(The Last Blunder is a humorous weekly serial detailing the making of a true independent filmmaking catastrophe. I hope all of you who read along find it entertaining and can relate to it to some degree. The names of the participants have been changed. Any comments, suggestions, compliments, or criticisms can be sent to damianATkaverasfilmDOTcom. Enjoy!)
The Last Blunder: Chapter 18 by Damian K. Lahey
Scroggins called out sick the next day. I wasn’t surprised. Biff told me we needed to get through the day and we would discuss the situation later. I felt utterly lame because the crew had not been aware of us being out of money until Scroggins had stepped in to “save the day”. Since that hadn’t happened, we were still on our last week and a couple days away from closing down. I was hoping the company move to Orton Plantation would be a pleasant distraction, but it wasn’t. It was too hot out there. I mean really fucking hot.
Biff had hired a somewhat attractive girl just out of college, Cora Bronze, to do craft service. She truly believed her job was to set the food up as quickly as possible and then get in her bikini and get a tan. She did this less for the tan than for her ego, as crew members would walk by her, slobbering and imagining banging her every way possible. I truly believe in the importance of a good craft service person. They are the bartenders of an indie set. They need to be good listeners and have a good sense of humor. A lot of crew venting went on by the craft service table and it was good to have a craft service person that was on your side, but pretended to be on their side. Cora Bronze felt she was better than everyone. Biff constantly talked about how awesome she was, but we all knew otherwise. She was a stuck up bitch. She would barely do her job and acted like it was beneath her the entire time. I’d had someone in mind for the job that I felt had the right personality for it – but didn’t have Cora’s ass. That was unacceptable to Biff. What’s more is that Cora would buy whatever she wanted. Even though I’d given her my Craft Service 101 sheet – she would blatantly ignore items crew members specifically requested. When I would correct her, she would refuse to do anything about it. Complaining to Biff didn’t help at all. He would laugh and start gushing about what a raging boner she gave him.
Cora had set up the craft service tent with the help of two horny PAs and had left the food out ALL day in 95 degree heat. It all went bad and smelled like refuse. The mother of one of the actors walked inside to get a Coke and came rushing out, gagging, and collapsed. Her husband dragged her over to the shade of a tree and fanned her with a copy of The Last Blunder screenplay till she came around. Further investigation turned up huge piles of horse flies covering all the food that had been left out. Cora’s response was to throw all the food out, set up more food, and leave that out as well so she could get more sun. Patricia Salami hated Cora and told anyone that would listen. Salami did not like her food supply being cut off. Unfortunately, she had her own problems to deal with. By this time, crew members were starting to get ticks. So was our young cast. We’d started the day shooting a scene with them all frolicking in the woods. This is when I started forgetting things that were in the script. To this day, I don’t know what that footage out there in Orton Plantation had to do with the story. It was strange. But the day required a costume change, so when the kids brought their clothing back to Salami, they had ticks in them. Ticks that got on Salami! She left for the day and put everything in the hands of her assistant. But this was okay, because her assistant was doing most of the job by this point anyway.
That night things got interesting. There was some scene that involved a huge bonfire with all the kids chanting and jumping up and down in their underwear. One of the PAs had come up with the chant and was quite happy with himself. Balthazar Spankenstein was stoned out of his mind, wandering around aimlessly. Biff had brought in one of his buddies from “the big show” to put a fake moon up in the sky. Remus Nimnick was a nice enough guy and a big deal among grips and electrics in town. He was used to being paid exorbitant rates for his services, but didn’t expect to be paid much for helping us. Biff approached me shortly after Remus showed up and asked how much petty cash I had on me. I told him I had about one thousand dollars. Since we were shooting out in the middle of nowhere – I was carrying more cash on hand in case of emergency, since it would take about an hour to get to a bank. Biff told me to give him five hundred dollars for Remus. I couldn’t believe it. Remus was only going to be there for three hours max and didn’t even mind being there. Biff wanted to impress him. That’s all it was. No one on set was making more than five hundred a week, let alone five hundred dollars for three hours!!! I got pissed and told Biff that was bullshit and insulting to a crew that was already underpaid, over worked, and underappreciated. Biff told me to be careful about what I said. Everyone was replaceable and it was Biff’s contacts, not mine, that had gotten the production going and all it would take in the future was a phone call from him to keep one of my productions from shooting.
Seething mad over my conversation with Biff, I stomped over to the camera truck/saloon and made myself a drink. One thing Cora had followed through on was my Orton Plantation liquor store run. Though she’d conveniently forgotten the bourbon and had gotten vodka instead. This explained the purple ice drinks that were never far from where ever she was tanning herself. I sat on the back of the camera truck and watched Nimnick’s moon float up into the sky followed by a round of applause by the crew. If only they knew. Afterwards, crew members went out of their way to introduce themselves to Nimnick, hoping to give him a card in case he ever needed an extra hand on “the big show”. Biff shielded him from them and walked Nemus to his car. And I was glad we didn’t have to pay him another five hundred dollars to drive back out and take down his fake fucking moon.
(I want to thank everybody for reading and hope you continue to read as the misadventures of The Last Blunder continue next week...)