Monday, August 20, 2007

No Gettysburg Address

Apologies to Mr. Linkin for overwrought stagecraft and the longest blog post ever

Photographs by E

It’s 98 degrees out here and I don’t have a tent. The call sheet says it will be hot and to bring tents. The coordinator, B, had a tent on his list of things to get. I assumed it would be here. Never assume anything. I’m more worried about the equipment -- the fancy hard drive recorder rented from Nashville, TN -- than myself. I call B.

“Oh, I forgot to set that out for JD to take with him,” B says. He says he will bring it over.

I had thought that maybe the PA sound system guys would have a tent that I could squeeze under, but they only have a 10X10 Easy Up, and they’ve put sides on it and pretty well sequestered themselves. Next to them I’m like the new guy in the shanty town, lacking shelter and needing to find the materials to extend their shelter another unit.

At least I have my Rock ‘n’ Roller cart with shelf to put my gear on. This is one thing I don’t have to think about in advance, because I have it in my car, always.

Cameraman H comes over to kindly ask if I need anything. This is rare. Usually audio is something that non-audio people give a wide berth to, because there’s always something going wrong and they want no part in it -- they just want to be able to say later, when problems are revealed during editing,“Talk to the audio guy about that.”

But H is really nice and he also has little to do during these setup hours. He only needs to point and shoot later. He offers his umbrella and stand, and I gratefully accept it. When he brings it, its shade is dwarfed in the face of this blaring sun, and it covers only the equipment.

I head for the Port-a-Let behind the Revolution Stage, and JD comes toward me from the tent where the bands will be interviewed.

“What’s this about you stealing our tent?” he says.

“I’m not stealing your tent,” I say. “B is bringing the one from the office. Or wait. Where did you get that one you’re using?”

“I saw it in the office yesterday and threw it in the car.”

“Oh, so you got the one from the office already.”

“Yeah, B said to take it, so I took it.”

So there is no tent for B to bring to me. I call B back and tell him JD did get it.

“Well if JD has it, then you should be fine,” B said.

No -- JD is in one place -- the interview tent behind the Revolution Stage. My post is out in front of the stage in the mix/monitor station. On gigs that are unusual for us locals, there is a constant struggle to get the clients to explain the situation, and then for us to explain it each other. My first call about this show had my job totally wrong. B called me to work on this thing with a "Lincoln Park." I had barely heard of them. I pictured some band that had come up through the ranks performing on the mall in Washington, DC, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, amid pristine grass, marble columns, and overweight White tourists in tank tops swaying and clapping their hands.

I was told I would be following a camera person around shooting a host who would be documenting the bands that day. I would also be overseeing two production assistants who would be doing the same as me but with other camera operators, on a less important scale. The local company where B works, which was coordinating this, had all the necessary gear. This type of work was right up their our alley, and mine as well.

Two days later I was told that no, I was to be recording a feed from the sound board and also recording audience mics, meaning mics planted on the stage to face the audience and get its noise. The two audio production assistants would be handling all the roving camera audio work. I told B that doing that roving sound work would be too hard for non-sound people to do alone. He said he had told client/producer M that, but that M had said that their jobs would not be crucial.

I needed a 4-track field recorder with about two business days notice. Around here, there are not many 4-track recorders that have timecode, that are portable and reliable. I checked with one company, but theirs was being used that day. Some folks use laptop computers with audio interfaces for 4-track recording, but I don’t like laptops on set. They are notorious for crashing or acting funny, especially in extremes of temperature. I wanted something that I knew would work reliably. So I said I knew where we could get a recorder from Nashville, TN, but B said shipping would be expensive, so we should see if the producer, M, could bring one from Chicago. So I stayed up painfully late that night typing up our options for what we would need from Chicago in certain scenarios. For instance, there were additional mics we would need to rent, but if they were not available locally, then I would need M to get those in addition to the recorder.

The next morning, I called the local rental company and they did have the mics I could use to cover the audience. We would not need these from Chicago, just the recorder. I told B.

That night I called B to see if M had gotten the recorder from Chicago. B said to call M directly. M said he had not gotten it. But he had gotten the microphones I had said he would need to get if we could not get them locally. B had not told him that we had gotten these, and he had gone ahead and gotten them without checking with us.

We talked about which rental company, the local one or the Chicago one, would be cheaper for these mics he had rented redundantly. I wondered if M would really want to bring the extra case on the plane. “Do you have everything that goes with them?” I said to him. “The zeppelins? Windjammers? Stands?”

