Monday, March 17, 2008

Death From Above

East Boston

Today I completely lost enthusiasm for this project. Today was unlike any day I've ever had in this business. The stories from today will definitely have legs.

The day started at 4am. Which sucked. Then all efforts are put towards getting the 70ftx40ft frame ready to fly for crew call at 6. Even though breakfast was ready at 5:00. We were not allowed to sneak away for a quick bite to start the day. Its what every person in this business is entitled to, yet when Andrew realized there was a 20 minute gap between when the 70x40 was ready to fly and when the crane could get to it, he asked if there was a way to sneak people away for a quick bite in shifts on the walkie, he was met with management silence. Followed by a call for all hands to do something inconsequential. Anyway, the 70x40 starts to go up on a crane...

If you take a kite to a dock on the harbor, its going to fly, no matter what.
The wind was 17-20mph on the ground. In the air, it might have been 25.

There are 12 grips on the ground trying to control this thing but its tough. The 70x40 full of sea breeze is almost impossible to control. But we manage to get it into place and tie it off. As should be expected, the DP wanted to see the flag in a slightly different position. While moving it, an enormous gust of wind takes the 70x40 and snaps several of the tie lines, leaving one.
Mine. The rigging key, focussed only on positioning the death sail, does not see the disaster ensuing and only notices that my line is getting a lot of tension. He says to me into the walkie, "Ok, the tension is coming your way, so your doing most of the work now". At this point, the rope starts to pull me across the dock, quickly. For some reason, I realize, perhaps foolishly, that there is still plenty of rope on my line and if someone can tie it off quickly, maybe I and the 70x40 can be saved. I scream to the grip(holding a completely limp line) next to me to grab the line and tie it off. Instead of quickly acting, which I like to think I and many would have done. He starts to waddle around in a circle, sort of like a drunk penguin. For the second time on this show, I think I'm going to die. Then Christine, an actual quick thinking grip, grabs my line. But its too late, the line is dragging both of us into the drink. We let go in the nick of time and the death sail takes off. Spinning out of control from about 60 feet in the air it first slams into the crane. Then crashes into the boat full of crew members, now scrambling. Then punctures a huge storage container before nosediving into the Boston Harbor. The sounds this thing made upon impacting everything were unbelievable. The sight of hundreds trying to escape the death sail will stay with me for a while. Once in the water, The DP and key grip decide that they are not going to try and use the 70x40 today. The crane operator says he wont touch the death sail until we remove the flag. I was hoping it would sink to the bottom. The death sail rescue mission is pictured above.
The injuries are relatively minor, cuts, bruises, one black eye and the trauma of a grip who was standing 5 feet from where the death sail punctured the storage container. As we were regrouping, I happened to walk by the rigging key, who kinda looks like Randy"Macho Man" Savage from pro wrestling and Slim Jim commercials fame. He was completely high on some twisted adrenaline rush, practically beating his chest screaming "Yeah, now those fuckers see how dangerous our shit is, yeah!"
I am terrified of the rigging key.
Don't get me wrong, I signed on for this kind of adventure with both eyes open. I'll jump into the fire every time. In a way I love to do it. But I have a BIG PROBLEM with coming to work at 4 am on a very cold day to chase death if you don't even care that I have a little breakfast and some coffee to keep me warm and awake while I chase death. We were scheduled(6 hours after call, its in the contract!) to eat lunch at 10am. We got food at about 2pm, and that was after they tried to make us work while EVERYONE ELSE ate lunch. This is untenable. What do we do after lunch? Fly our other two big death sails in the same crazy manner.

we were told at the end of the day, that they were going to try the 70x40 again first thing tomorrow.
If we keep this shit up, someone's going to get seriously hurt.

My mama didn't raise no cowboys, no siree Bob!

Oh yeah,
ACC Tourney Final
UNC 86
Clemson 81


NCgirl said...

I love the Randy "macho man" Savage reference. Though I too am now scared of the guy. :)

Death Sail is definitely the right description. That thing is crazy.

I don't get why they don't ever let y'all eat. That sux.

lighthouse said...

Sounds like you had a really rough day, I do hope tomorrow will be better. At least you should get fed on time! Thanks again for sharing your day with us.

Peanut80 said...

Sounds like you all certainly had a very difficult day for sure !

Hope it goes better tomorra or they try something else.

Not sure if you know.. but Boston Herald has an article that mentions the 'problem' on the set at the harbor.

joke said...

Wow, that must have been a very scary experience. Please try to keep safe!

Having to work for 10 hours straight without a break sounds inhuman. Is there a possibility you (you as the crew, not you personally) can complain to the bosses of the bosses or get some union help or something here ?

Ladylipstick said...

So, I just remembered that our Group Sales Associate was cast in the Scorsese film. I have no idea what or when he is doing there, since all of my conversations with my co-workers these days consist of "i'm so tired," and "I can't wait until April 7th."