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Tales from the Script



By Judy-Anne Goldman

Even in the industry of make-believe, truth can be
stranger than fiction. Shooting outside of Hollywood can lend itself to better stories than what’s being shot.

“There’s a definite discomfort being on location,” said Production Designer Donna J. Hattin. Hattin’s experiences have ranged from finding a rhinoceros cage while shooting in Florida to being eaten by gnats in Paradise, South Carolina.
“We bathed in Avon Skin So Soft and
Citronella,” Hattin said.

Painting on the U.S. end of JUNGLE BOOK in a small
Tennessee town posed unique problems. Simply finding something to eat was tricky. “EVERYTHING was fried!” Hattin reported. “Even the toast was fried. We were dying for fresh vegetables.”

Producer Danielle Weinstock agreed that location
shoots can verge on the ludicrous. For WHITE FANG II, she and a second unit crew had been helicoptered to the top of a mountain in remote British Columbia to shoot the silhouette of wolves howling at the moon. To get his wolves to perform, the trainer started howling. The wolves were uninterested. “The trainer told everyone to howl to motivate the wolves,” Weinstock said, “We all stood there howling.” The wolves did not reply.

Next, they sent the helicopter back to town to get a tape of actual wolves howling. After several hours, that was a bust, too. “At the end, we shot the wolves with tilted heads to look like they were howling and dubbed in the voices later, “
Weinstock said.

That experience was dwarfed by an independent feature Weinstock worked on in rural Georgia.

“We were shooting in a tiny town outside of Atlanta,” Weinstock said. “It was a rural area, but part of the town had the suburban
look we needed. Behind the houses were fields, but you didn’t get a hint of that from the front. The owner of the picture house allowed us the
run of the property, but asked that we be careful to keep the stable door closed to contain their herd of cattle.

“I was called a few blocks away because there
was a problem at the store parking lot we were
using,” Weinstock continued. “As the crew
guys were parking the trucks, locals started
assembling in the store for a KKK meeting. The crew members were upset by that and a fight broke out. I had to calm down the situation. But I kept getting radioed about an emergency from the neighborhood set.

“I rushed back over to the house to find the
herd of cows wandering around the yards of our “suburbia!” I didn’t know what to do,“ Weinstock said. “I tried pushing them towards their barn, waving things. Finally a local P.A. came up
to me and said, ‘Ma’am, I think I can help.’ He made a strange, cow-like noise. Instantly, all of the cows looked up, began moving into a single-file line and walked back to the barn. It was totally unreal.”

Though shooting on location can be crazy, both Hattin and Weinstock confirm that they appreciate the humor of the situations – later. Weinstock attested, “I can laugh about it… now!”

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