I really wanted to get as much as I could from my own sources that I knew would have all the accouterments straight.

“Yeah, I got those,” he said.

I was thinking, there’s no way he would bring heavy stands for outdoor use on the plane. No way he had all this stuff.

Then he said, “Wait - what’s the zeppelin?”

We decided he would cancel this part of his order and go with the local stuff.

I was left with one more more business day, which was Friday, before the day of the show, Monday, to get the freaking recorder.

So on Friday they finally let me call Nashville, and Nashville had one. They could send it to arrive on Saturday. I had planned to be at my Dad’s on Saturday visiting him and his wife, but now I would have to delay that trip so I could receive the gear, take it to Raleigh, put it together with our other gear, and check it all out.

I did all this, spent an hour in Raleigh checking things over, then went to my Dad’s for Saturday night. He and my stepmom were going to Vienna and Prague soon, and I took my travel books to them.

On Sunday, I drove back to Raleigh, put all the gear in my car, drove to Chapel Hill, picked up the other microphones there, and came home. By then I had in my car twenty 25’ 12/3 stingers (heavy extension cords) which may have weighed 150 pounds altogether. I also had ten 15 pound sandbags to hold the C-stands for the audience mics down on stage in wind -- that’s another 150. Then there were the C-stands themselves, maybe 30 or 35 pounds together. Then the audio gear in a couple of bags - - not just the gear for my part, but also the mixers and booms and mics and wirelesses and batteries and harnesses for the two production assistants who were to do the audience and band interviews. My car was sinking low in its wheel wells. The rental folks in Chapel Hill said I should be careful going over speed bumps.

All this prep had sort of mushroomed out of the initial deal of doing “walking interviews,” which we are already prepped for. Now there was all this planning, this calling, this waiting in town for shipments, this rounding up gear in my car. B told M we were doing much more work than expected, and said he would need to pad in some extra payment for us. He said I could get $100 in addition to the payment for the actual work day. It wasn’t really enough, but it was something.

And nobody had really talked about who would round up this gear. This job had simply fallen to me. I decided I would put my mileage on the invoice too.

I explain to B on the phone that I still need another tent and he says he’ll bring it. I go to the Port-a-Let, and then to check on JD and C, the production assistants who were to do the roving audio work. We had planned for them to simply let the host use a stick mic with a transmitter. All they would have to do would be to monitor that one mic.

Now there is talk of adding in body mics. M says there will be multiple band members being interviewed by the host, and he isn’t sure how to handle it. I tell him we had not arranged to do this, but there are body mics in my car and we could do that if necessary.

This discussion gets interrupted when the director wants to have a crew meeting. Surely this will be a waste of time for me. We gather ‘round and the director tells everyone that this is a Rock and Roll show, and the important thing is to have fun. I always worry when they start saying we should have fun. It makes me think they are not paying attention to important things. He asks if anyone has seen a certain Pink Floyd video. I look around at the cameramen's faces. They are all familiar -- they shot Hurricane Fran, they shot the Duke Lacrosse scandal. They do whatever you need. None have seen the Pink Floyd video. The director says he wants this show shot like that video -- not too shaky, but with nice . . . somethings. Zooms? I don’t know what he says here. I just want to get back to getting the audio organized and laying cables and stuff like that.

The meeting breaks into smaller groups where the director will try to convey his vision to the camera guys.

I show C and JD how to calibrate the mixer with the camera levels. I show them the transmitter gain knob on the stick mic and say that that will be the most important point not to distort because they will not be able to adjust that knob on the fly. “Look at this little meter here,” I say to C. He is looking off across the parking lot at some babe or something. “This meter here. You need to watch this. C? Look down here.”

M is presuming that I can just “show them about the levels” and they’ll be good to go, but he doesn’t realize the ADD we’re up against out here, what with having been raised on televised Rock such as we are making this very day.

I ask JD and C if they want me to get the body mics from my car. We look at each other, all three of us imaging what a mess that could turn into for non-audio guys.

“Do you want my car keys?” I say to JD, meaning, they could get the wirelesses from my car if they want to.

“No,” he says, and the body mics are thus nixed. JD was a sonarman in the Navy. Though he doesn't bill himself as an "audio guy," he is way overqualified for "production assistant doing audio." I figure he'll make it work, whatever they do.

