In honor of Memorial Day:
One of the best things about the entertainment industry being planted in LA is the gorgeous pacific coastline that offers such breathtaking scenery. It’s pretty much an unavoidable filming location. I love the beach (though I try not to think about where the city’s sewage goes) and you’d think that when a job comes along that drags you over there it would be great. Getting paid to spend all day outside’ with the refreshing salty breeze and open spaces? Yes, please!
If you hear a pop right now it’s probably the sound of that hopeful bubble bursting, because shooting on the beach is worse than shooting in the tropics with the mosquitos and malaria. The mileage a PA runs may double or triple with the open space of the shore and running through sand makes it about a bazillion times harder (yes that’s a real number! To us it is.) All the equipment needs to get down there and there’s usually a sand shelf between base camp and location, so be ready to hike. All day with no shade makes for serious sun danger but, unlike the desert, being by the ocean can fool you into thinking it’s cooler than it is and that’s how you forget the sunscreen (I have to keep a four hour timer on me, like a real pro, how sad.) Sometimes you’re asked to set up in a freaky cove that the tide fills in while all the equipment is still inside, or over some rock formations that should be better known as Suicide Pass, or worst of all, sand gets in all the crafty… heavens to betsy. Plus, most of the time it’s freaking freezing at any time other than high noon.
Well, at least you can dig your toes in the sand, right? Forget about it, no bare feet allowed. It’s a liability and legal won’t be too happy.
It’s a fool’s paradise. Fuck the beach.
Bonus From the Trenches: I once worked a beach shoot that had a beached canoe as part of the set decor. When the crew moved on from that setup to another area, no one thought to move the canoe until the tide came up and nearly swept it away… and being the only person nearby I had to dive in after it. Did I mention I had a major job interview at a big studio right after wrap? (got the job though, so everything wen’t better than expected.)
Second Bonus From the Trenches: Shooting a zombie movie in the tropics, our extras were made up with dirt and blood and gore. Upon wrap they went swimming in their clothes to wash off; pools of blood appeared around them and it looked like a scene from Jaws.