February 19, 2010 § 19 Comments
Today is a really exciting day for me. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I worked as a production assistant on the film “Shutter Island” two years ago and today it is being released to theaters. I can’t wait to see how it all came together. During the filming, scenes are shot out of order, from different angles, with several takes of each. You never really know what the finished product is going to look and feel like. Editing and visual effects change everything.
This was my first film job. It just so happened to be in my hometown. Medfield, Massachusetts is a small town 45 minutes away from Boston. Nothing about it is Hollywood. Except our old state hospital. It’s set on a large plot of land and despite the fact that it only closed a decade or so ago, it’s pretty decrepit. It has a really cold, slightly creepy feel to it that the director, Martin Scorsese, thought was perfect for the mental institution setting of “Shutter Island.”
When I found out that they would be filming here in Smalltown USA, I was ecstatic. I had always dreamed of being a part of film making, and this was just too good to be true. Some of the film offices were set up directly across the street from my house- fate? One afternoon I mustered enough courage to walk over and try to give someone my resume and a letter I’d written. This letter was unlike any I’d ever written to get a job. Knowing that I really had no qualifications and that I had no experience made me honest. I explained that while I didn’t have any previous knowledge of working in film, I really knew the area well and could be useful in many ways as a local. Yes, I expressed my love of film, but I really just wanted to let whoever would read the letter know how much I wanted to help in any way. It was sort of like, “Hey, I’m really good at shoveling if we get a snowstorm!” Like Paramount Pictures couldn’t afford a plow.
I handed my close-to-blank resume and letter to a seemingly nice woman who said she’d pass it on to the art department coordinator. Three weeks passed and I had started to come to terms that this film wasn’t in the cards for me.
Then I got a call. I was driving home from running errands on a Tuesday and the art department coordinator called me to say that one of her assistants had to have emergency surgery and that they were looking for someone to fill in until Friday. Never in my life have I been so happy that someone was having emergency surgery! No, that’s bad, but I really was jumping up and down. I went to the office thirty minutes later and felt like God just asked me to watch the pearly gates while he used the restroom. I felt out of this world lucky.
Loooong story short, I worked until that Friday and then was asked to come on board for the full run of the film. It may have been my work ethic, but I’m willing to bet that the homemade lemon squares, warm cinnamon banana bread, and chocolate eclairs had something to do with it.
In the end, it was one of the best times of my life. For five months I felt like I’d just won the lottery. Keep in mind though that the position I held was not by nature glamorous or prestigious. I was a production assistant. But you could’ve fooled me. Working in the art department meant that I got to see how the sets were designed and I was able to do so much from research to creating props and assisting the set decorator.
Today, I’m still working in film and with the same art department coordinator who gave me the job on “Shutter Island.” She has become one of my best friends and traveling to different cities and working on movies with her has been so wonderful.
Seeing “Shutter Island” will be the first time I get to see a film I’ve worked on come to life. My family has been so supportive and encouraging of me. They know how passionate I am about movies and are equally as excited as I am about me doing what I love. Tonight, eighteen of my family members are having a big dinner together and then going to see the movie. I couldn’t be happier.
To make a good day even better, I made these amazing hotcakes for breakfast:
These are so moist, tender, and fluffy. The lemon is subtle but brightly flavorful. The blueberries make the cakes sweet enough that you don’t even really need maple syrup, but since I would never steer someone away from the stuff, pour it on! Also, I have made this loose pancake recipe with all whole-wheat flour before with good results. Enjoy!!
• ½ cup flour
• 1 TBSP sugar
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• Dash salt
• ½ cup buttermilk
• 1 egg
• 2 tsp lemon zest
• ½ cup wild blueberries
1. In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a larger bowl, whisk the egg with the buttermilk and lemon zest.
3. Stir dry ingredients into egg/milk mixture until combined. There will be a few clumps remaining.
4. Fold in the blueberries and let batter sit for 3 minutes.
5. Spoon ¼ cup batter for each pancake onto a greased pan or griddle set over medium heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pancake.
6. Serve with more blueberries and maple syrup if desired.