JD is not only being a sound production assistant; he is also renting us his laptop computer and backup firewire hard drive. While I hate to depend on a laptop for field recording, I do need it to burn the audio files onto DVD’s later. And since JD has brought a backup hard drive, I think it will be nice to have the recorder simultaneously record the audio in it too. The recorder’s instructions say this will work. But out here in about as much of a “field” as you can get -- the dusty parking lot in front of the Revolution stage -- I can’t get the hard drive recorder to recognize JD’s backup firewire drive. He comes with me back to my station and he can’t get his laptop to recognize his hard drive either. “It worked yesterday,” he says. I say it’s okay -- it was just backup anyway. So the backup was down, but the primary thing, the hard drive recorder, was still okay.

JD has also forgotten to bring the power cable for his laptop, but it has enough battery power to last a few hours. I say that’s okay too. I’ll only use it to burn DVD’s later, I won’t keep it running for the whole concert. We close his laptop and assume it has gone to sleep.

While I’m trying to talk to JD, the PA emits a blast of crackly, shimmery white noise sounding like an afterburner pointed right at you, something I once recorded from a distance. It’s like we’ve come out to some desert to witness a UFO landing, and the PA speakers are our Devil’s Tower. There’s an emphasized frequency in the sound that rises, as if in a phase shift, from bottom to top where does that “flipping over” effect and comes back down again. I love that sound, but not while I’m trying to think and work out my own problems. It stops and, I presume, the PA system is tested. It’s too bad I didn’t have the recorder rolling on that.

M, the director, and some woman with black hair and a dyed blond streak in it come up to me. The woman looks like she’s “somebody,” and I recall that, on the call sheet, there had been mention of talent named Metal-- somebody. She leans on the barricade surrounding the audio monitor area and waits while the director talks to me.

“So, we’ve all done this before,” the director says, and I don’t tell him I’ve never done this before.

“What are you recording on?” he asks me, as if there’s any time to change it. I tell him.

“So, if you mix . . .” he puts his hand to his head, thinking, and I think, “’Mix’? I do not like the sound of that word.”

Metal is wearing a low-cut tank top that I’m deliberately not looking down. I wonder what the big deal about all this is -- the “metal” thing, the black with a blond streak, the death imagery on the tank top just below the cleavage. Days later, I look her up and find out she’s Iranian, and I know exactly what it’s about. Rowrr, go sister! Lead your people out of religious submission and into the cesspool of free love, free market, freedom that your teenagers are reported to adore.

I cut off the director’s thinking and say, “I’m just recording four tracks. It wouldn’t make sense to mix them out here, wearing headphones. I won’t really know what it sounds like.” Not to mention, I never never ever actually mix music for a particular taste. I only mix voices, when I have to, to minimize phase problems and overlapping noises between “talent” members. I’m not the Rock and Roll guy this director presumes M has hired for him out here.

M concurs, and the director is appeased for now. They go away.

Another production assistant, E, comes to me and says he’s been told to help me. Thank goodness. E is a former student of mine, a great worker with a way of doing things slowly and quietly and getting it done fast, without your realizing he was even really doing it. On another set once, someone needed a light adjusted and E came out of nowhere with a ladder and was halfway up it before anyone else had noticed him. Someone said, “E’s” already on it -- he’s the stealth grip.”

I ask E to run mic cables up to the stage for the audience mics. The sound system PA guys have run all their cables in one bundle up the center of the audience area, from center stage to their mix/monitor station. This is a dirt and gravel parking lot -- there is no place other than alongside their cables to run ours. I know I’m gonna get an induced hum from being so close to their cables. And all they’ve got to cover their cables are rubber mats -- no proper cable crossovers to keep the moshing feet off the cables. But this is okay with them because their cables are very robust. Mine are not nearly so sturdy.

I go up to the stage and ask the road crew up there where I can put my audience mics. Their leader shows me exactly where I can put them, right up front at the edge of the stage. They are directional mics, but it’s still going to be a challenge to minimize the amount of PA audio that gets on them. There are the huge PA speakers, and then there are smaller towers of monitor speakers flanking the stage pointing directly across it to the other side.

I carry the C-stands up there, the 8 sandbags (4 per stand), the boom hooks, the booms, the mics. It’s kind of silly to have these audience mics on boom poles on C-stands, because I do not need the extension that the booms can provide. The reason I have them is it was the only way I knew of, on short notice, to mount such a mic on a stand. But collapsed, the booms don’t hold themselves firmly in the C-stand mounts, and I’m worried they won’t stay.

E appears on the gravel below the stage. “We can gaffer tape that in,” he said about the boom in the mount.

