Camera, Set, Action!
There’s something about living in downtown Los Angeles that makes me feel like being a celebrity is tangible. It’s a ridiculous thought, I know. Especially, considering I don’t even want to be a celebrity. I wouldn’t mind, however, being the person behind the scenes that still goes to all the celebrity parties (which clearly means I am like every other person who lives in this star-studded town). But still, the hopefulness is a hard feeling to ignore. Each day I step outside our house and see people filming TV or movies, suddenly stardom seems within reach for anyone.
I hadn’t realized how much of downtown Los Angeles was featured on TV until I live here. I’ve seen my street in the latest Batmanmovie, in a Taco Bell commercial, in most inner-city car commercials, on most reality TV and even on prime time programming. Just the other day while walking the dog, Cory found himself on the set for CSI: New York. Then while making my way to Walgreens to pick up a prescription, I found myself passing through a set that included dudes dressed in wedding dresses and tubs full of rose petals. Camera crews are everywhere downtown, all the time, especially on weekends when the traffic is not as present. Usually there is a note pasted on a wall somewhere that describes what’s being filmed but for the most part I never know what’s being filmed (until I recognize it on TV). I generally see just the set-up, which is not at all as impressive as I imagined in my head before I knew what set-ups were really like. Sets include a couple of big silver and black trucks that carry the equipment like lights and speakers, some smaller trailers, which hide the actors, and police escorts, which I think are required for safety issues. Rarely do I ever see actors in action. Still, sets are definitely a sight to see. It’s incredible how many people are needed for one scene.
Right before the new iPhone 5 came out, Apple turned a nearby art gallery into a faux MAC store. People were everywhere (I assume because Apple has a big production budget). The actors standing out front waiting for the faux MAC doors to open were all young, hip kids, and ironically glued to their own iPhones. The iPhone addiction was inevitable even when the cameras were not filming. The morning of the CSI: New York shoot I saw a faux New York Taxi driver with a staged New York Taxi and license plate, an elderly Asian woman dressed up as a toy doll with pig tails and rosy cheeks, and a tattooed guy covered head to toe walking his blue, pet parrot that sat patiently on his arm. All three people were walked by the block nearest to us within five minutes. And funny enough, two of the three characters were not part of the shoot. But these characters are one of many reasons I love living here–the dynamics of Los Angeles could be a movie all by itself. We’re just actors on stand by waiting our turn.