Friday, January 20, 2012

And..... Action...
I thought the neighbors across the street were moving out, but it didn't look like your standard movers that pulled up last week. Huge wooden crates filled the yard. They put every piece of furniture into the crates and with a fork lift placed them on logo-less trucks.  The next day two other trucks pulled up and reversed the procedure with different furnishings.  It was the opening salvo of a movie crew.
By then the curbs on either side of my street were blocked off with orange cones and temporary tow away no parking signs posted. 
There is a sameness to every movie crew. Unshaven guys with baseball caps, shorts and hoodies, tools dangling from their belts, hauling lights and cables paraded in front of my house. My dog Boo did not find them attractive and barked constantly. Then there are the actors that sit in high folding chairs with tissues protecting their collars. Type A personality directors who seem to be under stress and over stimulated.  There is a flurry of activity to set up a scene and then long periods of time when those same worker bees smoke cigarettes, and toss wrenches at each other in the street. Motor-cycle cops stand guard letting only the neighbors through. Unfortunately they don't know the neighbors so getting in and out of my driveway is like going through a border check. 
Last night till midnight the front yard across the street was lit with huge lights on century stands and cherry pickers.  That house looked like it was still high noon with the rest of the neighborhood in evening darkness.
My next door neighbor has rented his front yard to the crew for their lunch.  Shade tents and long tables and chairs flank a food truck.  It smells great, and I am wondering if I can show my SAG card and get a free meal.
There is no signage that would indicate what this production is.  I am guessing by the number of days that they have been here that it is a film, rather than a television commercial or TV series.  They are not shooting the exterior of the house, so I may never know if I actually see the scenes they are shooting in a film someday.  It would be nice to say... "You know that scene where they kill the zombie in the living room... that is my next door neighbor's house."  
LA is a company town and for the most part we put up with these minor inconveniences. They could have cast the entire film with actors living in a two block radius.  I have done my share of tramping through someone's residence turned into a film set. There is one thing for sure, there is no amount of money that would lure me into offering my residence for such a project. In the contract to use the house is the clause that it will be put back to its original state perfectly so they treat it like a studio set. I have seen camera dollies scrape across maple wood floors and mud tracked across wall to wal carpeting. On one location, shooting Broken Badges in Canada, the owner had a very large fish tank full of exotic tropical fish.  The sound man did not like the noise of the air pump and turned it off for the two days we shot.  The fish died a slow death.  It cost the production company more money to restock the tank than I got for a salary that week.  It is not the glamorous part of the business that the PR people document.
I have never known a home owner who rented his house to a production crew more than once.  I guess that is why you never know where the trucks will be next time. There is a sucker born every minute.
As you were,

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