Production Office: Danny Gomez
Hello everyone, my name is Danny Gomez and I am the assistant production office coordinator. My job has everything to do with distributing information to the cast and crew from call sheets (the next days work order) to scripts. It is a very hands-on job that requires a lot of communication with everyone on the crew. All answers come out of the production office so you have to know what's going on because you can bet all your marbles that there will be plenty on a daily basis.
Our last episode "The Turtle And The Butterfly", required 4 continuous days of location shooting in Little Rock, CA. Since I knew the crew and the area I was sent along to help the assistant directors (AD's) and the set PA's. The work was much different from what I am used to doing but I still had a good time. Who wouldn't have a good time in 4 days of blistering winds and 90 degree heat? Sprinkle on a stance on a red ant hill that caused me to get bit by numerous ants while we were rolling and I was forced to hold in my scream, as well as a back-of-the-arm bee sting...sounds like a disaster but in all honesty, these people I work with make it all worthwhile and I ended up having a blast.
You wouldn't believe all the preparation that goes into some of the driving/car shots.
We shot in 5 different locations all within 2 miles of each other, including a handful of shots of people driving. The hours were long and we were running on little sleep. For the crew members who stayed in Little Rock, the hotel situation was rough: we had an angry hotel manager and cold showers, but like I said earlier these people make it fun. It becomes something to laugh at rather than complain about, that is what makes this group special.
Tuesday: 1st day on location, I arrive to set, get plugged into my walkie talkie, get the rundown on how to lock down a set (that is a polite way of telling people to shut up when we are rolling so no background sound is picked up). The location is a run-down little house with a big dirt yard and tumbleweeds rolling through. I love to tell people to shut up, so I caught on quick. This was the roughest day because one of our assistant directors' wives went into labor that morning, so he had to leave for the week in order to be a father. So we were shorthanded that day and all had to do a little bit more. I found myself in Adam Sandler "Waterboy" mode passing out some high quality H20 to all members of the cast and crew. We were breezing through the day but game one of the Lakers vs Nuggets Western Conference Finals was on, the majority of the crew found that as the center of every conversation. Later, day one of planning a game of poker at the hotel ended up being denied because we were all too tired to play.
Wednesday: 2nd day on location, I arrive to set, I get plugged into my walkie. Today's location is 40 yards from base camp (central place where all vehicles, equipment trucks and food is located): The Dena Inn Apartment and Motel. This day ran smoothly, our biggest problem was this stray cat that kept walking into the shot in the parking lot of the motel. This cat had a knack for waiting until we starting rolling before walking right into the shot. The heat and dust is already taking its toll on the crew, headaches and sinuses are kicking up. Shooting off the main boulevard in a small town attracts a lot of passersby. And the fact that Benjamin Bratt is very friendly and loves to meet-and-greet with fans, well the word spreads and the crowds begin to grow. Day two of planning a game of poker at the hotel ended up being denied because we were all too tired to play.
I wonder how much money we wasted due to this cat?
Even when you're shooting at night, there still needs to be enough light so the camera can see the actors well. You can see one of our giant lights in this photo.
Thursday: 3rd day on location, I arrive to set, I get plugged into my walkie. Today's location is back at the Dena Inn Apartment and Motel for the daywork, and for the nightwork we are off to the Little Rock Grill off of highway 138. Tonight is the night I blew a lockdown. I was puffing up my chest telling others to pipe down while we were rolling, and one of the guest stars walked right into the shadow of the lights. I had officially blown a take. I got a slap on the wrist and they told me not to worry about it, but I was fairly pissed off at myself: I failed at telling people to shut up and be still! I thought this was my calling. I had been mistaken, I was not meant to bully people into shutting their hole during filming. I then realized I was being much too nice, I needed to take the jerkness up a notch to Steve Martin's level. This was a bad night, we went late, we watched the Lakers lose game two to the Nuggets through the window of this tiny cafe on a 13" TV screen from 30 feet away. One of our workers had to go to the emergency room due to swelling on the back of his head, luckily it turned out to be an earache, so that was the saving grace for the night. Day three of planning a game of poker at the hotel ended up being denied because we were all too tired to play. However, we took refuge in the fact that some of us gathered for a beer in the hotel lobby after shooting, before we hit the hay, it was our 20 minutes of letting our guard down.
The Zeus Crane outside the library. It definitely lives up to its name.
The Zeus crane in action.
Friday: 4th day on location: The whole week we had planned on going golfing Friday morning because we knew our call time to arrive at work would be after 12PM. Such a late call would give us time to play a round of golf early in the morning. However, each day the total number of people who agreed to play dropped from 12 all the way down to 3. It was me, the show's creator, and the show's star. Now I stink at golf, but am trying to learn, and those two guys are really good. The game was fun, we were all exhausted from the night before but the saving grace is that they helped me with my golf swing and I learned some big things about my golf game, by far the most meaningful moment of the location shoot. Thanks guys for the tips! I arrive to set, I get plugged into my walkie. Today's locations are the Little Rock library and a street above the boulevard. By this point everyone is burned out and ready to wrap this week up. We're filthy, sunburned, and staring at the clock. But somehow as tired as everyone is, no one wears their emotion on their sleeves, we all still have smiles and the positive attitude is contagious. We have more work than ever to do on this day because each scene that we did not finish the previous 3 days has to be completed on this day because when else would we do them? We turned the Little Rock library into a police station; the library staff is thrilled to have us and are being good sports about our taking over their whole operation for 8 hours. Our last chunk of work is on the sloped street off the main boulevard, all done on the street with a lot of lighting and moving vehicles. We wrapped sometime after 1:30am and our director gave a speech thanking us for all of our hard work in this dry desert. No one stayed at the hotel the last night, everyone had a red bull and decided to make the trek 75 miles south back to Los Angeles on that early Saturday morning.
It was a long, fun, yet grueling week, but I assure you every walkie talkie was charged, every piece of paper that needed to be delivered was done and every crew member's thirst was quenched all by the sweat, blood, and tears from these sunburned leather-like hands. Two days of rest was in order, and I was back to my office on Monday where I realized I knew my true calling was all along...THE PRODUCTION OFFICE.