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Friday, January 6, 2012

Behind the Scenes

A few weeks ago, my daughter Corinne began shooting her senior thesis film, Emily's Revolution. In addition to Jasper's acting debut, the film also included my husband and I, some friends and their children as extras. Many rooms in our home became locations for specific scenes. And Brian and I provided room and board for any cast and crew that needed to stay nearby--which at any one time was a dozen or more people.

Let's just say it was a bit crowded.

The canine and feline inhabitants of our home didn't have much say in the goings-on. But for the most part, they were pretty chill about the glamor of movie making. (And let me say here for any and all who don't know: I didn't see a shred of glamor, just a lot of hard work and long hours.)

Jasper, as a cast member, fit right in, assuming that everyone else on hand was his best friend. (Of course he feels this way about the UPS driver, the mail carrier, the landscaper and anyone who shows up at our door or in our yard.)

And who would have thought, considering Lilah's past, that she would be so cool around so many people and so much equipment. When she first came to live with us, everyone who came to our house had to leave purses, bags, boxes or whatever outside on the porch, enter slowly, toss a treat toward Lilah and let her approach on her own terms. Even then she'd be leery of new things. We had to teach her a trick called Touch it With Your Nose to introduce her to new things. When a Scary Thing was brought into the house, it was set down, Lilah was given space and told to Touch it With Your Nose. She'd approach cautiously and touch it, and get lots of praise and treats.

During the scene prep and filming, there were so many huge pieces of equipment that came into this house including a camera, a dolly, tripods, lights and cases full of Important Items. Lilah--brave, brave Lilah--Touched a Lot of Things With Her Nose. And wagged for treats afterwards. There were only a few things she didn't really like--usually anything that was big and black--but instead of skittering away, Lilah barked her commentary about her displeasure with Big Black Items That Were Brought into the House Without Her Permission, and then quieted down when the items in question were no longer being moved around.

As for Tucker, I'm not sure he even noticed the tumult. There were a lot more people to snuggle and wag at--and to provide with kisses. And he also offered his Help. Quite often.

Athena, the ever-curious cat, ensured that all equipment she had access to was appropriately inspected and approved.

And Dawn hid under the bed.

Here is a look at some of the behind-the-scenes action, from dog and cat points of view.

Lilah, Jasper and Tucker review the equipment in our living room, which served as a staging area during filming and a bedroom for the gaffer at night.

During the set up of a night scene that was to take place on our front porch, all three dogs kept a watchful eye on the crew.

As Corinne did set decoration, and a electrical grip set up the lights, Tucker supervised from our bed.

Tucker, Jasper and Lilah decided that the actor playing Emily needed extra doggy kisses. For motivation.

One of the scenes was filmed in our basement. Lilah was Concerned about all the noise and equipment going up and down the stairs.

Dawn and Athena, for the most part, were confined to our bedroom. (Except when Corinne was filming there.) As the crew made so many trips in and out of the house carrying equipment, we were a bit worried about cats getting outside. Sometimes, we let them wander the house, but we had to make sure everyone knew to try and prevent potential escapes.

Lots of furniture was moved around in order to make room for equipment. Here, Athena approves of the new placement of an old desk from my grandparent's farm, which is usually in the foyer. In its new location, it provides a lovely place to sit and peer out the window. Sadly for Athena, it was temporary. You can also see in this picture some of the big black items that Lilah objected to; they're used to control light.

For the dining room scene, a dolly track was set up. Tucker Helped.

Tucker Helped Guillaume, the gaffer, who was pitching in with set up as well. The crew designated Tucker an honorary dolly grip.

Lilah had a thing for Donovan, the director of photography. It was an on-set romance, as Donovan returned the affection.

Cast and crew--and Tucker--setting up a shot.

Lilah checks out just one of the many black cases that were scattered throughout the house. Jasper is trying to figure out how to get closer to the people for some pets and snuggles. And Tucker is giving hugs to Corinne, the director.

After two weekends of shooting, my daughter is nearly finished. She still has a few more scenes to be shot, but they are not in our home. The last weekend of filming should take place some time this month. While we were thrilled to support Corinne in her schooling, I think Brian and I and Aaron will be happy to have our house to ourselves. I think Dawn agrees. As for Athena, Jasper, Lilah and Tucker, I think they'll miss the people and the excitement.

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