But we never get around to taping the booms into the mounts.

To my surprise, when I go back to my little sound board and turn up the faders for the booms, they sound fine. No hums. I convince E to go out into the audience area and yell out like he’s the audience. In my headphones, he sounds like the last person on earth hollering alone in wilderness. Slight gusts of wind kick up dirt and make swirling clouds. To the side there are generators making their awful noise. I reckon those will be drowned out by the audience.

I’ve got to split out more outputs from my audio set to feed the camera. I ask E to listen to this message that’s come in on my cell phone for me. While I work, he repeats the message out loud.

“B called. He had to go home to get his credit card to pay for the tent. While at home he locked himself out of his house. He had to get his drug-dealer neighbor to break into his house for him. He’ll be here with the tent shortly.”

The PA sound guys turn on some new amp somewhere, and a buzz appears in my left audience mic. I don’t think there’s a whole lot I can do about it. The PA guy says I could lift the ground, but he doesn’t think that’s the problem. “These people know how to do power,” he says. And anyway, I can’t find my ground lifter. Shit. That’s been lost on some other show.

So I make up a reason for the buzz. I figure, it is being induced in the audience left mic by power running to the sub woofers at the foot of the stage. I ask E if he can pull the cable for that mic out away from the sub woofer and run it just behind the audience barricade instead. I think this will never work. But it does. The buzz goes away.

Cameraman A comes and sets up his camera on the tripod near me, and I start feeding audio cables to it. We had not known if there would be a camera close enough to me to feed audio to it. If we had known this -- known, even, that it would have 4 tracks, unlike most cameras that have just 2 -- then we would not have really needed to rent the recorder from Nashville. I split some outputs from the mixer with Y-cables, and also use auxiliary outs. I run tone through the system to calibrate levels with the camera, and then it’s a major tour through the audio menu on the camera to turn off the irrelevant options and turn on the relevant ones. Two cables have to go in the front inputs on the camera, and I have to figure out if these receive line level or mic level. It’s mic level, so I have to go back and recalibrate my mixer to the recorder so that those two mixer outputs can run at mic level. Then something is wrong. One of the 4 inputs to the camera is not getting anything.

I have run these cables to the camera without taking time to label them. I was thinking that I should get everything set up as quickly as possible, and I would label cables later if I had time. Now I have to follow the cables through the spaghetti tangle in the dirt to switch things around and figure out why I’m not getting signal to channel 4 in the camera. All the cables and adapters seem to work, so maybe the problem is the mixer’s auxiliary output. But I am out of splitters and outputs from the mixer, so I don’t have another way to feed input 4 on the camera. So, again, it all comes down to the hard drive recorder from Nashville. It is the only recording device getting all four tracks okay.

The tent arrives. B and E and another PA raise it and then carry it into place over me.

The cameraman has stood by patiently while I have been fussing with his camera. I finally let him step back up to his camera. He says, “All these other camera guys out here have never done this before. I know what [shots] the director wants. But we don’t know if they know.”

Somebody opens a floodgate somewhere, and the parking lot fills up with teenagers and twenty-somethings, many trying to emulate, apparently, Metal's garb. They start chanting, hollering, and my audience mics are working fine. The first band comes out, makes their first ear-splitting howl into the microphone, and I yank the gain down to get control of it. The bass rumbles in my chest, the my skull. My super-isolating Remote Audio headphones do a good job of keeping this excess sound out of my ears, but not out of my bones.

On every musical accent now, on the right audience mic, there’s a crackle of distortion. I click on the -20 dB pads, readjust gain, but this does not help. The left audience mic is fine; only the right keeps distorting. And between songs, when the audience screams, the afflicted mic gets an extra roar like wind that shouldn’t be there.

I stand and look over the tops of heads at my mics on stage. My mics really stand out like video equipment does anywhere. The rest of the stage is black, creating the scenario of death and revolution. My furry boom mics on silvery C-stands are as intrusive here as any boom is when it drops into a scene. This whole time I’ve felt like I’ve been tacked onto this show as an afterthought, and now it really shows in the way my equipment looks against theirs. Did I mention that we are doing this for MySpace? They want to “televise” these concerts and make them look like they’re happening “live” while being viewed, even though that’s not the case of course.

I think that maybe the problem with my audience right mic is its positioning. I take careful note of how the audience left mic is positioned, and plan to adjust the right one between bands.

