Hiccups + Hygiene
By Jared Andrukanis, Segment Producer
It is the night of our arrival in Manila, and usually on the day we arrive and before we begin principal photography, I spend my first few hours meeting with our fixer to discuss any changes or adjustments to our shooting schedule.
After that, I reach out to tomorrow\’s locations to touch base and remind them of the times that we are coming to film with them.
Finally, I head up to my hotel room and make sure the mini-fridge in my hotel room is functioning properly by testing the coldness of a beer before I go to sleep. It sometimes takes two beers to be certain, but up to this point I have not found a broken mini-fridge.
That is a normal arrival day.
My first night in the Philippines is not a normal arrival day.
It\’s nearing midnight, and I am riding in an ordinary looking white van through the hectic streets of Metro Manila. There are people everywhere I look, all doing their usual night time routine …the city feels alive with energy, and it is all moving past me in a blur as I scan the storefronts of the many bodegas that line the crowded sidewalks. I am looking for something vital for our upcoming shoot days. Something that, quite frankly, we need badly seeing as the temperature here doesn\’t seem to ever go below eighty degrees and it\’s humid.
I am on a desperate mission to find a drugstore that is open at this late hour to buy some deodorant.
Yep …that\’s right. Deodorant.
We (the crew) are in desperate need of toiletries, and I am trying to find the one item that quite possibly has changed the face of the modern world. I keep reminding myself it is a noble quest as we pass more and more closed drugstores. Reminding myself to keep my eye on the prize.
Why, you may ask, is there such an urgent need for this solo excursion into the streets of Manila at this time of night after nearly 20 hours of flying with so many other things to do before cameras go live tomorrow morning?
I will explain -
As any traveler knows, there are apt to be some hiccups in the great world of trains, planes, and automobiles. Mostly those hiccups take place on the planes …not so much in the air, but the process of getting them in the air on time. Delays, cancellations and missed connections …these things happen – and since the travel situation on this show is more akin to \”planes, planes, and more planes\” it is surprising that things do not go awry more often.
We hit a triple hiccup (delayed, cancelled, missed connection) on the way to the Philippines, and as to not bore you with the exact airport logistics, I will simply say that it was not our day at JFK. Certain things occurred at the airport that caused us to arrive in Manila 12 hours later than planned, and with only our carry-on luggage and three cameras.
No personal checked bags (Including toiletries, socks, underwear, outerwear).
No additional film equipment (Including many items that are vital for our shoot, items that are hard to replace while on the road).
And most disturbing, perhaps…
No way to tell when any of it would arrive (Including me figuring out how to purchase everything we may need to properly shoot this show. It\’s a long list without having to buy us all clothes for the week. So now it\’s a longer list).
Granted, we always carry-on the cameras and sound kits for our shoots, so we have what we need to start filming the episode tomorrow morning, but no matter how much you rub a Sony-V1U on your underarm you wont get all day wetness protection coupled with a pleasant scent.
You will most likely get a rash, almost definitely have someone give you a nervous glance and quite possibly be arrested.
It is close to midnight when I find some, and I feel about ten pounds lighter as I hop back into the van to head back to the hotel to start my usual arrival day work.
Our missing bags arrive at the hotel the next morning, and I end up leaving five travel sticks of varying brands of deodorant behind on my hotel sink when I leave Manila at the end of the shoot.
The housekeeping crew must have thought I was a little strange.