Production Office: Annick Wolken
On our show, we spend maybe two days per episode on location. "The Cleaner" is an hour long show, and each episode shoots for 7 days. Most of each episode is shot either on a sound stage or around the studio lot here at CBS Radford. It's less expensive to re-create different areas of the lot as new locations: the administration building exterior becomes a fancy outdoor Italian restaurant, a boring old conference room becomes the auspicious office of a wealthy businessman, and the exterior of our very own production offices becomes a Venice Beach boardwalk. It's quite amazing, actually. But there are some scripts that call for new, fancy settings that can only be found at real places. So we'll spend a day or two at an actual hospital, a run-down warehouse, or an upscale apartment building in order to add realism to the show.
The current episode we are shooting, "The Turtle and the Butterfly", involves 4 days of location work in the desert. It's pretty exciting because it will take the look and feel of the show to a whole new level. On the other hand, those of us who work in the production office (as well as the accounting department and the people who are prepping the next episode) are faced with a rather lonely space. You see, we don't get to go with them to the location (which some of us actually prefer, especially when it involves lots of sand and high winds), so things quiet down quite a bit when everyone is gone.
When the crew is here, there are people coming in and out of the office constantly, my bosses are yelling for us to bring so-and-so in so they can reprimand them for spending too much money; we are getting equipment requests and quotes; the director and first assistant director gather to go scout locations; the phones ring off the hook; paperwork is flowing to and from the copy room... the list goes on. It can be pretty chaotic and very loud. When the crew is gone, especially as far away as the desert, we get phone calls, but not as many; my bosses have to reprimand people over the phone rather than in person (not as effective); and even when we have scripts or schedules that need to be copied and distributed, we have to wait for our transportation department to bring it to set, or, if transportation is really busy, the other PA, Ryan (who you'll be hearing from soon, I think) or I will drive it out.
It's nice to have a break from the chaos, but it definitely doesn't feel like you're working on a TV show when the crew is gone. Danny (our Assistant Production Office Coordinator, or APOC for short-- who you will also hopefully be hearing from soon) always says that it feels like we're just regular office workers when the crew is away: answering phones, typing out emails, and wondering where we'll get lunch from that day. We definitely feed off the energy that the crew has when they are around and it motivates us to work just as hard as they do to make things run smoothly.
I've enlisted Danny to write about his experience working with the crew in the desert, so hopefully you will get a good impression of what the other end of our location work is like... Until next time!