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Fun with Walkie Talkies

My wife says I’ve been too negative, lately, so I thought I’d tell you about some stupid fun a friend of mine got me into.

Walkie talkies are omnipresent on film sets.  Anything bigger than a student film uses them.  Because of this ubiquity, the lingo we use (a bizarre mash-up of police codes and CB radio slang) is fairly standardized across the industry.  You don’t bring something to set; it’s “flying in.”  You don’t say you understand; you say, “Copy.”

There are also only a few places in Los Angeles that rent walkies: On Set Communications, Airwaves, Coffey Sound, a few others.  The frequencies of these rental walkie tend to overlap, uh… frequently.

So, whenever my buddy goes out on a run, he leaves his walkie talkie open.  If he passes by another production, there’s a good chance he’ll start hearing chatter on his walkie.

That’s when my friend starts fucking with them.  He’ll demand things be brought to set; heavy things, like sand bags, or hot things, like coffee.  Sometimes he’ll say they’re ready for the first team.  (“First team” is the director, DP, and lead actors, as opposed to the best boys and stand-ins.)  He’ll call out rolling or, if someone legitimate has already called rolling, he’ll ask, “Are we rolling?”, which always pisses everyone off.  He’s even called “Cut!” once or twice, which even I think is a little too far.

The best part is  listening to the chatter afterwards.  “Who wanted this coffee?”  “Where did you need a C-stand?”  “What’s on fire?”

It makes me wonder, though, how many times this has happened to one of my sets, and we didn’t even know it.  Has it ever happened to you?

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5 Responses

  1. Thats funny, messed up and interesting all in one. I don’t thonk this ever happens on the east coast.

  2. We had a pissed off neighbor spouting random obscenities one night. It was funny for a little while but then it got old. It was funny when it was random enough to think it was someone on the crew, then the spew became non stop, interfered with communication on that channel. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often….

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