the grid

the grid

Sunday 10 September 2023

TLQ The Movie! Location location location (Fall 2023 Week 1)

Excerpt from Assistant producer's diary: Ok, I can do this... I can do this... deep breaths... calm... I AM SOOO EXCITED!!! I cannot believe I get to work with Director X!! This is a production of a lifetime! Sure, the director did yell at all the production staff a bit but that was just because we didn't get the special shipment of fancy truffles in time. And probably because the head carpenter's pet pig carried off her handbag and ate the expensive hand cream... I'm sure it will all go well tomorrow when we leave for our first location shoot... Ooooh must pack my swimming stuff, I hear there is a beach! Ok. Must write very professional, official-sounding e-mail to cast and crew now. (Digs around in shelf for pen...) Oooh, there is the missing box of chocolate that our star actress requested. Wonder how it got here... Is that a pig hoof print on the box...(googles pig hoof print). Yep, definitely pig... cannot deliver those with hoof prints on them... Packaging still intact, I'm eating them now, stress makes me want to eat chocolates! Will put a note in to re-order these..

OK... professional....

Subject: Welcome and production notes

From: Assistant producer

Hello and welcome to all our cast members, artistic and technical staff, and supporting personnel. We are very much looking forward to working with everyone on this independent production of “TLQ: The Movie!”

Production notes for the week: Your trailer requests have all been logged, you should find all the requested items when you check in this week. Please note that not all requests could be accommodated; the request for a stress-relief llama had to be turned down because our set coordinator had an unfortunate experience with one of those on his last production (who knew they could eat scrims?) and threatened to quit if we brought back the llama. To make up for the lack of large ruminants on set we have arranged for everyone to have visiting privileges at the local petting zoo for the duration of the production.

Schedule: We will be spending the first few weeks of filming on location. Our precise location is currently undisclosed for legal reasons but I can tell you that there are a range of accommodations and landscapes in close proximity to our film locations (think coastal but with mountains nearby). Because this is an independent production (aka cheap) we will not be flying anyone back and forth during the location weeks so you need to be prepared to live on-site for a few weeks.

Please fill in the reply form with: 1) your preferred accommodation type (cabin, tent, trailer, yurt, or large shared lodge, or make one up and we can see what we have in the set trailer) and 2) your preferred landscape location, we will do our best to match everyone with their first choices. You should also have a schedule of your daily call times and task at this point, please update that weekly going forward and report on your progress as we proceed. 

Have a great first week on set!


  1. Love this! Although disappointed at the lack of llamas...

    My preferred accommodation would be a cabin, please. Preferably close enough to the sea that I can hear the waves and look out at the water every morning.

    Schedule/goals for this week are very simple. I'm checking in from Paris where it is 33 degrees C, at the start of a two-week research trip. Spending tomorrow in Paris, then jumping on a train to Nimes for two days, then Montpellier for another two. Hoping for air con in all locations.

    Main goal: maximise archive time, keep focused on grant application (this is a taking soundings trip).
    Otherwise, answer strictly necessary emails only.

    1. Enjoy the archives! And France!

    2. Yes---I hope it's only pleasantly hot and not horribly so, and also fingers crossed for A/C when you need it!

    3. Have an absolutely marvelous research trip! That sounds amazing!

  2. No llamas... :(

    OOhhh, I've always wanted to try out a yurt. Although not much room for book shelves... so maybe a cabin would be more practical, especially as the seasons change. I'd like a cabin with views of mountains one way and sea the other, and a nice private screened porch for recovering from people-ing. And if it came with a friendly visiting cat, that would be very nice.

    Self-care: take proper lunchtime breaks since this is probably the last week I can for a while. Move intentionally for at least 10 minutes a day. Next weekend, get the house in order, lunches packed etc. ready for the first week of students (Welcome Week, teaching starts the week after). Go to various appointments - and continue to proactively ask for a plan to be in place if I can't cope with being back in person (I'm struggling, and I hate it, but I just don't seem to have the 'spoons' any more).

    Teaching: Get every VLE and module handbook/syllabus ready. Work on first week materials for the three modules seeing significant changes this year. Feed back on draft for late MSc student, try to help student in a bit of a mess after resits sort out their choices for next year.

