I’m on the return flight from another memorable work trip to Los Angeles. Primarily to film a commercial, the trip also fulfilled the more important personal goal of getting some sun on my pasty hide before the dreary Portland winter gets into full swing. The two climates couldn’t be more different. If Portland was a dog, it would be a wet, shivering Lab. LA would be an easy-breezy Shih Tzu with breast implants.
Being on production has so far been the relaxing and fun part of the job. Generally you wake up later and have less real work to do. Granted there are always responsibilities left at the mothership that need to be dealt with. But distance makes my heart grow lazier, and beyond the difficulty of communicating design changes over the phone, there are always the more pressing practical concerns of the shoot.
Rather than boring you with a circumlocutory explanation of the varied stimulation of my psychic registers,* I’ll keep the whole account visual and emotionally blank. Unfortunately, due to secrecy I have to keep some of the better shots off the internet until the spot airs.
The leaves are still falling in Portland. This scarlet photo was taken the day before the weather became cold and rainy.
J. standing in front of plants like she normally does on Saturday.
Despite the sign, this neighborhood Orthodox church is incognito.
A lazy day of guitar before the lazy trip.
The mechanical board of names at the LAX Avis.
The contents of a gift basket I found in my room. It’s customary to get a basket from the production company in thanks, as well as having something to snack on during the hotel stay. I was hungry the first night, and though nothing of eating the contents of this basket, even though it was addressed to “Stephanie” and from a different production company. Pictured from left to down, upwards and across, down and up and down again: red wine, butter candied almonds, salted almonds, tea, mints, processed brie-like cheese, salami, green olives with pimento, salmon spread, rosemary crackers, coffee cup, biscotti, coffee, artesian water. Though the salami smelled of dog food, it made a mean cheese and cracker snack. A day later, I received the intended gift basket and added its gourmet offerings to my cache.
The monochromatic morning behind the production company in Santa Monica.
The sunset as seen from my hotel window.
The first morning, there was plenty of time to go for a walk on the beach.
The production company’s Big Boy.
The morning of the shoot, we had to wake up early for the two hour drive to the location in Lancaster.
Joshua Trees in Lancaster look like some kind of futuristic forest.
One of many modest signs in the middle of nowhere.
On location at an old pig farm. If the story is to be believed, the structure in background is the base of old sties.
Manmade and natural toilets.
Shades and reflectors.
One area of our little flash mob in the desert. You’d be surprised how many people it takes to make a commercial.
The few extras waiting around.
Light on a crane.
Man and his donkey.
Camel on set.
Best by far was spending a day outside in the sunny and clean smelling desert air. Everyone at the shoot was friendly and mellow, the actors didn’t flub their lines. Filming was without a hitch. Now I have to sit back, relax and hope that the spot will be good.
*The combination of travel and work puts me into a heightened state of self-analysis. Nothing like new sights and experiences put to put the past into perspective and future into question.