26 August 2008

I Need A Camel and Some Rope!

Twice a week during our shoot I’ve been tasked with picking up the camera, sound equipment, etc. from Film Independent (A wonderful organization that everyone should join) and the bringing it back here. While I wish I could say that fighting the terrible Southern California traffic is the worst part of this ordeal it is not. No, that honor is reserved for the parking / transportation nightmare that is the building where Film Independent resides. Make no mistake I do not blame Film Independent for any of this; they just happen to be situated in what may be one of the single most poorly designed office buildings of all time.

When one goes to pick up equipment form Film Independent one must park at the very top of a 5 level parking structure and pay astronomical fees to do so (It’s $2.75 every 12 minutes or some ludicrously arbitrary number like that). Once one has parked you must take what may be one of L.A.’s oldest elevators in operation. While there are 2 actual elevators in the parking structure one was knocked out by the most recent earthquake so only one rickety, metal box of death remains. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that you will NEVER EVER in your life wait longer for an elevator because not only does this thing move slow as molasses but it stops on each and every floor, opens it’s doors waits for someone to get on and then closes back up and continues with it’s journey. It doesn’t matter what button you press or what you do the elevator simply cycles through all the floors doing this. When one pushes the button to call it up you can only hope and pray that it is in the ascending part of it’s journey, if not you have to wait for it to go down to each floor, then come all the way back up, all the while stopping on every single floor. Of course this might not be so bad if one could take the stairs instead but in a move that defies every form of logic and fire code I know of there are no stairs in this parking structure.

Once one has waited the normal time of about 5 to 10 minutes for the elevator (As your cost for parking rises in almost equal relation to your frustration) you get on the elevator where you luckily only have to take it down to the 4th floor. Of course one would think that this is where one’s journey ends but it has only just begun.

Having now reached the 4th floor of the parking structure you must traverse through cars and make your way to another elevator, luckily these move much quicker and there are 4 as opposed to one but then one must take this elevator to the 11th floor of the office building that Film Independent is located in because you see the slow, torturous elevator of death is only for the parking structure, not the building itself.

Now admittedly this might all be bearable if it weren’t for the fact that one must now transport twice their weight in equipment back to their vehicle. The first week I made this journey I had my lovely girlfriend with me and while it was a struggle we were able to make it back to my car in one trip. Sadly I have flown solo ever since and since a dolly or hand-truck will not fit into my little Scion XA and Film Independent has none for me to borrow I usually end up needing to make 2 to 3 trips. Each trip involving me going from one elevator to another and dragging piles of equipment through the middle of a parking structure, trying to avoid nicking the nice cars of the people that work for Fox, whose rights and clearances offices are also in the building.

By the time all is said and done from the moment I enter the parking structure to the moment I leave anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour of my life is gone and the price for parking for that long has ensured that whoever runs the place will be dining on caviar and lobster once again.

It should be said though that as big of a pain in the ass as this is its worth it because Film Independent’s rental prices can’t be beat and they’re such a good organization for independent filmmakers that it’s worth whatever literally physical obstacles you have to traverse to get to them. Plus the parking structure staff has started taking pity on me and if they see me struggling with stuff they’ll often time lend me a helping hand.

Does it suck? Yeah, but such is the life of an independent filmmaker and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although seriously whoever designed that place deserves to get kicked in the yarbles.