I was working on a film in 2000 that required a bar scene which would take two days to film. Unfortunately, the Location Scout wasn't able to secure a Chicago bar for filming so we were forced to drive to a suburb two hours away. With a 12 hour turn around time between Wrapping on one day and Call Time the next, I knew that my Art Department would spend an hour taking down our set dressing, another hour packing the van, two hours driving home exhausted, and would have, at most, eight hours to unload our cars, sleep, repack our cars, and drive back the following morning to start again. Fuck a bunch of that. I got us a hotel room. I'm quite the planner. But as we all know, I am also quite stupid.
After our first night of filming, we took down our set dressing as quickly as possible so the bar could open for business at 5PM. It was Karaoke Night. Now I am NOT one for performing in front of a crowd, but lots of the film crew were. Art Department had a hotel five minutes away, so what the hell. We stayed for A Beer. Lots of the film crew stayed for A Beer.
Sometime around midnight, after most of the extroverts had performed, even the shy ones were drunk enough to give it a try, and I would like to thank our First AD gave a rendition of Pour Some Sugar on Me I will never forget. At this point, word had spread that the Art Department had a hotel room, and requests were pouring in from people who wanted a spot on the floor, in the bathtub, or wherever they could squeeze themselves - anything to avoid the drive home and back which would give them one hour of sleep if they were lucky.
By 1AM, after everyone who was going to hook up hooked up and everyone who was going to throw up threw up, we had all three Art Department members in the queen sized bed along with the Set Coordinator who had hooked up with my Prop Guy, and I don't know how many people on the floor. I woke up at 4:00, looked at the Jonestown-like Massacre, and pitied everyone the hangover they were about to experience. Not to sound heartless, but my main concern was my crew - the Set Dresser and the Prop Guy. I ran to the closest gas station, asked the attendant for packets of Excedrin, and returned to the hotel to wake everyone up. I slipped my crew their meds and coffee and we were on our way back to the bar.
It's not surprising they dragged during our set prep, but when they were finished, my Prop Guy approached me and told me he was really sorry, but he just couldn't keep his eyes open. He wanted to crawl into a booth and die a little. He looked so ill. He asked me what I gave him and I reached into my pocket to reveal the Excedrin packets only to discover they said PM. Oops. I so thought I was helping them that morning and accidentally dosed them.
I've only seen the film once, but during that bar scene all I could think about were the ridiculous performances I'd seen on that karaoke stage the previous night and all sleeping bodies hidden all over the set. See that booth over the actor's left shoulder? Jay is passed out and snoring there. See that section of the bar? Em is asleep on a packing blanket on the floor there. Good times. I'm so glad I don't do that anymore...
☯ Pour Some Sugar on Me