    Research: do comments on Unexpected Paper (a cast of many paper which I thought it had quietly withered when the lead author ECR moved into a different role, but a complete draft which looks pretty good turned up on Friday, so I want to get back to them before they lose momentum). Two graduate student meetings. Add text from long report to consultancy paper draft (aiming to submit end of month, probably not going to happen). Possibly find an hour for Special Collection Chapter (Former PGF is leading on this and it's gotten away from both of us. So has summer...).

    Admin: review minutes from early summer meetings. Ensure intern is keeping busy! That may be all I can do.

    Fun: one each of a chunk of time reading, drawing, crocheting and playing D&D. Half an hour is enough to be a chunk. More would be good but only D&D is sure to be longer.

    It's really sticky-hot here at the moment but the weather should break tomorrow and be cooler. My plan is to work from home the first two days as I have a 'telehealth' call both days at lunchtime, then do two days on campus the second two, and see how I cope. And try to keep the weekend fairly quiet (hahah - I already signed up for an online seminar and workshop on Friday (my normal day off) on an urgent issue in teaching science which I don't know enough about, and I didn't get many chores done this weekend because it was hot and I used a lot of spoons on visiting Occupational Health, and meeting a solar panel company (I want them on my roof and for some reason the stupid brain squirrels decided NOW was a good time to schedule some appointments for quotes - these ADHD meds are definitely affecting my impulse control! Although today the squirrels were beautifully distracted by ordering some new season Starbucks stuff, which is definitely less stressful than sales people!).

    Wish me luck!

    1. Oh, and the Union have called a strike for the whole of the first week of teaching - I'm going to feel like a heel whether I take part or not and I am really selfishly cross about the whole situation. On the plus side, the new D&D group are still fun and friendly, and we cleared out a gang of pirates from the bridge which connects the isolated fort we started in to the mainland, so maybe we can get hold of some food other than fish next week (our sneaky people decided to prioritise stealing alcohol from the pirate camp before setting it on fire, not food. They said it was easier to carry or something), and our barbarian intimidated one of them into surrendering so we might get some clues as to where to go next... and in the game I run, we spent most of the time heping my nibling invent a postal service with delivery by minature dragons and arguing whether a chihuahua delivery service would be more scary than a great dane one. We were all hot and brain dead but we had fun anyway!

      I'm very tempted to offer to do the next iteration and do a D&D theme!

    2. I would love to be in a D&D themed TLQ session! Oh please oh please! (Also would be understanding if this turns out to be a brain weasel suggestion that you don't actually have the spoons for.)

    3. Oh that sounds like lots of fun! --Both the D&D TLQ session (I really wanted to play D&D when I was a young thing, but I didn't know anyone else who played) and also the new group that you're playing with. Sorry about the strike nonsense; that sounds aggravating....

    4. It is nice when papers appear out of wherever they had been lurking, even better if they need minimal work at that point! Hope that one is satisfying and gets out into the world.
      I would also love a D&D themed session, but of course only if it will be fun for you and not add stress. We're a pretty easy-to-please crowd so we have that going for us!

  3. Since I'm doubling as Dictatorial Director plus playing my usual part, I'll settle for a large, double-ended trailer that's centrally located---given the location setting, it should have decent views no matter where that ends up (maybe it's on a cliff overlooking the sea, with sea views from my private end and mountain views from the other). One end of the trailer has a large, comfortable office/meeting area/sitting room, then in the middle there's a screening room, and at the other end I have a small private apartment: bedroom, small sitting area, bathroom and galley kitchen, which is stocked with a variety of green teas, plenty of dark chocolate, and red wine that does not give me a headache. At the moment the whole thing is still rather bland and impersonal, though very comfortable; I'm sure I'll soon unpack some items that will make it more individual. Or perhaps we'll have a day out that involves a local shopping trip.

    Goals for the week:
    - join the gym I decided on
    - grade a set of papers
    - do some other teaching prep
    - research 1 hour x 5, mainly Alms chapter, also some time on Latin, conference paper project
    - patch holes in kitchen wall

    1. Hooray for joining a gym! It will be very nice, I'm sure, to have your holes patched, too.

    2. Good views are guaranteed! We did pick the location for its varied landscapes and vistas... I'm not sure about the local bug population but we have all the nice screened porches to help with that!

