Sunday, February 8, 2015

The People From LA (Part 1)

     The phone rang at exactly 5:00 a.m.  The Director was on the other end, and damn if he didn't sound wound up.
     "I need you to haul ass up to Los Angeles and pick up the people up there and bring them back here.  It is crucial you're at their front door no later than eight.  Get them, make any stops they need to make, and bring them here to the mansion.  This is deadly important, Lenny.  Got all  that?  Okay."  (*click*)

The People From LA (Part 2)

     This was going to be entertaining.  The Cadillac Brougham was only four feet short of being a classy limousine.  Missing the wet bar too, what a shame.  I got used to the feel of it on the freeway and on surface streets, making mental notes of any handling quirks and peccadilloes (it wanted to launch from a standing stop, it had a vague drifting feeling on right turns).  I fueled with my own money, saving the receipt.  I went to AAA and picked up quadrant maps of San Diego, although I doubted I'd need more than two: I'm sure there was someone in Encanto trying to rent out their house short-term, but one of their requests of me was to only point them at decent neighborhoods.  I'd be able to do that without leaving the mansion, assuming they'd done  their homework.

The People From LA (Part 3)

     I rolled us down to the chop house, Angel telling me he was going to keep me on as their driver for a couple days: he just liked it.  I was flattered he was so relaxed with my driving, and with the vehicle I'd chosen.  I wasn't sure what I'd do with my spare time --- buy a chamois and polish the hell out of the Cadillac, I guess --- or maybe they'd get a camera back in my hands, and Rick and I would double-team the stills.  Be mighty crowded though.
     After we were seated and placed our drink orders, Bekka said, "So, you'll be down here for three months.  If you don't mind me asking, what will take that long to accomplish?"
     Vinny and Frankie glanced at each other.  Angel glared at her, then smiled.  "Sicilian girls love to gossip, but I also know they can keep secrets.  You're keeping a secret right now.
     "It's Rick.  It's like everything he touches turns to shit these days, he's a reverse Midas.  The whole routine with the car rental is just a minor symptom.  Another good example would be the housing: it's like he went through the paper and copied down addresses or whatever.  Heck, you explain that one, Lenny."

The People From LA (Part 4)

     "I'm glad to see you here, Lenny," said Small Steve.   "I was getting too much footage of the back of the boss's head.   You know this is not the sort of gig where doing re-takes works well, but we had to do three this morning.  Where have you been, anyway?"
     "You know the three well-dressed gentlemen who came in earlier?  I've been their chauffeur."
     "Rumor has it the boss started off doing stills, and given the amount of time me and Calm Steve spent shoving him out of the way, I wonder if they are just rumors.  Jesus!"

The People From LA (Part 5)

     I dropped off the the three gentlemen and went back out to buy Windex and paper towels and Armor all and cigarettes.  When I returned, Small Steve was standing at the gate looking peeved.  I got out and asked him what was up.
     "Well, if there was any question as to who you meant about having a short temper, the answer is being demonstrated inside.  Angel is rippin' the boss a new one over the whole thing with Bekka.  It's scary to hear, I'm waiting for the boss to go flying through a window, and I'm not kidding."  Steve was stressed: he bummed a cigarette off me.

The People From LA (Part 6)

     I arrived at the Marriott at 7:55, and was once again invited in for breakfast.  We made small talk about the vagaries of producing full features, specifically shooting on location, and the gentlemen let the coffee soak into their brains.  No mention was made of my own alertness at that hour: partially good manners, and partially because speed didn't turn me into a total spaz: no jabbering, no twitching, hyperactive tendencies.  I was simply a bit more awake than one would expect for the hour.

The People From LA (Part 7)

     ".... situations where novices are traumatized.  The humanitarian in me is glad I was able to help, but it's still not the circumstances under which I felt like leaving the house today, providing aid to a nineteen year old girl who had suffered an ersatz rape.  It comes down to a simple question, boss: what the fuck were you thinking?"
     "Candace should have spent an afternoon in front of my cameras before doing anything else, getting used to being nude in front of a camera, learning to relax, learning direction, getting comfortable.  These are your own instructions, boss.  Build people up into performance, that's what you told me.  In fact, that's supposed to be part of my job.... But I haven't met a single person who's on the board this week.  Those fuckin' rules are there for a reason, you said so yourself.  So why are they being ignored?"

The People From LA (Part 8)

     Another bright and early morning.  This was stuff-shuttling day, when a rental truck would get packed with clothes and various, well, stuff.  We would lose the Cadillac, the gentlemen would get their own vehicles, and I'd drive the truck down to their temporary digs in Encinitas.
     My preferred time of departure from the Marriott had been four a.m., so as to beat traffic.  This was vetoed aggressively, in favor of putting trust in the HOV lanes to make time.  (I suspected Frankie had the loudest veto, as he didn't want to miss his last breakfast at the Marriott.)

The People From LA (Part 9)

     I was nosy on the way back and asked how the day's shoots had gone.
     "If I haven't mentioned it before, Lenny, one of the things I like about you is your reliability.  Rick pulled a powder on us today, we have no stills.  We don't know if it was a tantrum on his part, an attack of idiocy, or a dead family member.  All we know is all day, no Rick.  I have a hard time believing he'd be so unprofessional as to simply refuse to work with Steve," said Angel.

The People From LA (Part10)

     Bekka agreed to the use of her car, with one stipulation:  she did the driving.