I see a man carrying a woman out of the area. She is upright, stiff, and he holds her against his hip as if he’s pretending to dance with a life-size blow up doll. I presume she has heat exhaustion. I see three more women get carried out by their male escorts during the 3 to 4 hour concert.

After the first set I leave my post and go dodging between people to the stage. I have a badge that gets me back there. The stagehands are moving the previous band’s instruments off the stage, and I see the drum set for the next one on a cart ready to be rolled on. The stagehands are all wearing black, and I’m wearing all white and a brown belt and a red hat. Dodging stagehands and cables, I dance out to the front of the stage and reach around the monitor speakers and adjust my mic, praying that no sudden blast comes out of them and startles me into falling off the stage.

Leaving the stage, the ramp at the rear is blocked by equipment going down it. I vault off the edge of the stage and run back to my station.

The second set starts, and I realize that my other audience mic, the left one, has become dislodged in its mount and tilted upward to point at the sky. We never did tape that down. Remarkably, despite its bad positioning now, it picks up the audience sound pretty well -- so well I can hardly believe it. I wonder if, by some optical illusion, it seems to be pointing more askew than it really is. In any case, it’s embarrassing. I hope nobody notices and thinks I don’t know how to point my freaking directional mics.

At the next break, I push through the audience to the front and up onto the stage again. I reset my mics, trying again to make the audience right mic sound decent. I do this at every break between bands, and every time, I dodge the stage hands to get to the front of the stage, lean out around the monitor speakers, run back and vault off the side of the stage because equipment is blocking the ramp. I never get the audience right mic to sound right. And the audience left mic swings up to point at the sky another time. I never find out if someone is bumping it, or if vibration is doing this.

I think, maybe the problem with the audience right mic is the mic itself. There’s not much I can do about that, but I can check it later.

I wonder if it is the mixer input. I put this idea out of my head, but in following days I think that this probably was it, and that I should have changed its input at some point.

Four days later I get my hands on this mixer again and you check the input, and there is no problem.

After just three band sets, of vocals amplified to foghorn levels, guitars played like nails under hammers, a bassline that seems to have been one single amorphous, continuous note that seized our guts like anacondas, it’s over. The music has been, for me, like Metal’s garb: why the big deal? What are you revolting against? The only thing revolving here has been my eyeballs over the whole nonsense of the thing; and yet, with my own equipment difficulties, I hardly have grounds for acting superior. I never did get that audience right mic to sound right. But I have the audience left track, so the producer and director will have something. And we had cameras up at the stage shooting the audience, so if they had their camera mics turned on, they probably have lots of audience noise too. I hope they had their camera mics turned on. There wasn’t time to check on this, and you can’t count on anything.

The crowd disperses pretty quickly, leaving a layer of empty water bottles on the dust and gravel. “Don’t they know this is a green tour?” someone says. I know I gotta get my mics off the stage before the stagehands start yelling “Who’s are these?” and toss them aside.

JD comes running up to me. He’s been doing audio on band interviews at the interview tent, and he says, "[The director] wants to send audio to two cameras. How do I do that”

He can use my Y-cables, which I’ve just finished using. I pull them out from their connections and go with him back to the interview tent.

“He’s being a dick,” said JD. At the interview tent, they have been cycling bands through, and they’re going to continue interviewing the bands that will go on the main stage, which I will not be recording. (Linkin Park was to be on the main stage only, so I did not get to see them.) In a sense, JD has a harder audio job than I do today. I reroute JD’s audio using my Y-cables, and he says he’ll be okay. I go back to my recording station out in front of the stage, where Latino workers are now picking up the water bottles from the parking lot.

I feel free, relaxed, when I now traverse the parking lot. The recording is done, such as it was. Like live TV, once it’s over, you can’t go back. I just have to hope that the audio files are not corrupt in the hard drive recorder, the only recording device I could get to completely work during the frantic setup.

M comes up in a golf cart and I tell him about the troubles with one of my audience mics. He is not worried. Through all this crazy preparation and setup, he has been jovial, and I kind of admire this, though I can’t say his last-minute prep and cost-cutting have made our jobs easy.

On my shelf cart, JD’s black Apple laptop has become covered with dust. I dust it off with my hands before I open it. When I do open it, it won’t wake up or turn on. I hold the button down for a few seconds, and nothing happens.

I walk back to the interview tent and tell JD, who is not working on an interview at the moment. He comes with me back to my cart, and he can’t get it to work either. Apparently it did not go to sleep when closed, and the battery drained. And he has forgotten the power cable today. I’ve had this major malfunction on other shoots, when I can’t get the files off the hard drive recorder and I have to send it back soon.