  4. Sea and mountain views both sound appealing, but if I have to choose, I think I’ll go for the sea (at least until a hurricane arrives, at which point I hope someone in the mountain enclave will take me in for the duration). I tend to like creature comforts, so a cabin or trailer sounds nice (I actually lived in what was basically a trailer park for several years of grad school – a university-owned community of manufactured homes, originally erected to accommodate mature students with families attending on the GI bill after WW2, and later transitioned to graduate housing. It was pretty comfortable, at least in temperate weather). Depending on the pollen situation in the filming location, I like the idea of a screened porch, especially at this time of year. Visiting cats are always welcome, too.
    Goals for the week:
    --Catch up with lit feedback/grading; catch up with comp feedback/grading
    --Submit contract renewal portfolio (I actually did this a few hours ago, but I’m putting it on so I can celebrate being finished at the end of the week, too)
    --Catch up with various online trainings that need to be up to date for contract renewal (all worthwhile, but they do proliferate, and I’ve been neglecting a few)
    --Containerize items from cupboards as the containers I’ve ordered arrive, and temporarily stow most back in the cupboards
    --At least begin moving books and bookshelf sitting where the refrigerator needs to temporarily live while I’m working on the area around/behind its usual spot.
    --Exercise: stretching routine x 2; weight lifting x 2; walk x 1 if weather/pollen cooperate; swim x 1 if pool is open.
    --Friends & family: meet up with friend if we can get our schedules to work; touch base with NY nephew

    1. A screened porch is a great idea; wish I had one in real life. This looks like a good balance of home/social/work life here!

    2. Yes---excellent work-life balance, at least in the planning! I look forward to hearing about the execution next week (wait, I'm not sure that came out right). We probably need a Set Cat, or maybe a set of Set Cats so there are always enough to go around. Actually, what we really need are stand-ins for our own cats, but more mellow, friendly versions so we're sure to be able to get them on camera when we're filming. (NB, send note to Animal Wrangler.)

    3. I think we can guarantee that every accommodation option comes with at least a few cats!
      My real life cats are not talking to me because they had their annual check-up and shots today. Howled like a chorus of banshees for the entire car ride and when I got them home they went off to hide, and then took revenge by destroying a full toilet roll... Still picking up fluff hours later...

  5. Cabin for me. And I would like to be somewhere like the Scottish isles. As close an approximation as possible, if you please.

    So it's Monday evening, and I'm officially one (school) week into my new role as program director. A lot of my time has been filled with figuring out the Spring 24 schedule and calculating the number of TAships that we have filled, in order to determine whether a student whose plans changed suddenly can teach for us. (He can.) My predecessor had many gifts, but--by her own admission--Things Administrative were not among them. Fortunately, I find this kind of organizational work deeply pleasing. I think that I could have been quite happy as an accountant.

    This week's goals:
    1) Revise and finish grant application (due 9/20)
    2) Read 3 articles and incorporate them into my chapter(s)
    3) Finalize Assignment 1 prompt

    Hm...that seems paltry...but on top of teaching and admin, maybe it's sufficient? I'm definitely recalibrating after sabbatical....

    1. I think that sounds like plenty on top of teaching and admin! I'm glad to hear that your student can teach for us, and that you enjoy your organizational work. I've also considered accountancy---but then I would have to have some hobbies, which I'm not so good at!

    2. Will definitely get you the cabin on the rockier side of the island, we have a stone one if that will help with the Scottish theme!
      Recalibrating is a good thing - there is always a rush to fill things up after a break and that often negates a lot of the good break habits one carefully nurtured. Keep some of those!

  6. I would like a yurt please, definitely one with a little wood stove for cooler nights. I will definitely need at least one nice desk for writing, and a nice bean-bag style chair for reading. I would love to be near the ocean, cannot decide if I want to face sunrise or sunset… Maybe if you have an east-west oriented shoreline I can have both?

    This week was a bit of a shock… So much going on, and my new admin role is definitely more intense at the beginning of term. I’m going to have to schedule specific times to do things, otherwise days will just all melt into each other and I will be busy but not get the important things done… All good things, but I need to do better on writing regularly.

    This week’s goals:
    Make a weekly schedule with all major tasks blocked off
    Put writing blocks into that schedule and ACTUALLY DO IT…
    Finish writing newsletter and collection of people-managing things
    Fun dinner out with kid
    Finish reading/commenting for student thesis draft
    Do two figures for in-progress paper
    Do galley edits on paper I’ve almost forgotten writing

    1. I'm firmly on Team "The sun SETS into water," but as this is a fantasy I guess you can have whatever setup you like: maybe we're on a small mountainous island! Good luck with the writing blocks. They work so well when you actually stick to the schedule (and it's so frustrating when the blocks get overwritten).