Tag Archives: Film Industry

My Life in the Art Department in Los Angeles

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As a new contributor to Art DepartMENTAL, I will be covering the Art department scene in Los Angeles in greater detail as the months go on. Rose and I thought it would be a good idea to start off with a little bit about myself and my work in the art department through a Q&A. So without further delay, Rose asked and I answered…

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Filed under Advice, Art Department, Behind the Scenes, Film Industry, Question & Answer

How the Film Industry Works

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The Updated version of the Movie Swing diagram

The original Movie Swing drawing.

This is from Little Joe’s studio in New Orleans.

It is in bad shape, because it went through Hurricane Katrina.

It dates back to about 1989 and is drawn in pencil.

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Rose XO.

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Source: Overheard on Set

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Filed under Art Department, Behind the Scenes, Film Industry

My Absence

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Just wanted to apologize for not posting much lately. I was sick for a while and now I’ve been working like a mad woman.

I designed a music video recently and have been prepping two feature films simultaneously which has been fairly difficult to say the least. I was also supposed to be designing 3 shorts but have had to replace myself due to picking up this feature I’ve been prepping for. We go to camera a week from today on the first feature and then the second feature goes to camera in early January. The film industry here in Toronto has suddenly become remarkably busy the last couple months which I didn’t anticipate when I started this blog. I’ve had a phone call or email everyday for new project offers for the last week and a half. Of course everything is shooting at the same time. Watch the rest of the winter be dead.

Anyhow I hope to be able to post about the films I’m working on but I’ll keep things vague for the sake of the rest of the crew and production itself. I don’t think they would enjoy me discussing specifics of a project we are currently working on. I’m looking forward to the next three months. I am very happy to be busy but with that comes stress. I also don’t want to let my blog fall to the wayside so I promise to make a concerted effort to keep posting during this busy time. I just figured I’d warn you all if I do disappear for a bit.

For now here’s a couple pictures of my dog dressed up for Halloween that make me happy and less stressed every time I see them:

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Mr.Bojangles- HalloweenMr.Bojangles- Halloween 2008- Witch

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JanglesMr.Bojangles- Halloween 2009- Spider Liberace?

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So what are all of you people up to? Is this a busy month for everyone despite the economy? How do you fellow bloggers find time to blog? I’m finding it difficult to keep up.

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Rose XO.

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Filed under Behind the Scenes, Off Topic

HUMP DAY QUOTE DAY: Teamwork

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Today’s Hump Day Quote Day theme is Teamwork. You can check out last weeks theme, Self-Discipline, here. Next weeks quote theme will be Work Ethic.

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speedoftheteamSource: Vijay for Victory

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“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

- Henry Ford

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“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

- Henry Ford

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dynamic-teamwork-model-v3-4bI love this teamwork diagram from Teamwork Dynamics.

Click image to enlarge.

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henry-ford

Who was Henry Ford? Wikipedia notes, “he was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. He was a prolific inventor and was awarded 161 U.S. patents. As owner of the Ford Motor Company he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with “Fordism“, that is, the mass production of large numbers of inexpensive automobiles using the assembly line, coupled with high wages for his workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. Ford did not believe in accountants; he amassed one of the world’s largest fortunes without ever having his company audited under his administration. Henry Ford’s intense commitment to lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put a dealership in every city in North America, and in major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation but arranged for his family to control the company permanently.”

I am very impressed with what he was able to accomplish in a short period of time. He would not have been able to do this without the help of the team which is why he payed them admirably. I liken this to the world of the film industry except I’m not sure our wages have yet met our contributions but I digress. No film can be made without the team and I hope every above the line person realizes this next time they’re on set. No matter how successful Henry Ford became he never forgot the little guy.

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What do you think? Do you prefer to work in a team or by yourself?

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Rose XO.

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Filed under Hump Day Quote Day

Tying the Knot

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I had an Art PA email me the other day, whom I’ve never met, but is a member of my Facebook Art Department group, asking me if I knew of any tutorials or online demonstrations of tying the proper knots when loading trucks as said Art PA seemed to be having a lot of trouble with it. It’s sad to say but this email brought me much warm and tingly happiness.

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Why did this persons ever-so-slight despair make me so happy?


In the film industry we are constantly loading cube trucks with ridiculously expensive and fragile things and then unloading them as quickly and efficiently as we can without breaking anything. Everything must be packed and padded well with sound blankets and the like and then tied down good and tight but also have the ability to untie it all at a moments notice.

There are rigging points in any truck and you start with many bowline knots of sash cord all along the rails. During load-in you then tie everything down as required with the truckers hitch knot. Simple as that: Bowline knot, trucker’s hitch knot.

It is amazing how many people screw this up.


I was one of those people.


This is why the Art PA’s email made me all warm and tingly. I found myself getting all nostalgic for a time that most would consider a low point in their burgeoning careers.

On my very first commercial as an Art PA everything went swimmingly. We were on schedule and in fact, it looked like we were going to finish early for the day. Which is why the Set Decorator, lets call her ‘Brenda’, told me to start loading the first location as they were onto the exterior now. As I am finishing tying down the bulk of these large scale toys, it starts pouring rain out of nowhere.

One of the set dressers comes running towards the truck, “They’ve added new shots, mostly inserts, to wait out the rain. We need the rocking horse, the dollhouse, and the teddy bear ASAP.” I, of course look at her for a minute like an idiot and then slowly and inefficiently try and get to them. She then starts digging through to help me. Then comes ‘Brenda’ soaking wet and with an angry face not even a mother could love. By this time the set dresser had found the items.

‘Brenda’ yells, “What in the bloody hell is taking so long?”, and jumps in.

“She did overhand knots! I can’t get them out!”, the set dresser told her.

She turns her head towards me, “What are you? TWO!”, ‘Brenda’ berates me as they finally unleash the toys together.

I will never forget the venom in her voice as she said this to me. After all, she knew I was green when she hired me and NO I was not fucking two! It’s not exactly like everyone’s running around telling you the importance of tying the perfect knot. And it was a commercial! They probably wouldn’t even use the shots, which they didn’t.

What killed me is after all this, not only did it stop raining, but the set dresser retied it all and didn’t even bother to let me watch and learn how it was done. I was sent off to clean the windows for the next shot all the while holding back tears. I later did cry in the privacy of my own car and vowed the day I would get back at her.

Although I have encountered her since, we do not say hello and I have not worked with her for obvious reasons but I feel no need for vengeance.

On the next shoot I learned those knots and I learned them well (from a grip, no less). Now that it’s come time for someone to ask me for help to tie the perfect knot I did not respond, “What are you? TWO!”. I responded with links:

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http://www.ehow.com/video_2355218_tie-truckers-hitch-knot.html

http://www.brooxes.com/newsite/Downloads/KAPKnots.pdf

http://www.animatedknots.com/bowlinebight/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

http://www.animatedknots.com/truckers/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNWELuXo_bY&feature=related

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I hope I’ve helped in some small way because learning the hard way– sucks.


Rose XO.


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Filed under Question & Answer, Story Time