Life Cycle of a Show (Act III)

Step Nine: The News
You might think that there is a fixed schedule, by which you can determine when your time on a show will be up. You would be wrong.

Even when you can see the ratings drop week by week, the producers put on a happy face. “They’re giving us time to find an audience” or “The network really does think Friday is a good night for us” or “I have pictures of the network president in compromising positions.”

Then, one day, the producers suddenly get all quiet. You ask one of the assistants what’s going on, and they finally tell you this is going to be the last episode.

And don’t think features are immune. I’ve been on a few indies that ran out of money before we finished. Which was usually for the best, in the broad scheme of things.

Step Ten: Finished, But Not Done
I hate wrap, because even though there’s no more filming, and it feels like you’re done, you still have work to do.

The amount of wrap varies from department to department, of course. It can take weeks for the electrics to bring down all their lamps. Set dec has to clear out all the furnishing before the grips can store the set walls (why this is the grips’ job, I don’t fully understand). And, of course, the actors have to sign their gigantic checks.

The Onion is a great source of silly images.

In the office, wrap consists mostly of filing lots and lots of paperwork. It’s about as exciting as it sounds.

Step Eleven: Say Goodbye
The end of shoot is like end of school– suddenly, inexplicably, you want that bitch who made fun of you in chemistry class to sign your yearbook. Everyone hugs, and talks about how much fun it was and how we should totally go out for drinks later.

And then you never see them again.

Step Twelve: Forgetting
After about a week or two on the dole, you think to yourself, That wasn’t so bad.

Yes, it was.

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7 Responses

  1. I imagine it’s the grips job because they negotiated it back in the 40’s to keep their members working, but it is a little strange. Interestingly, the set grips, the guys you see every day setting flags and rigging cars, don’t usually do this. It’s the “gang” or studio grip dept that does it. There are many kinds of grips. Just thought I’d throw that in.

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