Episode 21. Hollywood is like a one-night stand, unless one is careful.

Merle Oberon said that thing about Hollywood and one night stands. We’ll talk about her joy ride with David Niven later. Now we’re back to the story of Billie and chapter 19 —

A film set is a constantly shifting sea. It’s usually crowded concentrated controlled chaos — until it’s not. The not, those lulls, are very deceptive. You might see a large number of crew members at the craft service table, the lead actor sitting down for a game of chess with the prop man, or the grips and electricians standing idle, always an indication of trouble. Every second of a shooting day costs money. Every second that isn’t accounted for or active can grow exponentially, slow production, accrue costs and fees and union penalties. If you see the First A.D., the oft-harried drill instructor of the studio floor, with nothing to do, no actors to coral, no P.A.s to bark at, no throngs of technicians to hush — kicking back, feet up, inking in a crossword puzzle, you can pretty much guess your stately ship of cinema-craft is about to slam into an iceberg.

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