June 30th, 2007 | Digg This
Indy IV in New Haven Day 2
Well, today was interesting in New Haven for many reasons…
I did a solo today, as the kids have been totally turned off to movie making – I believe that they think it is up there with watching paint dry (extremely expensive paint – but boring nonetheless). I watched huge trucks and cranes, setting up lights. I saw the trucks marked Panavision unload equipment and was still pinching myself that these city streets were the same ones I grew up on and used to argue with my friends on what would make a great movie, never thinking I would watch the making of one take place in front of me. A film made by one of the industry’s legendary directors and one of its biggest stars, nonetheless. If you have read my other blogs, you will know by now that I have a special spot for the town I grew up in. I always saw it as diamond in the rough, a well kept secret that out-of-towners never really noticed.
Now, I know I mentioned that my kids found it all boring, but I grew up watching those nerdy “making of” documentaries. The ones where they would show the model makers move the AT-AT Walkers in “The Empire Strikes Back”, or the mine car chase in “Temple of Doom”, one frame at a time – again and again. Months of work for 7 seconds on screen – that was always an example of true professional craftsman and patience beyond imagination. It still doesn’t change watching “Indy IV” being put together. I asked a cameraman if those were digital cameras they were loading and he said no it was real film – and only about 4 minutes of it in the canister. I found that simply astounding! Maybe this a little redundant to any film experts out there, but watching them load the cameras – I must admit I was floored. When you watch all the preparation, the labor force involved, the attention to detail, the hours of takes and retakes, to see it all done for such a brief snippet of time – FOUR MINUTES – it’s no wonder that it takes take after take, months, and years to produce a film! So when you watch a film being made and think it looks easy — you are sadly mistaken!
Today was nicer in New Haven, the weather was cooler, even a bit cloudy, but everyone seemed to get used to having the Indy IV film in town, and traffic – both vehicular and pedestrian flowed smoothly. Chapel Street still had more detailing to the shops, such as gumball machines, shoe shine stands, and pamphlets posted all over, giving it a more authentic feel as the town where the 1957 Marshall College is located.
Old cars went up and down College Street, nothing new. I was hoping that it wasn’t going to be a dullfest, as the kids had experienced the day before, and after an hour I was heading home. On the way back to my car, I saw a bunch of folks gathered around and asked what was happening and they said that Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg were there. But it really looked like a lot of trucks, cables, lights, and folks hanging around drinking coffee at the food tents. Then everyone was pointing at the food tent and sure enough there was the star of the film! Everyone was chattering, “he looks taller than I thought”, “I have to call my wife/husband/kids”, “where’s my camera”. But after a few seconds, he headed off down the street. People were still buzzing, amazed that one of the most successful stars in movie history had just walked by. I started talking with a tall fellow who was watching the excitement and we both agreed it was cool. We started to chat, he told me he was from
Boston and in town for the summer – and how he came down to see the action. We walked and talked and turned the corner and stopped in our tracks to see Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford – wow that was cool times two. Like tourists’ kids at Disney World who just bumped into Mickey and Donald, we took out our cameras. This was really cool, I thought, wait until I tell the kids, they missed it, and I really did see the real Indiana Jones /Han Solo and the man who made “ET”.
Then I realized that everyone was dressed in 50s clothes around us, and we weren’t.
Hmm, that was strange, I hadn’t seen all those extras before, and where were all the people we were just standing around a second ago. I may be a little slow on the uptake, but as my old boss used to say, even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut. And at that moment, I felt really, embarrassed. It was one of those moments in life that you slowly look around and realize that you just did something was not right. I turned to this new acquaintance and said, “did we take a wrong turn”, and before I could get an answer we found out that we did.
Now, at this point in the story, I have to say that all of this blog writing, and reports, have been a great way to share all the excitement happening in New Haven and what a time it has been watching all of this take place. It has introduced me to a huge network of fellow fans, from all walks of like, ages and around the world! Truly, this has been an amazing experience, in just a matter of weeks. As a Marketing Director, I am also well aware of the influence and reach of communication, and have been careful not to reveal anything that would ruin the surprise that awaits fans next May when the go see Indy IV on the big screen. It would be like waiting for a Christmas present for 17 years and have your friend tell you what you are getting months before you open the package – it takes the fun out of it. The foolishness of leaking storylines only hurts the fans in the end. How mad would you be to know that Luke Skywalker’s father was Darth Vader a year before you saw the movie – pretty disappointed, huh?
