That Time I Was Stuck In A Bathroom For 3 Hours

***Most edits are to the structure of the piece, not the writing. 

Standing on the corner of 283 N Cypress St, Orange, CA 92866, my feet planted on the cracked cold concrete beneath me. I look up and scan the tan building with two large palm trees on either side of the entrance which was founded in 1996 by the Dean, Robert Bassett.

The large industrial looking doors intimidate me as my hands grasp the cold metal handles opening them. The floor beneath me changes to a glossy, cream and white marble that looks rather slippery. The air is silent besides the thump of the shutting door behind me. The grand staircase to my left and the desolate reception area to my right, I stand in the middle of an empty, soundless room. I check my cracked iPhone to see the time, it’s 12:28. The large glass panels fill the room with natural light and a sense of airiness. The influencers of the school like Marion Knott and Cecil B. Demille hanging on the walls look back at me as I stand within the building named after Lawrence and Kristina Dodge.

I turn behind the unoccupied reception area and find two parallel elevators enclosing in on me. I was specifically told to ride the elevator to the third floor since there are no stairs that lead to it. Making a trek up three flights of stairs didn’t seem ideal anyways. I step into the metal box with illuminating buttons waiting for me to press on one. I look up on the mirrored ceiling and see myself patiently wait for it to take me up to the third floor. I wait and wait, 30 seconds go by before it moves…beep, the number above me changes to 1…beep, changes to 2…beep, finally I check my iPhone again, made it, 12:30, right on the dot.

The mechanical doors open outward, I take one step across the dark crack between the marble floor and elevator flooring. A large couch, two chairs on either side and a desk table are strategically placed to give off a symmetrical look. Two women are sitting, one on the couch wearing a grey janitors top, blue jeans and asics tennis shoes. The other on a chair was a younger blonde girl wearing a white button up top, a plaid skirt and boots, what seemed to be a school uniform but slightly looked like a sexy schoolgirl halloween costume.

One step forward and they both turn their heads looking at me. We exchange “hellos” but I wait for about 10 seconds to say anything else. “Do you know who Kaitlin is, and where she is?” I ask trying to fill the gap of silence. Of course they know who Kaitlin is, she was the director of the film and is the individual who actively oversees the realization of a film from shooting script to finished product.

They direct me down a boring office looking hallway floored with grey carpet to the door of the restroom with a blue outline of a female hanging on a plaque against the door; where the filming is taking place. As I am about to open the brown wood door, it opens and Kaitlin greets me. I follow her closely behind back into the room with the couches and two women.

The smell of salad and salmon circulates throughout the room with tons of windows but none that are open and the rest of the crew rounds up back in the same area one by one for a lunch break. Following many “mmms” there is a long awkward pause. The mixture of food and the dead silent air only made time go by slower and slower.  I nibble on my asian chopped salad as my eyes scan the room hoping someone would make the silence go away. The crew each eats their food while staring and tapping on their iPhones to keep them company. I stop my eyes from scanning and pull out my iPhone to so I would look normal and not like a big eyed freak who just stares at everyone. It was 12:45.

Kaitlin asks the petite dark haired assistant director if they are on schedule. The AD checks her iPhone unsure and then explains they have until 1:15 and then they are going to run a rehearsal since her job is to make a shooting schedule (a timetable for the filming) and make sure it’s kept to.

The sound and lighting crew put their phones away and gathered back into the bathroom to set up for the rehearsal as Kaitlin, myself and the two actors remain sitting in silence. Finally, someone says something. “Okay, let’s run through your lines again to get some audio recordings”… “Quiet on set” and “Action!” As the younger girl says her first line, Kaitlin asks her to try it one more time so they have a variety to chose from when they are editing. Both actresses go back and forth practicing their lines trying out different voice inflections, tones and pronunciations.  

“Okay everyone we have five minutes until run through.”

In a single file line through the narrow bathroom door, everyone manages to make their way into the women’s restroom. I walk through the doorway into a space with five sinks, a large mirror on the left wall and many bathroom stalls to my right. The bathroom floor zig zag tile makes me dizzy as I try to walk in slowly since it is a tight place and there are 6 other bodies around me. I slowly filed in behind the last person and stood in the corner next to trash can.  Of course the corner I chose was where the particular scene they were rehearsing takes place and the standard metal trash can is the focus of the shot. I tiptoe across the tile floor to the opposite side of the bathroom where the handicap stall is, there is slightly more room over there. Large fluorescent beams shine onto my face. Heavy industrial metal poles, reflectors, cords and wires hang from the walls and wrap around the bathroom stalls. I try not to trip on anything.

