Saturday, March 20, 2010

Seattle to LA

Dear Reader

Normally do I ever have a chance to view a project I had worked on, whether the project is a film, a commercial, an Ad shoot, editorial or a music video. $5 Cover a film I worked on last summer in Seattle was screening in Seattle the day I was finishing my Adidas shoot. Being based in Los Angeles, this would have been a little tricky and costly at a time when I am watching my expenses. Working on a film for five weeks, you develop relationships with people, this is like a small family, you spend countless hours with people and for the most part, the shoots are a lot of fun. On smaller projects you develop relationships over time, or in some cases you only work with people once.

When I arrived at the screening I was greeted by a lot friends and familiar faces, I felt I was home again. I was so happy to see my friends after six long months. This film $5 Cover was produced for MTV as a Webisode starting in June 2010. There were two other crews shooting footage to a similar project across the country. It was great watching all three projects on the screen. At the end of the screening there was a Q & A session and then an after party. I had to catch a bus back to my RV, returned to my friend’s house and caught a cab to the after party. I had an awesome time at the party, a side of me really wanted to stay in Seattle, however, I had a job in LA in three days and I really needed to come home.

The next morning, I pour a cup of coffee, and fired up the RV for a two-day trip back to LA. My goal today was to make it to Medford, Oregon, twelve hours of solid driving. I never try to rush myself, I am driving a very expensive house down the road.

I decided to stop and visit my friend Steve who owns an RV park in Tacoma, when I was shooting $5 Cover last summer, I stayed there for a couple of weeks. When I return to Seattle later this spring, I plan on staying there; this is the perfect place for me to base myself. Tacoma is a beautiful city; unfortunately, it does not get the attention like Seattle. Tacoma is a major port city in Washington State, smaller than Seattle, yet it has some very unique architecture, like the Glass Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum. Few films are shot in Tacoma; therefore there are plenty of virgin locations to create the perfect mood for ones film.

I was back on the road again, the weather was almost perfect, cloudy, but no rain. My real test will come when I hit Grants Pass, a place where weather can turn very scary in winter. I have my chains, but I do not want to use it, unless I have zero choice. I stop in Eugene for fuel and coffee and then I head for Grants Pass, hoping for an easy drive. Fortunately the pass is clear, no precipitation; I am now an hour north of Medford and enjoying an exquisite sunset. I pull into the same truck stop I stop at a week earlier, since I have my commercial drivers license I am allowed in the drivers lounge and watch a little TV and check the weather reports for tomorrow. The weather is not good; snow is expected through the Siskiyou Pass tomorrow morning. The Siskiyou Pass starts in Ashland, Oregon and heads south to the California border. Though I have made this trip before, winter has always concerned me, the road can ice up and heavy snow is not uncommon.

The next morning I decide to sleep in, I do not want to hit the pass until the ground has a chance to warm up. It is now or never, I enter I-5 south and head home. There is a slight mist falling, I am not too concern about the weather yet. As my RV climbs the pass the mist turns to snow, I back off on the accelerator and engage the ATC (Automatic Traction Control). A bus in front loses control and hits the guardrail; the road is blocked for several minutes; the driver and the passengers seem to be Ok. I am a little concerned; my trip might end before it begins. I drop my transmission to low gear and let gravity keep me on the road. Big rigs and personal vehicles pass me as if they are driving in a different dimension, a dimension where the weather is bright and sunny. I decide not to take chances, and keep my speed down and my distance far from the knuckleheads that pass me like NASCAR drivers trying to win a race.

As I enter the California border signs pop up “Chain Control”, I get an uneasy feeling, I thought the worst was behind me, I am wrong very wrong. Cars, trucks and big rigs chain up, I search the shoulder for Chain Monkeys (individual who put chains on vehicles for a price), and I could not find any. There is a slow moving truck in front of me, he is driving with chains, since “we” share the same width, I decide to keep my distance and follow his tire tracks. The idea works, and soon other vehicles are following “us” up the and down the grade, “boys and girls I think we have a convoy”. Sorry I just had a 70’s moment.

By the time I make it past Shasta, the snow turns to a heavy rain. It is time to find a truck stop; the last time I fuel up was three hundred miles ago. I still have enough diesel fuel to get me home, but I do not want to push it, I do not want the fuel gage to drop past a half tank. Finally I find a “Flying J” the perfect place to take a break, get fuel and some lunch.

When I get to Sacramento the rain is heavy, it is late afternoon, I am tired, but I need to get home. I have a job the next day with a new Client and it will also be my birthday. I drive on, listening to my XM radio and taking occasional calls from friends. By 11:02 PM, I see my exit; I am exulted, home at last. Home at last.