Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Watching You Well

With nothing to do today, I responded to a Craigslist ad, volunteering as a PA (Production Assistant) on a music video shoot for the band Vagabond Opera. I'd never actually been on a set before, and it was probably the most fun work I've ever done. As a PA, I ran all kinds of random errands (snack run for the crew, quarters for the parking meters), did makeup for the band, a little bit of Art Department work, and was just a general right hand gal for the director.

Shooting a music video is hard work and can be tedious at times. There's a lot of waiting around, waiting for the techies to do their thing. In the movies, when they're making a movie, and there's 'Lights! Camera! Action!', what they really mean is 'Lights!'. It's astounding to me how much time is devoted to perfecting the lighting in every single shot.

Of course, it really helps that the band actually plays pretty decent music -- kind of a mix between Morphine and Squirrel Nut Zippers, with two saxophones, a stand up bass, drums, and cello -- and they were extremely genuine and low maintenance (as most people from Portland usually are).

Since the video was done with such a low budget (or "Micro Budget"), there were only 15 people in total on the crew, making for fast camaraderie on set. The video was so low budge, however, that when the backup dancers failed to show, I was called on as a replacement. First as a blonde German school teacher, then as a kielbasa-slinging cabaret girl, and, finally, as Greta Garbo.


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