Pop Quiz: What job, at the end of the day, hands out maps so you know how to get to work the following day? Or what occupation has a precise starting time every day but usually does not ever guarantee an ending time? Or what profession has you working at a dirty tire factory in the morning, and that afternoon you're setting up shop at the prestigious Riviera Country Club? And finally what trade keeps you flying by the seat of your pants because no matter how prepared you think you are the unexpected happens.
Our company rolled in early that morning, in complete darkness, and the Transportation Department began strategically parking the production vehicles. Parking can be a big deal as the cast and crew will be moving back and forth from the trucks and trailers to the set, etc., so the closer and easier truck access is the quicker things can go. A good Transportation Coordinator and / or Captain can save a production a lot of time and money over the course of a feature film, and our Captain was very good. He was good because when you work the set you really come to appreciate someone who cares enough to get those vehicles parked as close as possible, as the trips made between the two can be many.
On any shooting day Transportation is generally the first to arrive and the last to leave, and this morning was no different as they were setting up base camp an hour before anyone else got there; parking a couple semis, a honey wagon, and then arranging make-believe spaces in a grassy field for a couple five and ten ton trucks, a wardrobe trailer and caterer.
An hour later, after all the vehicles were neatly parked and the first signs of light were upon them, the happy drivers stood around the catering truck reliving the parking job while munching breakfast and sipping coffee.
A hundred yards away, in the purple dawn, the film's Director, followed by a few department heads, walked over and talked quietly with the Director of Photography about the first shot of the day.
The long-haired Director then pulled out his viewer, looked through it, and began sizing up the area, which on that early morning was a dilapidated farmhouse on a wide open prairie in rural Wyoming.
He lowered his viewer, thought for a second, and turned to the show's Set Decorator. "Is everything ready at the house?"
His eyes went back to the vast expanse, and he squinted. "Is anyone here from Transportation?"
Nearby, eating a breakfast burrito, the proud Captain smiled and stepped forward. "Yes, sir, what do you need?"
The Director turned to him and with a confused look on his face said, "Why are all those trucks parked in my shot?"