Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bright Lights, Big City

The other day, as I was walking the dogs, I noticed signs posted on all the trees and lamposts along our streets. Upon closer inspection, the signs indicated that there would be no parking along the street for one day because there was going to be a film crew for Law and Order.

Film crews have followed me around during my life. When I was four or so, I appeared in some cheezy B movie that was filmed in Acapulco. I was in the pool swimming as the camera panned to the stars who were having a conversation poolside.

In college, the campus was used as a set for several films and an episode of Quantum Leap. Living in Providence, the street I lived on was the setting for many autumn scenes for the television show Providence (most which were not filmed in autumn, requiring leaves to be shipped in and strewn about - and never cleaned up). Also a scene from the film There's Something about Mary was filmed a couple of houses down.

Even this past summer I shared the campus where I taught with another film crew (I don't remember the name of the film now).

Despite these experiences, I still find it fascinating how much effort is put into the production. A whole day of work might end up as a couple of minutes on film. It can also be fun running into and meeting celebrities. Kevin Klein and Sigourney Weaver - very cool people.

So this week, as I walked the dogs, I watched in awe as lights, cameras, equipment, and props got shuffled about. Having just dealt with moving, I thought about how these people have to unpack all this stuff for one day and then just turn around and pack it all back up.

Several apartments on our block were used as sets, including one just behind ours.

Some other scenes were shot out on the street, requiring an army of people with earpieces to shut down the pedestrian traffic while the filming took place.

I was admiring the hustle of all the production crew while Zeus and Zephyr engaged in a thorough sniffing of trees and hydrants, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of someone coming out of the building. This person was headed in my direction. Thinking it was someone that was about to tell me to move along or that my dogs and I had just ruined a scene, I turned to face them.

When I got a clear look at this person, the first thought to cross my mind was, "Man, that is one handsome dude." I should point out that I usually don't think about the attractiveness of males, but this guy was striking. He came up and said, "That is one great looking dog. Very distinctive," as he jestured to Zeus. On cue, Zeus turned his attention to the guy and moved over to say hello and accept further compliments.

It was at this point that I realized that this handsome man was Jesse Martin, one of the leading actors of Law and Order.

He is much taller than I expected. Usually you hear about how celebrities are usually shorter than what they appear on film. As I stood there slowly realizing who this person was, he added diplomatically, "That one is also quite nice," motioning towards Zephyr. She, as usual, remained oblivious.

So I guess I was the odd one out among this sea of attractiveness.

I thanked him. He smiled and mentioned that he had to run, which he did.

The dogs poked around some more and then we went back inside. That evening Zeus displayed an air of confidence that almost shouted out, "A celebrity thought I was good looking...a handsome celebrity at that."

Maybe I am a little jealous...

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