I joked tonight that I’ve lived in Nashville too long when a movie being filmed outside my place of work annoyed me instead of leaving me excited. I say that about running into singers, actors, etc. as well because on a whole I really have just come to take it in stride. (Though I have to confess, George Strait made me totally freeze up and start stuttering and lose a great opportunity to possibly meet him, but some day maybe the chance will return. Doubtful. But maybe.)
I do think the whole Hollywood thing is pretty exciting. And there is a true mystique and fascination that exists around the whole TV and movie making process. I admit to getting wrapped up in it on occasion myself. Getting to participate in making the new Lee Ann Womack video was pretty incredible.
But twice in my life, Hollywood has made me throw my hands up in the air and want to scream in frustration.
My first Hollywood experience was actually in little ol’ Marlin , Texas, in 2005 when they used the Falls County Courthouse to film a lot of scenes for the movie Infamous whose cast included Sandra Bullock and Sigourney Weaver. I was working at the town’s newspaper at that time, and of course this was the biggest news to hit Marlin in probably almost 20 years. (Well, the biggest bit of positive news.)
They filmed inside the courthouse and outside the courthouse. For exterior scenes, they put out a call for classic cars to line the streets around the courthouse. To be honest, the cars got me more excited than the stars, but then that’s just how I roll.
On the afternoon that they filmed some of the exterior scenes, I went out to try to get a few photos for the next week’s issue. I was careful to stay OUT of the way, but before long I was sniffed out and scolded to not take any photos due to the need to keep things about the movie confidential. I could respect that fact up to a couple points. One point was the fact that Marlin is a small town that I doubt any entertainment reporters would be picking up our paper to sniff for things about the movie. The other point was the one in which they started to impede my ability to do MY job.
It took awhile, but I did finally get them to leave me alone enough to take pictures of the cars all around the square. One gentleman offered to let me sit in his car and watch from afar, which I gladly accepted as at that point I had to crouch down behind all these cars to stay out of view.
Eventually, the movie was done filming. We ran the photo I took of the cars in the paper. And life moved on…
I never did see the movie. It’s in my Amazon.com wishlist in case anyone cares to buy it for me.
Fast forward four years, and I had my second Hollywood experience. This time, Nashville, TN. Printer’s Alley. My job? Working in one of the bars in the Alley. The filming is going on in the bar next to the one at which I work, but it somewhat disrupts things in the whole Alley.
Now, understand, when I heard days ago about a movie being filmed in the Alley, I got excited about how much great PR this could mean for it. Perhaps seeing our Alley in a movie would bring visitors next year?
However, going into the night I was already in a bad mood, but it didn’t take long for the bad mood to sour further. I quickly felt like I couldn’t do my job properly lest I cause some sort of problem between “Quiet! Filming!” barks and worrying about how our band would be able to load in their gear. Ultimately, I wanted to do my job, while they did theirs, but struggled with how to do just that.
And I have to admit. That frustrated me. I believe my exact phrase was “Pain in the a–, huh?” to my husband as he pulled in to unload his gear to play.
I often get this exact same frustration from tourists who seem to forget that while Nashville is a tourism-centric city, it’s also home to many people. We’re happy to have you here. But please don’t stop us from living our lives; doing our jobs.
Chances are tomorrow night I’ll have my third experience, as apparently filming will be again occurring in the Alley. I don’t know if that will go into the night and overlap with my time there. But, the chance is there. And I can’t say that it excites me.
Call it a pessimistic approach to the experience if you want.
Me? I call it an experienced approach to it.
Because that’s how I roll.