I love a good slugline.

I opened the latest draft of an upcoming episode and saw what every location scout loves to see:

INT.  CHATEAU MARMONT – DAY

Not that all location scouts dream of scouting the Chateau Marmont.  But they do dream of the slugline with a specific and real location.  

What I did not see was:

INT.  UPSCALE HOTEL – DAY

Which leads to countless questions:  Did he mean Upscale Classy (The Peninsula)?   Upscale trendy (The Standard)?  Or Upscale Traditional (The Beverly Hills Hotel)?

Or worse:

INT. HOTEL – DAY

Which includes every establishment in the entire city that accepts money for a bed.

A lesser slugline requires thinking.  Being creative.  Having a vision.  All qualities for which the writer is getting paid much more than I…but are often left to me.  His lack of effort — easy ladies, it was a guy — his lack of effort now requires numerous phone calls.  Additional trips around town in my aging Volvo.  Needless shutter actuations on my also aging Canon 10D.  All because the writer could not take a moment’s time to convey what he saw in his head.   And think.  And be creative.

If this sounds like I’m complaining about the very essence of what my job is.  I am.  It was a rough morning.  And when you have a laundry lists of locations to find, it would be nice if one or two required a bit less cerbral effort on my part.  I like to reserve all that that thinking for f-stops and ISOs.

But then again I get paid to go to the Chateau Marmont.  Nice gig.

[For those who are wondering, the Chateau will neither disclose nor show the room in which Belushi overdosed.  But it’s Bungalow 3 you sickos.]

I was told to arrive at 1 PM to ensure the previous occupants were checked out, the rooms cleaned and the next guests had not yet arrived.  Like every good scout — which even I am sometimes — I arrived early.  12:45.   After 10 minutes of lobby waiting I learned one of the rooms had already checked in (3 hours early) and the other was still occupied.  I then offered to scout the rest of the grounds for future reference.  They said I cannot film on the rest of the grounds and I cannot take pictures.  But I could take a seat.   So I did.  And waited.

Sandra Bullock proves my point

I whiled the time away (or is it wiled?) watching attractive women wearing big sunglasses and ball caps with their hair in a ponytail.  Classic incognito.  The problem is they are so incognito they draw attention to themselves.  But maybe that’s the idea.  A few were accompanied by ultra hip unshaven dudes wearing skull caps and leather jackets.  It was an 80 degree afternoon.  (I know!  In January!  I love L.A.)  And when did calf boots with tucked-in jeans come back in style?

Two hours later I was told the gentleman in the second room decided to stay another night.  Maybe specific sluglines are not so great after all.

But on the upside I did get a picture of the sign.

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2 thoughts on “I love a good slugline.

  1. WriterinLA says:

    Back up a bit. Writers are told to be vague with their works when it comes to these types of details. They get their knuckles whipped for being too specific…it’s akin to directing the film and walking on the director’s toes. ” His lack of effort — it was a guy — now requires numerous phone calls.” His “lack of effort” just gave you a job. Wow.

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