It has been a long time since we had a post from our legendary CagleCartoonist, Randy Enos. We have a new one today!
INSIDE OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE, by Randy Enos
On a movie camera crew there is a cameraman, 1st assistant cameraman and a 2nd assistant cameraman. The 1st asst. (known in England as a focus puller) sits beside the main cameraman and controls the focusing knob on the side of the camera, adjusting it for the zoom in, zoom out and follow focus as the actors, vehicles etc. run around in front of the camera. The 2nd asst. (known in England as the clapper/loader) is the guy or girl who claps those sticks together and says “Take one”. He or she also loads the film on small crews or is the boss over a “loader” on the larger crews.
The second asst. camera or “2nd A.C.” is also in charge of the camera when it is not being operated and has to have the proper lenses ready and loaded onto the camera for every new shot. He or she is also in charge of keeping the time charts and everyone abreast of the shooting times from day to day. That’s what my eldest son, Kris does, he’s a “2nd A.C.”. Sometimes he works as a 1st and lately, sometimes, as a camera drone operator.
Back in 1999, he worked on the movie “Inside Providence”. He had to travel from New York City up to Providence, Rhode Island for a few weeks to shoot it. They put him up in a nice little apartment with a few bedrooms, kitchen, etc. so it was convenient for my wife and I and his wife and my two grandkids to go up there for a couple of days. I got to see what it’s like on a movie set.
While we were there, they were shooting on several set-ups inside a huge armory. They had built the interior of the hero’s house, a replica of the top of a Providence water tower (where the boys in the movie would get together to smoke dope) and several fake trees which were on wheels so they could be moved around.
We were able to mingle freely with the actors and crew and actually stand next to the camera during the shooting even inside the crowded house interior. They had already shot most of the exterior Providence street and water tower shots before we had arrived there.
After a while, it became apparent to me that the real star of this show was the “craft table”! It was a large table smack dab in the middle of everything fairly dripping with the most toothsome array of sinful delicacies and succulence one could ever imagine. It became apparent that the general corpulent girth exhibited by the majority of the crew was due in “large” to the tasty delectables before me. Arranged around a big pot of apples there sat dishes of fig newtons, jelly beans, candy bars, tootsie rolls, bananas, peanuts, cashews, doughnuts, potato chips, cheese, cookies, pies, brownies etc. and etc.. All this was nibbled on by all members of the crew whenever one of them came within grazing distance of the larder … in other words, all day, all the time. It was unavoidable and, unfortunately irresistible.
At lunch and dinner time we supped on another vast array of selections including chicken, beef, pork, fish and every kind of vegetable … all cooked in the back kitchen of the armory.
The biggest in expectation was the morning food truck parked just outside the armory door which offered every single breakfast choice known to Western Man from porridge to bagel, Wheaties to English muffin, pancakes and waffles to all manner of eggs with, of course bangers or crispy bacon.
I had always wondered about the film credit, “stand-by painter”. Well … there she was standing by and painting last minute emergency paint touch-ups.
Arranged around the perimeter of the sets were all the work stations, wardrobe, make-up, carpentry and so forth. I asked one fellow, who was standing next to racks of clothing, exactly what his title was. He said “clothes wrangler.” And on a movie set, the electricians are called “electrics” (I always liked that one).
My, now 30 yr. old grandson, Klay, who was only 9 at the time, went right over to the director, Michael, at one point to call attention to the fact that the shot they were about to make was problematic. They were shooting up at the actors assembled around the platform of the water tower model. Klay pointed out that some paraphernalia on the armory balcony behind would, most likely, be in the shot. The director said, “Y’know, nobody else on the crew noticed that!”
Klay is now a painter living in the Bronx and is an amazing film connoisseur.
All in all, it was an amazing experience being on a movie set. While it was full of surprises, the most unexpected moment came right at the beginning on the first day. When we first walked in, my son dragged me over to meet the director. As I nervously stood there, Kris said, ” This is my father Randall Enos.”
“RANDALL ENOS? You’re the guy that draws Chicken Gutz in the Lampoon … hey, guys, come over here … this is the cartoonist that draws Chicken Gutz!”
Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:
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