Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action

Is it really less than a week until Christmas? Judging by the Costco parking lot today I guess I’m not the only one who just figured it out. It’s been a wild week here. My Internet is fixed courtesy of my son. No more getting knocked off, then on, then off, then on, etc. all while trying to write one email. My front window is replaced and the shattered glass stayed in until the glass guys came. They even came in the rain. In So Cal sometimes it seems like everybody thinks they are the Wizard of Oz’s wicked witch of the west and they’ll melt if they get wet.

The weather turned cold and stormy. Okay, by colder climate standards it wasn’t that cold, but there was enough snow in the area to shut down three major freeways. I started wearing so many layers of clothes I looked like the Michelin tire guy.

On the coldest and wettest of days, a movie company set up on the street in front of my house. The actual filming was going on in a house around the corner. Production companies have used our street before, though not that much lately. There is a house nearby that used to be used as a location all the time. A family lived there, but I think the house was designed to be used as a set. By chance someone we knew was doing a shoot there once and I got to look inside. The kitchen certainly wasn’t planned with a cook in mind. All that room in the middle was great for lights and cameras, but would wear out anyone trying to carry things from the stove to the counter.

The crew that set up this week was filming a movie called Warrior. There was no synopsis or list of stars included on the information sheet they dropped off. Just a note telling us there weren’t going to be any special effects or explosions. Good news. Once before they filmed around here and used a helicopter for something and it flew so low, I swore it was going to land in our backyard. Judging by the quality of trucks and dressing rooms, Warrior appeared to have a nice budget.

Early in the morning they parked a huge semi in front of our house. Our neighbor had dressing rooms in front of his house. Somewhere around the corner and up the street the food people must have set up. Usually there are caterer who sets up tables and chairs on somebody’s lawn (of course compensating them). It was a little nippy this time – cold enough that I saw crew members in parkas – so they must have had tents and heaters. Somewhere too there was something called a craft services table with every snack imaginable available between the meal service.

I have been on a fair share of sets and I was an extra in a movie once. It was a little more low end than the set up in front of my house. There were just a couple of one old trailers dressing rooms and they did my makeup and hair at a table set up in a parking lot. But when it came to lunch it was a full catered event with hot food and table and chairs set up in a parking lot. The entertainment industry is big on food.

But back to the production in front of my house. When I took my dog out for her nightly walk I passed all the trailers, dressing rooms, vans and little trucks that spread for almost two blocks. It was like a whole little village. Vans were going up and down the street taking cast and crew people back and forth to their cars that were parked somewhere else. Someone was in the clothes truck getting a long black thing (hmm maybe it’s a horror movie). Lights were on in the trailers. There were blinds on the windows so I have no idea what was going on inside. And then shortly after my dog and I got home, I heard the rumble of big engines as the trucks and trailers began to leave to move on to their next location. By ten o’clock the street was dark and empty and the only sign anyone had been there was they’d put our garbage cans on the lawn.

And now back to dealing with the holidays. I figure if I write my holiday letter tonight and mail them tomorrow they’ll arrive before Christmas. Happy Holidays!


Camille Minichino said...

It sounds exciting, Betty. I'm going to visit a movie set in Sacramento area tomorrow. Looking forward to it. I have dreams of having my script produced some day!

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, I bet you'll find your visit very interesting, particularly since you've written a script.

Camille Minichino said...

Well, I did get to meet a gaffer!

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, and I bet he was glad to tell you all about what he did.