Something Good #44: The Contents of My Fanny Pack
Those who know me well know that in anticipation of embarking on any major life venture, I always buy a new pair of shoes and a new bag. This usually happens before travel, but any important enough event will warrant it: a new job, a big creative project, etc.
So as I hurtled towards the principal photography of You Can Live Forever, my (along with my co-screenwriter and co-director Sarah Watts) debut feature film, the question loomed large: what kind of bag would I bring to set? What would hold all the little things I would need to carry me through the long 12-14 hour days of shooting and travel?
Though I’ve long since moved to backpacks since decades of messenger bag use and poor posture ruined my back, I ruled them out; too unwieldy for crowded interior sets. I began to contemplate an option I’d ruled out long, long ago: the fanny pack. As soon as I seriously considered it, I realized that the now-fashionable FPs were the perfect option for both movie sets and my life in general; too often have I schlepped a large backpack all around town just to transport an asthma inhaler and pair of glasses.
I’ll spare you the long and agonizing process of online shopping that led to my choice of pack; I went for the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack 1L and never regretted it. Small enough not to get in the way; big enough to hold all the essentials, charming colourway.
Here is what it contained.
I’ve worn reading glasses since the age of 18 or so due to my exophoria. I take them off and put them back on all day; only recently did it occur to me that a glasses cord would be useful. (I got one from a brand called Chums; it’s good but I won’t link it here because I don’t want to send Amazon any more business if I can help it. You can look it up). Only drawback was the darn things kept getting tangled up with the cables of the headphones I used to listen to the sound being recorded on set. Also the glasses were constantly filthy. Anyway, it was good to have them as I think my eyesight has gotten like 50% worse since filming started.
A long time ago I became fascinated with the “Everyday Carry” (EDC) community on the internet, where people would show off photos of the essentials they carried with them at all times in case of emergency (emergencies which almost certainly never happened). These people are really into small high-powered flashlights, which I have to admit are attractive to me too. They’re also, I discovered pretty quickly, really into handguns, which are not. I guess a clue should have been how they referred to flashlights as being “tactical.”
This little guy was a Wirecutter recommendation and I have to say I like it a lot. It was useful for both navigating dark exterior locations and looking at script pages while in those locations. I also enjoyed calling it “my tactical,” which my colleagues enjoyed scoffing at.
UPDATE: a few weeks after publishing this edition, my beloved tactical broke and I can no longer recommend it.
Sides are what they call the mini printed out versions of the script pages you’re shooting that day. I guess because they’re on the “sides” of the pages? I dunno. These are Sarah’s, not sure why they’re in my possession. As often as not they’d end up in my back pocket as my ‘pack.
A crumpled call sheet
Call sheets tell you all the important info about the day’s shoot; when everyone is supposed to show up, what scenes you’re shooting, the weather, addresses, etc. Something about them makes them very prone to crumpling; within 30 seconds of being handed one it would look like it had been in my jacket pocket for three months.
A protein thing
I’m hungry all the time so some sort of food thing needed to be close at hand at all times. I guess these ones are good? This particular flavour had these pockets of liquid chocolate that were kind of nasty, I would not recommend. (The coconut almond ones were OK though.)
A USB battery pack
I bought this baby in, believe it, 2016, and it’s still going strong. For some reason they’re way more expensive now than they were five years ago; this one (an Anker) cost me something like $30 originally and now the equivalent is something like twice that. Global shipping crisis or something? It’s good for like 3-4 days of charging. Must-have!
Also a must-have for reasons of breathing.
A cloudy bottle of pills
The big ones are for my tummy and the little ones are for my aches and pains. Standing around for excess of 12 hours on a movie set causes my head, neck, shoulders and back to hurt.
The crumbling detritus of an antacid pill
See “A cloudy bottle of pills,” above.
Apologies for the lateness of this week’s newsletter; I’m still recovering from five weeks of fanny pack wearing. Also, apologies if you’re in the U.K. where “fanny” means something slightly but crucially different. You call them “bum bags,” though, so I mean, come on.
In other news, having wrapped the film, I’m on to the next thing—a new job as a Principal Writer at Compulsion Games where I will be working on video games (again). Something Good will continue but as I find my feet at the new gig it will likely be less regular than usual. You can, however, find me in person at Expozine on November 21 at the SAT here in Montreal, where I will be tabling with my friend Sean Michaels and offering up some sort of limited-run zine version of this newsletter. But if you can’t make it, you can always support this venture by telling a friend and/or subscribing below: