Tuesday, December 12, 2006

SV Yourself

One of my favorite things about living in New York is seeing the little signs on the parking meters that tell cars not to park there becuase a movie or TV show will be filming in the area. I think it's kind of weird that the signs actually tell you the name of the production. Wouldn't they want to keep people away from the filming? Why attract people to the scene? They give you the time as well as the day. If I were shooting a major motion picture, I'd have the signs say "Urban Dust Mites: A Documentary" or something, so that people wouldn't purposely come back at the pre-determined time to bother my famous actors.

Anyway, they do give the name and date and time, so I always look up the name of the film on imdb to see if it's worth going back to that spot.

Last week, I was walking home from work and, much like our friends in Ace of Base, I saw "the sign" on a parking meter. Turns out they were going to be shooting some Law & Order. I've learned from people that have acting backgrounds that Law & Order is almost like an inside joke amongst actors or people who work in television here in New York. If you've worked at all, you've worked on Law & Order. Probably multiple times. I saw that the time was Tuesday morning. So I knew I'd be walking right through the episode, essentially, on my way in to work that day, along the sparsely-populated sidewalk.

That day was this morning. As I walked, I came across a garbage truck stopped on a side street, sticking out into the avenue. I'd had a run-in with this very truck before, as it always sticks out when it's parked in this spot, causing pedestrians to either cross in front of it, risking their lives walking blindly into the traffic speeding up the avenue, or cross behind it, in the official "garbage collecting zone," which you're not supposed to do. So this one time, in that situation, I decided to go around the back of the truck, as did a woman right behind me. After we got across the street, the garbage guys yelled at us to cross only in front of the truck. I had to say something, so I shouted back at them, as politely as I could, "It's halfway into the avenue." I think one of 'em yelled something back at me, but I just kept walking.

Today, the truck was blocking my view of the sidewalk ahead of me, but I could tell there was TV-stuff going on behind it. As I approached the truck, I had to make the usual decision. I chose to test my luck on the front, or avenue side of the truck. I noticed a man facing me with a walkie-talkie. I thought he might be guarding the area, but he didn't stop me. Suddenly, I was across the street and walking on a sidewalk full of crewmembers. I realized at that moment that the guy was supposed to have stopped me. But he didn't, and I was just trying to get to work. (While checking for any famous people, of course.) I've never seen the show, though, so I wouldn't know who to look for anyway.

So there I was, dodging cameras, lights, people carrying huge cables, just like in the movies when they show people making...another movie. I saw those special chairs with the logo on the back: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Everyone I saw was in the crew. Yeah, they were definitely supposed to have kept this area clear. But no one said anything to me. One lady gave me an eye-rolling "excuse me," as she tried to get by me in the crowd, her not realizing I wasn't some crewmember slacking off and getting in her way, me knowing I'd done nothing wrong, just trying to get to work. Maybe I looked like a crew guy and that's why they let me through. Or maybe I was the first person through after filming had stopped--I could tell they had just wrapped everything up.

And then I walked past the Dunkin' Donuts, the doggy bath place...and everything was back to normal. That shoot was the "gym class" of my commute.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States