On Set vs On Stage

My husband Mark and I are currently hosting the production crew, writers, director and actors for an Independent film, “Two Yellow Lines.” I’ve only been involved on set with one other film, and that was a number of years ago. The process shares similarities with stage production, but with one big difference: when filming on location you are at the mercy of the elements–and filming in Montana during June is a weather crap shoot at best. This crew and the actors have seen it all. Starting high on the side of a mountain filming the sawyer scenes the cast and crew got caught in a hail storm…and then it snowed. Then off to Cody Wyoming to film scenes at a guest ranch turned “Sky Camp.” The sky chose not to cooperate and a full-day of filming two five minute scenes got sandwiched between downpours. And it was cold. Really cold for June. About 50 degrees. Too cold for a flannel shirt and no warm jacket. I know. I played Julie, camp director, in one of those five minute scenes. The crew then headed towards Jackson, Wyoming filming scenes on the road along the way and in campsites at night. It rained the entire time. Leading man Zac Titus as “Jack” got stuck riding nearly 40 miles in a constant downpour in 45 degree temperatures on a motorcycle. Fortunately, 13 year old daughter, Alexis, (both on and off set), was tucked away in the accompanying motor home that had headed to the next film location an hour earlier. Back in Helena, Montana, the cast and crew finally got a break. The sun came out just in time to film inside Steve’s Cafe, a local favorite that set the tone for a chance meeting between Jack and an attractive waitress who notices his bike needs repairs. She volunteers her dad, (played by Frank Collison best known as the telegrapher, Horace Bing, in the series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”), take a look… Which gets everyone to our ranch about 10 miles south of Helena. It’s been an interesting ride watching the production crew work in such challenging conditions, but they are professionals and have more than risen to the occasion. It makes me realize that no matter the overwhelming time and energy it takes to produce a play on stage, at least most of the time we are out of the elements. But then again, there’s summer stock…

1 thought on “On Set vs On Stage”

  1. I can empathize with this. The uncertainties of the British weather determined our outdoors shoots with the biggest hazard being interference on the sound recording leading to many re-takes, for instance picking up a helicopter that was barely noticeable to anyone who was not wearing the earphones. Although you can resort to ADR it does require a high level of skill to get it right. At least one thing that we don’t have to worry about in theatres – for the most part. I remember one of my plays being on stage in a local theatre which was hard by a road junction. In a very quite and emotional exchange in the dialogue a group of motorcyclists took off from the junction outside


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