Gone Girl day off: Playing catch-up

Yesterday (Friday) I returned to my normal schedule.  Planetary Exploration class at 10am, lab assistant hours at 11, then work at MedAssets until 5.  Quite a different day than working with the movie production crew from 6am to 7pm.  Even though 20th Century Fox will pay me for all those hours, it was really like being on vacation for a week.  It was hard to take my mind off of everything that happened and concentrate on school and work.

But it turned out that being back in the real world wasn’t so bad after all.  The lab turned out to be canceled, and at MedAssets, the guys invited me to join them for a few games of 2v2 ping-pong in the break room, then we all walked over to Simply Swirled.  Don’t think I don’t see how spoiled I am at the moment.  I’m fully aware.  Novelty has followed me closely these last few days.

Speaking of novelty, I witnessed a motorcycle accident yesterday too.  Driving down Sprigg St. in the rain, braking down a hill while approaching a stop light, I heard some commotion behind me.  I looked in the rear view mirror and a dude and his motorcycle were sliding down the hill.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet… not such a good idea guy, especially if you’re going to be hitting pavement like that.  I don’t know what caused him to go down; if he was hit by the car behind him, or if his front wheel went out from under him, or what… but he seemed ok.  He got right up and pulled his machine out of the path of the cars behind him.  Someone pulled over to check on him as the light turned green and we all continued on our way.

There are many stories from this week that I’ve forgotten to tell, and a few that I could elaborate further on.  Here are some that have been on my mind this morning:

During the first day of shooting the pool scene (day 3), someone who counted said we did 33 takes from the angle that shows Lola climbing down the ladder into the pool.  The scene ends after she swims about 20 feet.  Every time she got out of the pool, four ladies from hair & makeup swarmed her with towels to dry her off.  They had to dry her bikini too, so they were all up in her business.  And sometimes while they were doing that Fincher would come up and talk with Lola about different things he wanted to see.  It was amazing to watch.  Of course everyone was completely professional – this is just how it’s done.  It’s the only way to do it.

Lola enters the scene wearing a pair of cutoff jean shorts over her bikini bottom, and despite all the effort from the hair and makeup ladies, residual dampness in her suit would seep into the shorts over the course of a few takes.  So there was a 5th lady running a circuit between the set and one of the cabins.  They had two identical cutoff shorts.  When one was too wet, the lady would run with them to the cabin to dry them off with a hair dryer.  She would run back out a few minutes later and exchange them with the newly wet pair, then run back to the cabin and dry those.  This went on for the entire time spent shooting that scene, which was several hours.

Remember that pair of kids from the first day that sat around all day and never got called out?  The ones who were crushed?  I learned a little about the grandma figure that spent all her time with them.  Her name is Cricket and she is actually a teacher hired by 20th Century Fox to both entertain and tutor kids that have to miss school to be in the production.  That’s pretty cool that they do that.  It is a bigger deal than you would think to get kids out of school for a movie (well, everything is a bigger deal than you would think, so it makes sense).  That first morning Dave the Production Manager spent hours on the phone with their school district trying to find the person who could sign off on some sort of permission for the kids to miss school.  They can’t simply skip it like I did.

But back to the kids.  They were called back to come in as extras on Wednesday.  That’s great!  Maybe this time they’d get to do something on the set.  I saw them hanging around the outdoor extras holding area for most of the morning, and I heard that they did put the little girl in the pool scene with a beach ball.  But when I came in after Boyd was wrapped that day, I saw them signing out and the dad was consoling his son.  He apparently got passed over a second time.  It was brutal.  The kid seemed to handle it better this time though, inquiring about the fact that they still got to keep their pay…

Tuesday, the day after I got 4 hours of sleep, Ryan was teasing me about being so tired.  “What was so important that it had you stay up so late last night?”

“Homework!”

“Homework?  What homework?”

“Data Communications.”

“What’s that?”

Hmm, how to explain in one short sentence… “…it has to do with the protocols and data structures used to send data over the internet.”

“That’s cool.  What are you studying?”

“Computer Science.”

“Computer Science.  What’s that, like Java?”

HAHAHA!!  “Yea,” I laughed, “like Java.”

We started talking movies, and I talked about how I found it funny watching the ways Hollywood misrepresented or misunderstood technology.  “I know it’s fiction, and they’re just depicting a story, but damn.  It might be worse on T.V. though.  There are some notoriously bad scenes from shows like N.C.I.S.  Oh, remember Independence Day?  The big plan to upload a computer virus to the alien mothership?  It would never work like that.”

“Hey, how do you know what the alien computers are like?”  Haha, ok.  An acceptable answer from someone who hasn’t studied computer architecture.  It has more to do with the effectively zero probability that code compiled on the earthlings’ computers would work on the computers of interstellar aliens.  Who knows if they even use a binary system, or Von Neumann architecture, or even solid-state electronics?  What if their computers are biological, or quantum?  Even if they used solid-state silicon-based electronics, it’s unlikely that Intel has made it to their planet to help build in the compatibility necessary for their chips to run x86 code.

Anyway… “that was an awesome movie though,” I said.  “It came out when I was in 6th grade and was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.”

“Yea, those over-the-top blockbuster movies were great,”  Ryan said.  “The problem is that we let them get away with it, and now they won’t quit making them.”  Touché.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Hopefully I’ll remember some other ones I can tell.  I got called a while ago with my final call time to work as Boyd’s stand-in.  I report in at 5:12pm tonight and am scheduled to work until around midnight.  For now I need to finish getting caught up with school and grade this pile of 75 CS155 labs.

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8 Responses to Gone Girl day off: Playing catch-up

  1. Anonymous says:

    Been reading your blog for the past few days. It’s so cool and interesting! I always wanted to know how Fincher works (I’m a huge fan of his work but heard he’s very demanding). Can’t wait to read more! My favorite part while reading your blog was when Rosamund smiled at you. That was very very nice of her.

    Did you met Fincher? If so, was he nice? I know that this is highly unlikely of you to do, but would it be possible to take pics while you’re there? I would love to see the set! ‘Gone Girl’ is my favorite book!

    • Zach says:

      I haven’t met Fincher. He is protected. During the end of “lunch” last night at about 12:15am he started up a conversation with one of the other stand-ins… lucky… seems like you have to be in the right place at the right time with him. There is a lot of unspoken etiquette about the whole thing that I’m still learning.

      Pictures are not possible; there is a very strict no-camera policy. The press has gotten a few pictures though:
      http://www.semissourian.com/gallery/16918

      The first photo where they say they believe it’s actress Rosamund Pike – that is actually Jody, Rosamund’s stand-in. Rosamund appears in the other pictures though.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for replying Zach! I really do hope you meet him. Judging by your posts it seems as though you’re a David Fincher fan too! But I bet this experience has been amazing for you (witnessing how Fincher works & being in an actual movie set).

        Yeah that’s what I figured (regarding the strict no-camera policy). But thank you so so much for the link! Rosamund looks amazing!

        Just wanted to say thank you for posting all these entries! 🙂

        • Zach says:

          Glad you like them. There are more to come. 🙂

          Rosamund is going to be awesome in this movie… Fincher is getting some amazing stuff out of her.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You DO look a lot like Boyd Holbrook, Zach. This has been really fun reading!

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