Sunday, August 16, 2009

ParePare goes to The Yukon

Although I’m already nearly halfway through my stay in the Yukon, I thought I’d make good on my threats and send out a couple of updates.  Blogs are nerdy.  This is an e-journal weblog -- waaay cooler.

The drive to set.

The movie I’m working on here is called “Red Coat Justice.”  It’s about a Mountie who stumbles upon a group of questionable characters in the Yukon in 1895.  (I play a mysterious disfigured Latvian girl.  Jealous?)  We are shooting at the end of Annie Lake Road, about an hour and a half from Whitehorse.  The last hour or so of the drive is on a super bumpy dirt road.  It gets bumpier every day.  Fortunately, it also seems to get prettier.

And then there’s this:

When I first saw this sign I was slightly alarmed.  Later on, what struck me was that a sign like this exists, and that we are clearly not the first people to use it.  Does that come with the filming permit?  I mean, are they like: “we’re gonna need posting in the area, and at least one of those ‘hunters – caution’ thingamajigs?”

Breakfast at crew parking.

At crew parking, I generally wolf down some lukewarm breakfast and coffee before starting down the path.  It’s about 2 kilometres into base camp, and though some of the other actors prefer to hitch a ride on an ATV, I like to walk. 

The hike to base camp.

I never walk to base camp by myself because I’m afraid of bears.  There have been a few grizzly bear sightings in the area – several on Annie Lake Road, one up by crew parking, and another closer to set.  I have yet to see a bear of any kind, or any other wildlife for that matter (except for mice and birds and some white specks on a mountain that I’ve decided were definitely Dall sheep) so I feel like I may have some kind of natural bear repellant quality.  On the other hand, I can already hear someone saying: “she only ever saw one bear, and it was the one that ate her.”


There is an armed guy on set whose job it is to provide security in case of bear attacks.  Here he is:

Mike the Bear guy.

He’s pretty cool, though hasn’t shot his gun at anything no matter how much I’ve tried to convince him.  I haven’t seen Mike in a while, actually.  He’s taken a couple of days off.  I’m sure it’s fine.  I bet the bears have also been taking it easy.  

Base camp, for those of you not in the industry, is usually where the trailers and trucks are.  You know, your hair and makeup trailer, your wardrobe truck, the actors’ trailers… it’s not usually an actual camp:

I was pretty bummed the first day when I trekked the 2 km to set at 6:30 am to find NO COFFEE ANYWHERE and NOTHING in my tent.  Complaining to Tim Makeup, I said: “what am I supposed to do, sit on the cold tarp floor?”  And he said: “You have a floor? I knew I should have specified that in my contract!”  Tim’s makeup tent is not only floor-less but also mirror-less and dark, since the generators go down constantly.  He asked for a mirror and got one 8x10 mirrored tile, with no way to hang it.  Despite all that, Tim maintains an unflaggingly positive attitude, which has seriously been my saving grace on a couple of nights.  Well, his attitude and his end of the night beers…

The AD team quickly sorted me out with some furniture for my tent, including a kickass Coleman cot, some porch chairs, a light, and a heater.  The heater is pretty sweet, I’m not going to lie.  It’s fucking cold here.  At first I was changing in the wardrobe tent because they have heaters, lights and carpets, and because it’s easy to stand up in there but there are so many actors on set now – big dudes, too – and it’s chaos in the wardrobe tent. 
My "trailer."  Have I mentioned it's fucking cold here?

I have a pretty sweet spot at base camp, between Andrew’s tent & wardrobe’s, and right near the outhouse.  Or Ladies’ Tarp, as one of the ADs calls it.  This is the best outhouse because of its location.  It’s a little hidden so most of the crew doesn’t even know it’s there.  It also has a ceiling, which is handy if you like dry toilet paper, although on sunny days Andrew prefers the outhouse with the skylight.

The ladies' tarp.

I don’t spend too much time at base camp, though.  Most days, as soon as we’re dressed and made up we head down to the town of Merci, our set, which is another 5 minutes away. 

Dawn in Merci & the church during construction.