I tiptoe across the tile floor to the opposite side of the bathroom where the handicap stall is, there is slightly more room over there. Large fluorescent beams shine onto my face. Heavy industrial metal poles, reflectors, cords and wires hang from the walls and wrap around the bathroom stalls. I try not to trip on anything.

The cinematographer who works with the film’s director to capture the underlying story in a way that will captivate the movie audience first films the two girls standing up, then sitting down on the bathroom sinks that keep running the water and dispensing soap since they are motion activated. I tried to hold my laughter back from this awkward but entertaining hiccup. 

They then have to wipe the soap up with a paper towel that was ripped from the paper towel dispenser but then realize they don’t know if they had the paper towel hanging in the shot or if there was nothing there.

Standing off to the corner, next to a line of bathroom stalls that remind me of my highschool bathroom but way cleaner, minus the smells that come along with a bathroom, they were filming a wide shot of the entire bathroom and the cinematographer could see me. Flustered as I feel I am taking time away from their rigid filming schedule, I hop into a bathroom stall and close the door. I don’t know how long I am going to be in the stall and contemplate whether to sit or stand but realize sitting on a dirty toilet seat in my new jeans isn’t the best idea. Standing in the stall, peaking through the cracks of the door, hearing the normal call outs and sound/audio checks before the “Action!” and looking at the zig zag tile that makes me queasy, I wait. I’m scared that the motion activated flush is going to go off during the scene so I inch my body towards the the gray door and lean against it furthering myself from the toilet. As I stand in the bathroom stall, a combination of tiredness from standing in a bathroom all day, the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights and the nauseating tile makes me close my eyes.

I don’t know how long I am going to be in the stall and contemplate whether to sit or stand but realize sitting on a dirty toilet seat in my new jeans isn’t the best idea. Standing in the stall, peeking through the cracks of the door, hearing the normal call outs and sound/audio checks before the “Action!” and looking at the zig zag tile that makes me queasy, I wait. I’m scared that the motion activated flush is going to go off during the scene so I inch my body towards the gray door and lean against it furthering myself from the toilet. As I stand in the bathroom stall, a combination of tiredness from standing in a bathroom all day, the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights and the nauseating tile makes me close my eyes.

“Action!”

“Okay, you can come out now.” Lost in my own thoughts swarming my mind as standing in a bathroom stall really just lets your mind take you to a different place, I didn’t hear them. “GRACE CLARKE you can come out now” I finally come back from my mind games to the sound of my own name, peep through the crack of the door, unlock the metal clasp and walk right out of the stall.

I check the time, it’s 4:00. Sluggish and slumped, we finally move from the bathroom that we all had been standing in for three hours into the hallway that was slightly more exciting than the women’s restroom. Walking from the bathroom into the hallway full of large windows, the scorching sun makes my eyes squint as they have a hard time adjusting to the light. Everyone seemed to be moving at a slightly less timely manner.

I look at my iPhone again and the time is 4:30. “Okay guys this is the final scene!” We all slowly made our way into the office-looking hallway. Everyone was yawning and stretching their arms out and some took a seat onto the blue/grey carpet. The crew set up the track for the camera dolly to go on and for the cinematographer to check his shot. An excited and relieved “Yes! That shot was so badass, we are done!” comes out of the cinematographer.

I check my iPhone one last time, 4:31. Que the celebratory music because “THAT’S A WRAP!!!”

 

Analysis:

Poster Children, Sandra Gail Lambert

  1. Lambert begins with a detailed description of what she sees, what they are doing and where they are going. This makes me really envision exactly what she is experiencing and gives me a deeper understanding of the space. “We’re in single file, led by an American flag with stars in the shape of a wheelchair, and headed to the convention hotel that I still think we’re going to picket” I think that this works for me because it gives an initial description and also lets me understand what she is feeling “I can’t keep up. Someone steps behind me and pushes.”
  1. The author gives great detail in describing the space, she initially begins with a description but throughout the piece adds some more into it. She creates a space of business and a sort of hecticness. “The lobby glittered with chandeliers as if to greet heads of state. Under the glow were two hundred people in wheelchairs. Electric models with space-age controls scurried past hospital clunkers. “ She also gives great detail by using colors as a descriptor. She describes every single thing with a color. “Our cell is bright. Fluorescent tubes hang from the ceiling. They and the cameras stay on all night. The bunks are a freshly painted yellow. The vinyl mattresses are green, and the toilet in the corner is a silvered chrome. The blankets are shades of gray. So are the sheets. We are all in blue, the guards in beige, and the nurse in white. Jennifer’s wheelchair is Day-Glo pink.”
  1. I think the author gives enough researched background as she describes what the action happening was. “Eleanor had called to say the ADAPT action was happening, and I should drive the two hours to join them. ADAPT is a group of disability rights activists. Eleanor said the plan was to picket a nursing-home convention, disrupt a bunch of CEOs using their monopoly on Medicare funding to guzzle poolside parasols drinks.” She first sets up the story and then explains what it is she is doing.
  1. I think the author uses the coming full circle structure because she describes each moment leading up to an end result. She begins with a description of where she is, what she is doing, what she is experiencing and then describes what happens in the end. I thought that this essay was a bit scattered when I read it, I had a hard time following at times. From the second paragraph to the third, there was a bit of a gap for me with where the story is going.