We carry the laptop and the hard drive recorder to another tent, near the interview tent, where another production assistant, LL, is importing media from the “P2” cards used to record audio and video in the cameras. There is an extra Apple laptop power cable there that we can use, and we get JD’s working. I connect it by firewire to the hard drive recorder, and the files start going over. Whew.

It’s past four o’clock, and my work now is to pack everything up, get the audio burned onto DVD’s, and get to the Fed Ex late dropoff desk by 8:30. I have not eaten since I had breakfast at home at 6am. There was a chance to eat breakfast at some crew tent this morning, and another chance for lunch, but I never felt like I had time to stop working and go get it. As it was, I worked constantly and got sub-optimal audio.

I ask E to coil and clean the audio cables that had been moshed into the dirt during the concert. Someone has fetched some white rags for the production, and E uses these and some bottled water. I pack equipment and get my car and drive it to my cart. B also appears with his van, and I dump as much as is ready to go in his van so that my car, going out, will not have the same load as coming in.

Once my car is loaded, I drive over to the interview tent to pick up the audio gear I had allocated for the “production assistant” audio techs. The director is throwing a fit because audio that C had recorded, the audience interviews, was unusable. The director has C listen to it. I’m nearby picking up stingers and more sandbags to put in my car. I wonder if I should go participate in that conversation, but I think I’d probably just muddy the waters. Producer M and C can explain to the director that C is just a production assistant hired to do what they said would be a really simple audio job. I overhear that the problem was background noise, and I think, “What do they expect? There’s a freaking metal-hip-hop concert going on!” I know that inexperienced sound folks are shy about sticking the boom in close, so probably the background noise could have been reduced some by closer booming; and I know that they did not put a wireless mic on Metal, something that would have isolated her voice a little better from the background.

Metal is lounging nearby, seemingly unconcerned that much of her day’s work, the audience interviews, may not be usable. It’s not her department. She just waits for instructions and does her job when told to.

The director calls me over to stand by him while he listens to my audio of the band. I tell him that track 4, my audience right mic, is not good. The other tracks are okay.

“What am I hearing on this?” he says, pointing to the laptop that LL has been importing media into. I say I don’t know that system and look to another guy who’s dealing with the media. He leans in and opens the audio tracks and I suggest they turn of number 4 and listen to the other three mixed. The director starts listening, and says, “It’s low,” and I don’t know if he means the audio or the camera position. We can see dancing heads of audience members, and dust arising to fill the long-lens shot and obscure the band on stage.

“Fucking dust bowl,” says the director. “Okay, these are not the shots I want.” He calls Cameraman A in, the cameraman who had said earlier that he knew what the director wanted. The director starts telling him what he wanted, and how the shots were not what he wanted. I walk away. I have work to do.

I work on separating the audio equipment. JD and C will be staying for more interviews; other gear has to be returned to three different sources. The director comes over to me and tells me the “board mix” sounds flat, with no bass. I tell him that’s how board mixes sound. If he wants better audio of the band, he needs to ramp up the audio production value and record separate tracks for most of the mics and instruments on stage, and mix them later for a richer sound. He says, “That’s more work for the editors, but okay.” He walks away. Well how the fuck does he think they get good live albums? Has he not thought about this? He’s the Donald Rumsfeld of directors.

They are gonna send JD and a cameraman into the audience again to get more audience interviews. This time, they’ll put a wireless on Metal and use the boom on the interviewees. I rig the wireless receiver into JD’s audio bag and tell them to shoot tight shots so the boom can get in close.

Days later I hear that much of this audio was not usable either! And the director, unhappy with a lot of the video footage from the entire day, wanted to pay only for the shots he could use. The local coordinator, B, had to tell them that would not fly at all. We had turned in our invoices, by God, and needed to get paid.

By 8:15 I’ve completed the Fed Ex dropoff. By 9pm, in near darkness, I’ve loaded the 20 extension cords and audio cables and mics into the secret night depository for the local rental company. Pairs of eyes shining at me from blackness between buildings tell me I’m not locking one of the company cats in the depository when I shut it. That’s good, I would hate to do that. It's been a 13 hour day.

At Golden Corral, my waitress is from the Czech Republic. I think this must be a good omen for my Dad and stepmom who are going there.


Jerry said...

Gettysburg Address be damned. It would take Honest Abe himself more than 286 words to do justice to this epic tale.

Jamy said...

Long but fascinating! Thanks for the story.