Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Action!

The Cold Case production company descended upon our neighborhood at 6:00AM this morning with all the animation and excitement of a carnival. Even though I’ve been around the entertainment industry for 20 years, I still get a little jolt when I see the dream machine at work.

Dozens (and dozens) of crew members wheeled in equipment, set props, bundled electrical cables along the sidewalks, set up sound boards and placed spot lights. Within no time our little Southern California village was transformed into Philadelphia, 1968, complete with costumed extras and at least a dozen vintage muscle cars. Around 2:00PM, the team was ready for the explosion scene.

“Wow,” I said to my daughter as we stepped out on the porch to watch, “They really have thought of everything.”
“Excuse me,” a crew member interrupted, “May we borrow your hose?”

Well, maybe not everything.

By 4:00PM we were offered free ice cream with the cast and crew and by 11:00PM, the last truck had pulled out. That’s show business...

22 comments:

keith said...

It's an eye opener to see the amount of people, equipment and detail that goes into putting together even one small scene. How was the explosion?

Eki Akhwan said...

Wow, that's an interesting story, Laurie. So is Cold Case is television serial movie, or a theater movie?

Wayne said...

Laurie, what did they blow up!???

Geez, you can't go around telling guys there was an explosion and then not tell them what got blew up.

Oh the mental anguish!

Virginia said...

I'm with Wayne and Keith, so how was it? I 'm on the edge of my seat! I am so nosy I would have been all up in their business all day long! HA

Yak Pate said...

The explosion was, of course, a special effect for the sole purpose of amusing your daughter.

That's the great thing about movies... they bring out the kid in us!

I'll bet this crew was influenced by the South Pas vibe to be more courteous and agreeable (ice cream!) than crews in, say, Hollywood. If they cleaned up their mess before leaving the neighborhood, that proves it!

JAMJARSUPERSTAR said...

Wow! Now I would love something so exciting as a whole TV camera crew coming down to film! The best we can hope for is a little bit of news coverage when they stop you in the street to ask your opinion! Boring or what?

Sigh, if only I had the money to move somewhere more exciting...
Ciao

http://jamjarsuperstar.blogspot.com
http://scarletsculturegarden.blogspot.com

P.A. said...

Pasadena Adjacent
I bet you live on Gledon Way. That must be the most popular street in South Pasadena for filming. I love Cold Case

Sharon said...

So those authentic looking eastern neighborhoods we see on a variety of TV shows are not so authenic after all.

Sounds like a fun day watching the filming. When I worked in Chicago, I used to run into these film crews all the time. It was during the height of the "ER" era and it seemed like they were always filming one or two of the characters walking down a familiar Chicago street.

Dixie Jane said...

Laurie, how much fun for you and your daughter. I am reminded of the time you and I were extras in a Willie Nelson movie, on location, all day and into the night for ten days and only a 15 minute scene. I talked to Willie and at the close of a day's shooting he got back upon the stage and sang, "Georgia" to ME! This movie was really shot out in the Toolies but they cut the both of us. It was supposed to be a family picnic. The only thing that got blown up in this movie was the outhouse.

Miss Havisham said...

Two words: craft service

altadenahiker said...

Your post is great, but I'm in trouble. I'm one mouse click away from ordering a Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven. It all started because I got my resume back from LHH, and started to work on the revisions...

I don't know if I can hold out. Convection! I always wanted convection!

USelaine said...

Miss H, I am down with that, yes ma'am. Best thing ever.

I got to provide some hospital atmosphere in a shot with Buddy Ebson way back in about 1980. "Leave Yesterday Behind", starring John Ritter. I was lucky I could still fit into my candy striper uniform.

babooshka said...

We get cold case here. I will have to know which episode this will be. I will be pointing at the screen saying
"I know the blogger virtually from that town you know."

Jutilda said...

That is so awesome. I'm jealous that I wasn't able to at least be a bug on your shoulder. So much fun to live on your street!!

Mister Earl said...

I like the guy in the background, pushing the tricycle! Yeah, movies and TV shows are very tedious to make. So much setting up and tearing down and sitting around sometimes just for a very quick shot. Laurie, did you hear the explosion? Was it very loud? Did they blow up anything in particular?

Petrea said...

Laurie, I know the feeling. No matter how long I live here and work in the industry, I think I'll always be a tourist in Hollywood. It's exciting to see a shoot and there are so many around town. Fun to have it on your street! Though I'm not sure I'd recommend having one in your house.

-K- said...

Have movie and tv people been taking some HR classes?

The last time I dealt with them they were actually polite and conscientious.

Maya said...

Cold Case is one of my favorite shows. I love the endings...

Laurie said...

Hey kids,

I realize now that I left you hanging with all that talk of explosions and no explanation! I'm afraid the reality was far less interesting than the idea. Although we saw the little red box in the street, stenciled with white letters spelling out EXPLOSIVES on the side like something out of a Wiley Coyote cartoon -- we didn't end up seeing the actual stunt.

Those over-concerned crew people made us go back in the house before they actually did anything.

Here's what we heard from inside:

"Does someone have a hose turned on?"
(That would be MY hose...)
"Yes!"
"Okay, light the fuse! Now, action!"

KABOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!

"Okay, let's do it again."

It only took two kabooms for the director to yell, "Print that" and move on. I think the scene had something to do with fireworks gone awry, but I'm not sure.

Eki, Cold Case is a TV series on CBS. I've never seen it.

Dixie/Mom, didn't we have fun way back then on that movie?

Elaine, now I really want to dig up that footage of you as a candy striper!

Petrea, the location scout initially approached us about interior filming and my husband and I both said no. Don't think I'd like that at all.

Kevin, you've noticed the change in attitude too? I found this team to be almost Stepford-nice. It was lovely, actually.

Mister Earl, I'm glad you noticed Tricycle Man. He's what made me love this shot, actually. I've never seen someone so earnestly and intently push a tricycle.

See you next post, good people! :-)

USelaine said...

"Footage" would be an exaggeration. I don't think I was even in focus. Look for Buddy rounding a turn in a hospital corridor and making "eye contact" with the devastated parents of John Ritter. I am the blob rolling an IV unit across the perpendicular hall behind him. The opening credits haven't even finished.

You will never be able to find it, hence the detailed description. ;^)

Sally said...

I love the way people in the US are unashamedly interested and "uncool" when TV or movie comes to town. Here we're usually way too cool to show overt interest, more uaully feigning a sort of cool reserve!

They film quite alot around the building I work in and I'm always fascinated. Most recently was the movie Disgraced - HUGE trailers were parked in the narrow street all day , and apparently John Malkovich was seen coing out every so often.

It's no wonder it's so expensive to make good film or TV - soooooooooo many people doing NOTHING for so long, as a minute adjustment happens, makeup or hair is adjusted, etc etc. And then "Action" is called, and everyone just starts doing what they do!

Le Cheval Endiablé said...

Hello ! I discover your blog from a link of Greenwich village daily picture.
It might be funny to see one's own place transformed in a city 40 years ago. I would have liked to see that too.