The Last, Best Rodeo? Pauls Toutonghi

  1. The author gives concrete details of the time, place and location of the space. “A four-hour drive from Portland to Pendleton, Oregon—on September 14, 2010—and you’d have found yourself at the 100th Anniversary of the Pendleton Round-Up.” This gives me an initial understanding of what I am about to read. Even though I like the straightforward details of what the author is experiencing, I think a little more detail or imagery could have helped me better envision something.
  1. The author does a very good job at giving physical descriptions throughout the story, that’s why I think that is what was missing in the first part of it. He vividly describes “luring wagon-riding settlers for nearly a century. Dusty yellow-grass hills. Ponderosa pines. A wide-open, unblinking blue sky. “
  1. Yes, he gives background information of the Pendleton Round-up and PRCA so a reader like me would have some context. “The Pendleton Round-Up is a stop on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit, and easily among the oldest and largest rodeos in the world.”  He also mentions how in Pendleton “you witness what passes for Americana, today: An atmosphere of stultifying kitsch—with an undercurrent of seething anger at the government.”
  1. The story takes on the structure of the Dipping into the well because the author tells his story while focusing on small moments throughout the story. He refers to many moments in history to support what he is saying as well as take time for detailed descriptions to give the reader a more in depth vision. “Yakima Wars” “Cowboys and Indians” “George H. Pendleton, the town’s namesake, was a prominent Copperhead—one of a group of United States Senators who, in the early 1860s, opposed the continuation of the Civil War. He ran for vice-president against Lincoln and Johnson on the Democratic ticket in’64”

3 things I want to incorporate in my piece:

  1. Poster Children, Sandra Gail Lambert: The amount of detail in her opening paragraph really grasps the readers attention which is something I want to incorporate in my project.
  2. The Last, Best Rodeo? Pauls Toutonghi: The author gives concrete background and history that helps support what he is trying to say which is something I want to do in my project.
  3. Poster Children, Sandra Gail Lambert: The author not only describes what she is seeing and experiencing but she also focuses on how she is feeling the moment which is something I want to incorporate more into my writing.

In my New Space Project I tried to integrate the concrete details and facts that these authors used in trying to better tell the reader about a space they were in. I also gave background information and history to my space which is reflective of Pauls Toutonghi piece. I tried to stay clear of jumping around in the story because in Sandra Gail Lambert’s “Poster Children” I became slightly confused when reading it and I wanted avoid doing that to my reader.

Sources:

Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts on “Producing a Film School” with no present authors

  • I selected this source because it comes directly from the place I am talking about and gives direct history
  • I chose to include the year that Dodge was founded because it gives background information about my place

Message from Dean Robert Bassett:

  • I chose this source because it comes from the dean of Dodge himself and I wanted to give basic/clear information to the reader
  • This source came directly from the Chapman website and gives me correct insight into my space

Again I use the same source, Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts on “Producing a Film School” with no present authors

  • I selected this source because it comes directly from the place I am talking about and gives direct history
  • I chose to include information about contributors/influencers because again this gives background information about Dodge

Lauren and Kristina Dodge:

  • This came off of the Chapman website and gives direct information about “Chapman University Donors and Benefactors”
  • I chose to use this source because it comes directly from the Chapman website which I know is giving me true information about these individuals

Film Reference:

  • a place to go, a point of reference
  • I use this to describe the role of a director
  • I chose this source because it gives information about film roles

Creative Skill Set:

  • I chose this source because it clearly goes through each role of people in film and states the role of an Assistant Director
  • This gives insight into the film industry

Entertainment. How Stuff Works:

  • Dian Dannenfeldt clearly states the “Job Description of a Cinematographer” so I chose this source because she goes in depth of the specific job I wanted to talk about
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