Because I can come home from work and encounter this:
A Big Network TV show filming on my street corner.
Outside my door, down my block.
Growing up tv shows were made in some faraway land. Even while studyingfilm and TV in college, full on productions were things discussed, things alluded to or seen only in DVD extras footage. But in this city there is a production happening in every corner at almost any time of day.
I get so excited to see a production and a little sad at the same time. I always feel like I should be on the other side of the crowd control guy. I should be a part of what’s happening. Teaching filmmaking, talking about media is one thing, it’s what I’m doing now. But to actually be making movies, filming, performing it’s in me, begging to get out. Now it seems to be knocking on my doorstep…
As I came down from 125th & St. Nic subway stop I saw the production trucks and orange cones in the street and recalled the email the Community Board sent out about Fringe shooting on our block. After stopping at CASH (the Non-Profit I work for right across the street from my apt) to upload photos for a slideshow, I went back to my house and grabbed my camera and lenses.
There have been quite a few occasions worthy of recording that I have blown out of sheer laziness or this weird, ‘eh I’ll meet them again attitude’ I’ve developed. (again stemming from this notion I have that I should and will be on the other side of the shoot sooner than later) such as the Spike Lee Do the Right thing Screen a few weeks ago. By chance I was invited and Spike and 3/4 of the cast were there including John Turturro and Rosie Perez, yet I didn’t bring my camera. I didn’t want to be there like a tourist. If that makes sense. But today, I was going to seize the opportunity. The last time I’d seen anything being filmed on our block was that day I was watching a car chase from a 2003 episode of Third Watch and they drove down 123rd and up Morningside. So I went out just to get some shots of the production and lucked out to catch the show’s stars out and about.
I got some paparazzi-style shots of the shoot and towards the end some of the other onlookers said they were able to get some pics with the actors.
I always thought I’d enjoy meeting famous people but it is a weird experience for me. I never quite know what to say beyond, hey, nice to meet you, mind if I take a photo with you?
I feel like I know these people, like I’ve known them for a long time but when you get in their presence, when there is no character, just a person with a familiar face you realize wow, I don’t know you and we have no common ground for discussion. In fact you’re probably busy or on your way to meet someone you actually know. Hmm. I get stumped on what to say next, because I don’t want to do the old cliche ” oh I love your work or I loved you in xyz, I don’t want to be just a fan. So I keep it brief and they are friendly and just like that I’m going back to whereever I came from trying not to linger, like I roll in these circles all the time and it just so happens we ran into each other. All the while thinking the next time I meet a celebrity or actor it’ll be on the associate level instead of the random dude with a camera level.