"Video killed the radio star." ~the buggles
Today I got an email from my MTV summer intern buddy. I miss her. She forwarded me news of a certain young starlet's recent entry into rehab. It reminded her of a crazy weekend we shared last summer. I don't think I ever blogged about that weekend, so I'm going to do so now. Blogging is one of my main ways of remembering things, and I definitely want to remember that weekend. So here goes. Warning: this will be long.
I'm pretty sure it was late July. Tatum and I were hired by a director (with whom we had already worked a few times) be PAs on a music video shoot. We were actually being paid for it, so we were pretty excited. The shoot was on a Saturday and Sunday. I should first point out that it was incredibly hot that weekend. Which was ironic because we were shooting a Christmas music video. On Saturday we ran around like crazy on set and throughout the city. Everything was chaotic. The producer had been fired or quit or something (apparently he had a substance abuse problem that went too far the week before the shoot), so the guy who hired us ended up being the director, producer, and production manager...the poor guy was left with waaaay too much to do. In the morning, one big job that the PAs were assigned was to haul 30 (live) Christmas trees off of a truck and into the studio (imagine how much it cost to buy those trees and to haul them into NYC in the middle of July). By the end of that task we were dripping with sweat and covered in sap. Then, once the trees were inside, someone realized that we had no good way to stand the trees up. I ran (literally ran) to the nearest hardware store (about 5 blocks away) and back 5 times that morning. The trees kept falling down and we kept needing more equipment to hold them up, so I was the runner. It was insane. And remember that it was incredibly hot outside. Finally everything was set up (hours late), and we were actually ready to start shooting the video. During the two-day shoot, I was assigned to be the personal assistant to the star of the video and her mother. If you follow Hollywood news at all, you will have read about this mother (she's mentioned and quoted in the article linked earlier in this blog). I was terrified of her at first because of some things I had read. She turned out to be very nice to me. Anyway, the rest of the day went okay. The shoot lasted forever, though. After the important people got to leave, we stayed to clean everything up. Tatum and I both live outside the city, and we missed our last trains home. It was about 2:30am when we finished working (and we had gotten up around 3:30am that morning to be at the shoot on time). Ginger, the wardrobe lady, was very kind and offered to let us stay at her apartment. We had never met her before that day, so her offer was very generous. We hadn't anticipated the need to stay in the city, though, so we didn't have clothes to change into, toothbrushes, contact cases and fluid...a shopping trip was required. So at 3:00am we found ourselves wandering around the city looking for a Duane Reade that was open. Luckily we found one and bought toiletry stuff. We needed to do something about our clothes, though. We smelled awful and were covered in sweat and sap, and we would have to wear the same outfits the next day. So we got a cab and Tatum gave the cab driver a long narrative, explaining that we were MTV interns and we were working on a music video and were stranded in the city overnight and needed to buy new clothes. I'm sure he thought we were drunk. We were certainly acting like it. The absurdness of our situation was intoxicating to us. Anyway, he drove us to a tourist shop that was miraculously open at 3:30am. We bought matching New York City touristy t-shirts, and we were finally able to head to Ginger's. We slept on her foldout sofa bed in our underwear for a few hours before we had to get up again and get back to the set. Sunday was even more chaotic than Saturday, which I wouldn't have been able to imagine after Saturday was over. I got to make one fun trip to Bloomie's to buy jeans for the star to wear in the video. I can't imagine ever spending that much money on a pair of jeans for myself. We were shooting at the Ronald McDonald house, and they were under the impression that we would leave by 4:00pm. They informed us of this at 3:00pm. We still had hours of shooting left to do. We somehow managed to find an open studio (which is an incredibly difficult task), so we packed up all of our equipment into our trucks, drove to the studio (I rode with the talent and her family in their car), and unpacked everything. The move took a few hours; we had a lot of equipment. We worked well past midnight, until everyone decided that it had been a long weekend and no one could take any more. I got hugs from the star and her mom (who were both very sweet), a souvenir ornament from one of the Christmas trees, a big paycheck, exhaustion that would last throughout the next week, and a pretty great memory. Here's Tatum and I on Day 2 of the shoot (with our poor director/producer/PM in the background):