always comes down a lot faster than it goes up, and one last, sustained burst of adrenaline is required to complete the wrap -- but then it's over, the last idiot-check done, the truck or stage packed up as tight as a Swiss Army Knife. Pulling off my gloves at that moment, high on Mother Nature's own Dr. Feelgood rush of endorphins, I felt like I'd live forever, as would the bonds forged with my crew in this crucible of pain. 

Make no mistake: it felt like a miracle every damned time.

Waking up the next morning, that post-wrap glow was long gone. I'd feel like the Tin Man left out in the rain all winter, every weight-bearing joint rusty and creaky, with an aching back and an empty head.  But that's how it goes when riding the roller coaster of Hollywood, where you take the bad with the good and just hope for the best. 

And while I'm bloviating on the subject  -- that's a wrap on BS&T for 2021. 

May you all have a Merry (Covid-free) Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Phillip Jackson said...

That last job/work day of the year always feels a little bitter sweet. Happy to be done but then that damn fear of no one calling you in the new year.

Michael Taylor said...

Phil --

Oh yeah, I remember that feeling all too well. I can't count the times I wondered if I'd ever work again ... but something always came along. It wasn't always what I wanted, mind you, but - to mangle a quote from Mick Jagger - I usually go what I needed.

The biz seems to be hopping nowadays, so I'm sure something will come your way. As always, thanks for tuning in.
Good luck, and Happy New Year!

Phillip Jackson said...

Yeah without a strike looming over Hollywood I'm not worried about there being work. It's more the conditions we'll have to face. But that's for another post.

RajMahall1 said...

Curtain call, closing time, etc. Happy holidays to you as well!