Ready, camera, action! When a film crew camp(s) in your office

Do directors actually sit here
Do directors actually sit here?

Car park becomes film set. Image : © The Writing Business. For a feature article @writingbusiness

All is quiet in The Writing Business-Studio but in a few hours, where I am sitting right now will be a thoroughfare for film directors, producers and crew. People will be on the landing outside supervising lights, audio, cameras, actors will be in the room. With a background and credentials in feature journalism, I can’t resist writing a feature about what happens when a film crew hits a small town. TI always thought this building looked like a film set, even said so here, The Studio Story. I didn’t foresee that a few months later, Rachel Griffiths would be acting a scene in the next room, as the star of NBC ‘dramedy’ series. Camp is being made by BermanBraun and Australia’s Matchbox Productions, about the love and lives of teenagers and their adults, at a teenage summer camp. It is being filmed at the glorious Crams Farm.

“But won’t all that distract you from your work?” people said.

Yes, it has. Hugely. The location team have been calling in for weeks often bringing production designer Steven Jones-Evans, art directors, directors and set designers and I have assisted them in accessing the room, and finding the right people to obtain permission.  TV!  The glamour. The paperwork! The money! Well, let’s not get too excited.

The investment of time and meetings to first find a location then to get a set just right even for the smallest scene is enormous. Even for a name plate to sit on a desk. Clearance has to be obtained to use that name. Then the nameplate has to be made. People assume film companies have limitless budgets. They have budgets like any business.

Rachel Griffiths acting here!

Set for Camp: Weeks of work goes into preparing a set. Image : TheWriting Business © @marianedmunds

Two days ago the room was painted a light green for the shoot. Yesterday the set was dressed. Mahogany officer furniture, and accessories were hauled up the many stairs. Could they have found a location with more stairs? Office plants and photographs of children were placed in the room, signage was placed on the door and window, and the carpet was vacuumed. And amid it all my phone line and Internet was cut. Stuff happens, and it was sorted quickly.

Lisa who was dressing the set felt terrible about it but amid disconnection comes connection. Lisa has worked on Mad Max in Namibia, and Moulin Rouge and very many films in between. It is incredibly hard work, and the crew travel miles, lift furniture, start early, finish late and do it all over again, day after day.

Lisa told me that for her set dressing is character creation. As I have witnessed the set come together I too have started to picture the characters in the scene. It will be interesting to see how close my image  is to the characters who appear here this afternoon.

Marian Edmunds


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