Moving In, Drowning in Stuff & DIY Dolly

Moving Out Comes First

Before you move in somewhere, you have to move out first. That was not as easy as we thought; we actually spent six hours moving boxes with DVDs, carrying couches, loading shopping carts and dollies with chunky film equipment out of our two apartments and loaded everything into the elevator – just about so much that one person fit with all the stuff. When you move, you realize how much STUFF you have – the problem is though, that you can’t get rid of 90% of it, because “you might use it one day on set”. It’s tough to be a filmmaker.

The elevator was filled with our stuff - so full that only one liftboy fit.

The elevator was filled with our stuff - so full that only one liftboy fit.

Outside our house, we meet some other guys moving out - they are using a shabby little Jeep though, which you would only use if you don't have film equipment to bring with you.

Outside our house, we meet some other guys moving out - they are using a shabby little Jeep though, which you would only use if you don't have film equipment to bring with you.

Anyway, somehow me got to the point  where we loaded the entire truck, closed the latch, said goodbye to our roommates and WROOMMM drove down the 405; from the Westwood&Santa Monica area down to Long Beach. A far shot, that would give us nice isolation for editing and developing our company, but at the same take make it harder to meet friends and clients.

The real reason why we move all the way to Long Beach: A Paradise-like resort with jacuzzi, swimming pool, fitness center, two tennis courts and a basketball court ... a sheer impossibility in West LA.

The real reason why we move all the way to Long Beach: A Paradise-like resort with jacuzzi, swimming pool, fitness center, two tennis courts and a basketball court ... a sheer impossibility in West LA.

After a short stop at IKEA, where we acquired big office desks and some basic kitchen/bathroom-needs, we were ready to move into our offices. We arrive at our new complex in Long Beach, open the fire door and – no dolly. The building management forgot to supply us with the dolly we requested. Great. That’s the only thing we needed. Now we have not just heavy couches, but a ton of smaller stuff to carry – a hundred separate items upwards. After about 20 minutes of carrying things out of our truck and into the building basement, I get an …

Epiphany Inside the Truck

In the very end of the truck, Hiroki loaded our two swivel chairs. On the side of the truck, my IKEA Malm bed is laying there, disassembled and sad, with its long, flat, wooden elements. And leaning outside on the truck is my old, half-broken ironing board that I never use but keep for prestige (ironed shirts are out of fashion since 1978). I see two flat elements and two rolling elements – that’s enough for me to build a makeshift dolly. When Hiroki returns from stacking a ton of stuff in front of the basement elevator, he gets to see the finished Frankenstein Monster on wheels – and after a test run, it turns out to become a superior DIY tool for all movers.

It’s simple, all you need is:

  • Two swivel chairs with armrests, preferably a bigger and a smaller one
  • a big piece of flat wood (preferably from a brown IKEA Malm bed, it looks pretty), around as wide as the chairs and as long as you can manage
  • an ironing board with about the same length as the wooden board
  • an object that just about fits between the chair’s armrest

You lay the wooden board flat on the chairs, one chair at each end of the board. This would already suffice to roll/transport something, but things will probably fall off. That’s why you then put the ironing board perpendicular to the wooden board. On the bigger chair, just position the ironing board on the inside of the armrest, on the other chair put the armrest between the board and the legs. Then you tuck the object between the armrests on the bigger chair, effectively locking the ironing board to the chair. As the ironing board’s legs desribe an “X”, the other chair’s armrest will also be locked to the ironing board. Sounds complicated? it’s not.

The DIY Dolly built out of chairs - a comparison where you can see the dolly by itself on the left with the wooden board and ironing board sqeezed into the swivel chairs, and then with a payload of about seven tons of useless garbage on the right.

The DIY Dolly built out of chairs - a comparison where you can see the dolly by itself on the left with the wooden board and ironing board sqeezed into the swivel chairs, and then with a payload of about seven tons of useless garbage on the right.

It took us six hours to move out and only three hours to move in. When we moved out, we already had everything packed, and when we moved in, we didn’t unpack anything. We just put everything into the office to prepare a little bonfire, just in case Jim King Il’s tyranny in North Korea would end and we needed something to celebrate. Since Jim Kong is still in power, our bonfire idea went out the window.

Our bonfire-ready, supersized hill of stuff. So much, that little kids can get lost in there for days. We were ready to become hoarders on TV ... but then we decided to just keep picking our noses.

Our bonfire-ready, supersized hill of stuff. So much, that little kids can get lost in there for days. We were ready to become hoarders on TV ... but then we decided to just keep picking our noses.

Drenched in sweat, that photo is not fake at all - carrying stuff for so long just exhausts the hell out of you, even with such a great dolly.

Drenched in sweat, that photo is not fake at all - carrying stuff for so long just exhausts the hell out of you, even with such a great dolly.

Creating a dedicated Office / Moviewatching Space so we Feel More Official

After two days of removing junk from the living room and into our rooms (which therefore end up being the new junkyards), we get back our large living room. This large living room gets pimped into a 50% screening/chill-out area and 50% editing bay. We mount a projector to the wall, wire it to a DVD player and a strong speaker system (that can be quickly rewired to an iPod to play the X-Men sountrack in full power during our work days), put two couches and two tables next to the projector for concenient movie watching and get a very cinematic feel when we watch something for educational purposes in our home movie theater.

With our two fresh IKEA desks, we set up a large working area – working next to each other – and with the addition of a big 27″ iMac-Editing Monster with the Adobe Production Premium package, we make our workspace complete. We made some more investments in equipment, which we will write about later.
Now, there is nine hard drives on the table, two laptops, one external screen and one iMac – hardly any space left for the LLC-paperwork, that we have to process after our LLC finished registering at the Secretary of State in Sacramento. Mikel, our German co-gangster, brings by a remote control robot without a remote, so we refunction him as a headphone holder. The biggest problem is the cable salad present on the desk, so we decide to use black electrical tape and “hide” all the cables by funneling them around the corners and sides of the desks, leaving us more space to work.

After a while though, the monster of chaos comes out of its hiding, and we have to clean up – and that’s what the next blog post will be about.

About the Author

Tobias Deml is an Austrian Filmmaker and Visual Artist. 2012 Cinematography Reel: http://vimeo.com/53973421 Tobias Deml ist ein österreichischer Filmstudent und Möchtegernregisseur in Los Angeles. Er arbeitet derzeit als Kameramann in Los Angeles und popelt in seiner Nase.