Further, after reading the emails and comments that I have received, it has been a really eye-opener to see the devotion folks have for these films, to many it is a huge part of their life, similar to Star Trek and Star Wars fans (no offense, to anyone). I always considered myself a big Indy fan, I remember going to see the films fondly, but its not my life – I also like the Yankees, Giants, blues and jazz, the works of Saul Bellow, Raymond Carver and John Steinbeck and more than anything else, spending time with my family. What I have seen from others is far beyond my few posters and trinkets.
I say all this in this blog, because, after I walked away from the street where they were filming, myself and the gentleman I met, were asked to delete the pictures we took, which we fully complied with, immediately. Feeling foolish and realizing how difficult it must be for the production crew on location. For every honest mistake, like ours, there must be a constant set of bozos interrupting them. Hopefully, I am not in that category now – Look gang, the production company is there to work. End of story. You wouldn’t want someone walking in to your place of work and interrupting you all day. They are professionals at work and should be treated with respect. We all enjoy the final product, so let the craftsman work, and don’t get in the way!
Afterwards when we left, we talked to each other realizing how foolish we felt. It was then that my friend called and said the local news crew was looking to do a feature on local fans who had come down to the filming. We waited for the reporter and when he came up he asked us a bunch of questions and asked if we had any stories, if we had seen anyone famous, etc. We went on to talk about what a huge thrill it was to be in New Haven, and see all this, the old cars, the 1950’s storefronts, the fellow fans, and how we had seen some big names.
Do you know what they used to tell that story on the news that evening? How we were told to delete our photos.
None of the good stuff, the positive, just the negative was there. Whenever I conducted print interviews at my job, I always asked for a final review before it hit print – to make sure I wasn’t taken out of context. What was used that evening on the news was exactly what I didn’t want to see – instead of Indy fans rejoice – it was Indy fans bitch about deleted photos. If you watch the link on wtnh.com and look at the Day 2 filming story, you can see that I wasn’t even aware we were really taping, as I casually leaned on the wall, expecting that it was a just a run-through of the questions. I talked about the importance of set secrecy – and why film companies need to protect themselves - and they blended it all together with my glib response.
To say that Day 2 was not what I thought it was going to be – is an understatement.
June 29th, 2007 | Digg This
Creator, Marty Weiss, has sent us in this little beauty showing not only the transformation of New Haven back to 1957 but also footage of the chase scene taking place there. This is a well edited piece, proving to be a great summary of the events so far:
June 29th, 2007 | Digg This
June 28th, 2007 | Digg This
“You and I are simply passing through history. This…, this is history” – Rene Belloq, Raiders of the Lost
June 28th – Well, maybe not up there with World War II or the moon landing, but for us locals, this is historic…the first “Official” day of Indy IV filming in New Haven is here! I say official as there have been many dress rehearsals and filming here and there, but today it was the real deal. The boys, Spence, 9, and Owen, 7, headed out early and got to New Haven (or maybe the town of Bedford, located in Michigan – as one wild rumor was said by a local) around 7:30. The boys and I woke up early and headed out to grab a great scrambled egg breakfast at the Bedford Grill (again, the modern day Copper Kitchen), which like many of the retail shops has been transformed to 1957. Now added to the scenery were stamp machines, scale/fortune telling machines, a Bozo the Clown – “fun-phone”, shoe shine station, and a few new shops. All the shops are still open behind their Indy IV, (or The Untitled Genre Project, as it is called on all the flyers around town – a PG Rated action-adventure set in the Golden Age of 1957 – see no “City of the Gods” or “Raiders of the Lost Dentures”) window dressing – so it is like stepping into “The Twilight Zone” as you travel back 50 years in time at every corner.
