Thursday, March 25, 2021

It's the people you don't see onscreen who make your favorite movies and TV shows possible

It is important to establish at the outset that I am anything but an expert on this topic. Only through strange and varying circumstances have I had the chance to look behind the scenes at how Hollywood really works.

I have visited the sets of exactly two movies and maybe a dozen television shows in my life. I've met some of the stars of these shows, and for what it's worth, they were almost uniformly polite and pleasant people.

But even Isomeone who can generously be described as "unobservant"could immediately tell that the real heroes of these productions are the people whose names you ignore in the end credits.

The prop masters. The gaffers. The production assistants. The carpenters and electricians. The craft services people.

The whole edifice rests on the labor of these folks. And trust me, they do labor. A lot.

The hours they spend on set are long, sometimes hard, and usually boring.

From what I can tell, none of them is getting particularly rich. And as much as some complain, they keep coming back for more because they love it. They love being part of this crazy industry.

One time I got to watch the cast and crew of the show "Modern Family" shoot an outdoor scene that took place at a carnival. They rented out a local park and set up real carnival rides and booths. All of this work, I was told, had happened overnight.

Who do you think handles this stuff? The stars? You think Ed O'Neill was out there erecting a ferris wheel at 3 in the morning? He was not. It was a bunch of people whose identities you will never know.

Speaking of that ferris wheel, I enjoyed the fact that there were mannequins in every seat to make it seem (from a distance) as if real people were riding it. Stuff like that is common in movies and TV and, for my money, is so cleverly done.

Anyway, I have no point today other than to suggest that, the next time you're binging some show on Netflix, you should pause the credits and read the names of these real people who did the real work to make your show come to life.

They are, in my limited experience, a jaded lot with dark senses of humor. They are the complete opposite of star struck. Indeed, they pay no notice to the actors on set. At best, they treat the talent like co-workers. At worst, those pretty boys and girls who can't get their lines right or hit their marks on time are the reason the whole crew is going to have be on set until well past midnight again, and they are rightly resentful of them.

They are, in short, my absolute favorite kinds of people. God bless them all.

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