When I think of life on a movie set, there are certain pictures that come to mind. The average movie-goer — like me — pictures beautiful sets and relaxing days, spreads of delectable food for the cast and crew and luxurious trailers. So when someone asks you to help on their movie set for a weekend, even if it is a local no-budget feature, you say yes instinctively because you assume it’s nothing but fun and games.
Then you spend 37 hours on a film set over two and a half days, with temperatures reaching into the high 90s and you realize it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Last weekend I spent time working with the cast and crew of “What A Pair,” an action-comedy flick by A Good Size Productions that has been filming in and around Paducah for the last six months. The movie’s central idea — two crooked cops train a rookie for the day and get into some unforeseen trouble — was birthed during last year’s 48 Hour Film Project at Maiden Alley Cinema.
There’s no budget, which makes what this group is doing even more spectacular. Everyone from Kirchhoff’s Bakery to the Pony to Paducah Police Department has lent a hand to help the guys get locations and extras and props.
Last weekend was the last big weekend of shooting. Yes, there are some miscellaneous scenes to capture, but the idea was very simple: Everyone has a job, a schedule to keep and other engagements so we all took Friday, Saturday and Sunday off to get as much filming as possible.
The results were incredible and are exhausting even to relay to you. The crew shot 15 pages of script and 90 shots in eight different locations with about 10 people as crew. To put that in perspective, big budget films usually shoot about four pages of script at a time in at most two locations with at least 30 people helping out.
There weren’t movie star trailers, there were cars kept running with air conditioning on to keep us cool in the incredible heat. The only thing big budget worthy was the food, which was provided by family members of the movie’s director and producer. The locations included a 100-degree basement that served well for filming but left cast and crew soaking in sweat.
It wasn’t glamorous but everyone there kept a good sense of humor. There was no whining (for the most part). Even after filming wrapped at 4 a.m. Saturday morning, the entire crew came back at noon for another long day.
Film making is hard work. It takes passion and commitment and a solid set of people who are flexible and cool-headed. After all of the travel and the scene changes and the makeup and wardrobe malfunctions, we spent Sunday afternoon at lunch laughing and recounting the weekend’s hijinx. We all woke up Monday morning to drag ourselves back into the real world. Hollywood can have the luxury trailers, professional make up artists and lax schedules. I’ll take the laughter over the swag any day.
Call Corianne Egan, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.