A glance down College Street shows vintage cars and trucks from the late 1940s and early 1950s, and then small groups of authentically dressed extras, being led across the green start to appear. One really has to take a moment and soak in the amount of exquisite craftsmanship and detail that has been poured into the sets. The professionalism of the crew, not to mention the local Yale and New Haven Police, who are keeping a watchful eye and making sure that the normal business life in New Haven, goes on amidst the action of Indiana Jones. And yes, oddly enough, a lot of would-be Indiana Jones walking around in costume – kind of like the guys at football games who paint themselves in the color of the team as my son, Owen, pointed out.
Lights, Camera,… Wait….and….Wait………Wait, We look down the street to see a familiar baseball capped, bearded gentleman walking down College Street framing the scene with his thumbs and forefingers – no, it couldn’t be… but it is, the one and only Steven Spielberg! There he was walking down the road, seeing how the forthcoming chase scene will look in his mind.
Now after they cleared the real local traffic, and washed down the streets, and waited for local traffic, again. The scene started. After a few practice runs, and now that the street was “locked down”.. here it was…ready…., lights, …camera, ….ACTION! If you didn’t think Hollywood hadn’t arrived to the Elm City, the black sedans, being pursued by a motorcycle being driven by a 50’s hipster, with an older, scholarly looking professor hanging on for dear life was the clincher! Yes, Indiana Jones was here! Well, his stunts double anyway.
Now, amongst the spectators were cheering fans from around the area, locals who were just trying to get to work around the closed streets, and being the mini-New York it is, a lot of ticked off, New Haveners who could care less! NOTE TO GENRE PRODUCTIONS – When hiring Production Assistants and Day Laborers, get ones who know the area – I helped give directions over three dozen times to lost pedestrians and confused production personnel, and in one somewhat scary situation, calmed a very irate bicyclist who was a little “angrier than normal” when told he couldn’t cross College, due to the filming.
Anyway, watching the chase scene, again, and again, and again, and again… you realize movie making is done by folks with the patience of Saints! A lot of standing by to stand by. Oh well, there is only so much the boys could take. We walked around, had a bite at the Yankee Doodle Diner - great cheeseburgers — and looked around the familiar streets where I grew up, to see what else was going on. Going by Naples Pizza on High Street, we bumped into a few extras and readers of these “Raiders Ramblings” who recognized me and the kids. Another thing about movie-making, especially for extras, is they need to supply air-conditioned pants and skirts – it was about 88 degrees today, but the costumes looked a little warm for summer. I wish I could have got some shots of the gang with the kids, but we didn’t want to get any of these fine folks in trouble. It was nice to talk with actors and fellow fans, lucky enough to get picked – and yes, I agree with you guys – the “Entertainment Weekly – Obsessed Fan of the Week” – may have put me in the reject/fanatic bin –maybe I should have said it was the Obese Fan of the week and I could have got something like Chubby Guy at Bus Station extra. However, the kids were excited, because to them everyone was a famous movie star and it was a treat to say hi to these 1950s looking Indy extras. After we walked away they told me they forgot to ask for autographs! Fedoras off to you guys and gals – keep cool and don’t upstage the leading men and women!
Dr. Jones, The famous archaeologist? Speaking of the lead, the man himself, Harrison Ford, was around the corner in a university building rehearsing a classroom scene with Spielberg. There were lights and reflectors outside the windows and a lot of folks hurrying around. My son, Spencer, who has had Bill Murray wish him “Happy Birthday” when he was 5, and met and received Bruce Springsteen’s guitar pick, waited to see if Harrison Ford was going to come out and shake his hand and sign his Indy action figure he picked up a Disney World last year. I had to gently tell him, that Mr. Ford was a little busy at the moment.
