Movie people are staying at the hotel where I work.
I’d seen an article in the weekly county newspaper announcing some folks were in town shooting scenes for an upcoming midbudget movie. I thought maybe I’d see them and their equipment around town, but I didn’t imagine I would see them in the breakfast room.
When I got to work on Tuesday, I noticed a lighting truck in the parking lot, but I didn’t encounter the movie people until Wednesday.
I noticed the man and woman because they were younger (mid 30s, I would guess) than the hotel’s average guest. Also, they were having a heated but quiet discussion. It wasn’t quite a whisper fight, but it could have quickly gone in that direction.
The woman was trying to tell the man something, and he was telling her no and stop. He obviously didn’t want to hear anything she had to say. She persisted.
Isn’t that his job? she asked the guy in a whisper I could hear clearly.
He said he’d already told her he didn’t want to talk about it.
I found their exchange very interesting. This was the first argument I’d encountered in the breakfast room. My ears perked up, but however else the argument may have been resolved, it was resolved quietly.
At some point the woman left the breakfast room, but the guy lingered. He was on his phone later, telling the person on the other end that they’d be shooting later. He named the one bar in town that’s not associated with a restaurant or a group like the VFW or the Moose Lodge.
Oh, I thought. These must be the movie people.
On Thursday the man and woman were back in the breakfast room. Along with them was another woman, the same woman who’d come into the breakfast room the day before after 9am asking for coffee. Luckily for her, there was still some available. I always leave at least one of the big pump dispensers out on the counter even after the rest of breakfast is shut down and put away. She’d asked me if the coffee was good while she made her cup. I lied and told her I didn’t know because I don’t drink coffee. What was I supposed to tell her? I couldn’t very well tell her the truth, which is that I think the hotel’s coffee is weak, more like dirty dishwater than something robust and delicious with which to start the day. I did tell her other people have said they liked it, which is true. She tried a sip and said it was good. I told her I was glad she liked it, which was 100% true.
On Thursday the original man and woman were telling the third woman all about the shoot the day before.
They’d arrived at the bar at 10am. The bar was full of regulars. These weren’t people who showed up to be in a movie, they said. These were people who would have showed up even if there had been no filming involved. The movie people had brought lasagna, but the regulars at the bar didn’t even want to eat. They passed up the lasagna in order to drink.
The women marveled at the thought of preferring to drink alcohol to eating lasagna at 10am on a weekday. I have to admit, I agree with the movie ladies. I’ll take lasagna over alcohol any time of the day (or night).
They were so great, the first woman gushed. Everyone signed release forms.
I guess to movie people, signing a release form is a high degree of cooperation.
We got some great shots, the guy said. Some really great shots.
It was authentic, he said. So authentic. Really authentic.
Well sure. Any small-town Joe or Jill who shows up at a bar at 10am on a Wednesday to drink whether or not there’s a camera crew present is living an authentic life. It might not be the same life I or the movie people have chosen for ourselves, but it’s an authentic life nonetheless.
The movie man went on to tell a story about busting a prop bottle over another actor’s head. It broke as planned, but instead of being filled with water as expected, the prop guy had used actual beer.
It looked great, the man told the women. It was foaming all over the place! He was pleased with the shots they had gotten but had been concerned about the other actor driving later while reeking of beer.
After work I spent the rest of the afternoon referring to things as “authentic.” That rock over there? Authentic. The rickety wooden footbridge I crossed over on a hike? So, so authentic. The water tower against the clouds and blue sky? Absolutely authentic.
Maybe when you spend your days creating fantasy, you forget that most people are living every day right smack dab in the middle of the real world.
I took the photo in this post.