As we walked around the chase scene was going on and on. There was a weird sight in the Yale Commons is a new statue of 10th Yale President Theodore Dwight Woolsey that was being put together near the real one – except this one was missing a head. In fact, he had about 7 heads that were being put together by the craftsman from Paramount. No doubt to be blown up or some devastating event that awaits, similar to the fake Iron Gate on Chapel Street and new wooden doors on Calhoun College. It is now raining out and they have done the chase scene a zillion times, no doubt it will be jam-packed full of celluloid scene magic next May. That’s all folks! As we sit at the table in 1957 McCurry’s Seafood Restaurant on Chapel Street (known as Starbuck’s Coffee Shop in 2007) to write this and take a much need break from the heat, all we can say is “Wow”! Owen wants to go home and make a movie in our backyard with the video camera. He is telling Spencer that he can ride his wagon with our dog, Indiana, in the back and pretend to be chased by the bad guys. That being me – the baddest bad guy Dad in Connecticut!
That is all for today. There are some new pics of the Chapel Street scenery – and construction the fake statue on myspace.com/mitchellhallock – but none of the chase scene – that you’ll have to see at the movies next year! The local WTNH.com and NewHavenRegister.com will have all new video clips and articles everyday – visit them and search for “Indiana Jones”
June 27th, 2007 | Digg This
Well, my sons and I might not have been picked to be some of the 500 extras for the New Haven shoot - but everyone was part of Indy IV on Tuesday night!
The excitement was building, dozens of tractor trailer trucks bearing the name Paramount Pictures, New Haven, CT lined the streets of New Haven, signs and pamphlets from Genre Productions on every lamp post telling about an upcoming chase scene and do not leave bicycles unattended this Thursday, Friday and Saturday as they will be removed, carpenters and painters are working overtime, lamp posts and fire hydrants being repainted, shop windows taking a trip back in time, why? Because Indiana Jones is coming to New Haven!
But before that … it’s Indiana Jones Day in the Elm City and tons of fans, and city residents turned out to take part in the fun all compliments of the New Haven Cultural Events Committee and a little company called, Lucasfilm! For the kids there were face painters, sidewalk drawings, balloon animals, carousel rides, moon bounces, rock climbing walls, and more – all free! And for the adults, food and drink specials, music, entertainment, and contests from the “We Named the Dog, Indiana” (which we won – as that IS my dog’s name – for real) and everywhere you heard John Williams “Raiders” theme echoing all around. We were entertained by the bull-whipping, fire eating and aerial acrobatics of the Aerial Angels!
The local symphonies had a salute to John Williams and played music from the Indy trilogy – and it was capped by what else – a free outdoor showing of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The crowd gathered applauded, after Mayor of New Haven, John DeStefano thanked everyone for coming to New Haven and then the movie started - as the credits appeared, (it was on the screen backwards – but fixed in seconds) and REALLY wild as Indiana Jones entered the screen, after whipping the gun from his turncoat guide. Indiana Jones was back in action once again and the crowd loved it! Across the streets at the offices at Genre Productions, the lights were on and the door open as staff members busily prepared for the upcoming shoot.
I met tons of fans including the fellow who was first in line at the casting call, who was also not picked, but we had a great time and promised to meet up on Thursday and watch the chase scene down College and Chapel Street!
Adding to the Woolworths, news-stand, and men’s clothing store was now a pawn shop (that had a tenor sax in the window – maybe Indy sold his old music instrument to buy a new fedora – fans of the Young Indy Chronicles, may remember last time Harrison Ford played Indy in 1993 – he played one), a bridal/groom shop, a bakery, and more – but the best is Brody’s Barber Shop – is that a nod to the dearly missed friend, Marcus Brody (played by the late, great Denholm Elliot or Sheriff Brody from Jaws). It was nice to see it – maybe Marcus gave up the museum and started cutting hair!
I spoke with a fellow painting the lamp posts with grey wall paper paste – (it looks clean on film and washes away with plain water). He pointed out all the parking meters were down, and hydrants painted grey and black – the Yale doors were being finished before they are wrecked by a truck, too. More construction is going on all night with doors open to old buildings filled with carpenters and craftsman.
Filming on York Street tonight
We were excited to see a sign on a Yale building and a production assistants asking folks to be quiet – it was a film – but we were told it was a Leonardo DeCaprio film shooting and not Indy IV – but they did a chase scene last night according to my “inside” friends.
More to come. Check out the sites and scenes for the great night in New Haven on myspace.com/mitchellhallock and look for more reports this week as me and my kids go down and watch the action!
That’s all for now –