4 Things I Learned Filming On Location
Within twelve hours of wrapping my last episode of Season Three for Girl Meets World, I was on a flight to Denver, Colorado to film the horror movie Hoax where I played Dr. Ellen Freese, a primate specialist enlisted on a journey to discover if Big Foot was real.
It was a whirlwind. Even just booking the film happened so fast. I hardly had time to process the fact that I was leaving the comforts of home and sunny Los Angeles before I was on a plane trying my darndest to get some shut-eye, then sitting in a hotel room chair as hair and make-up transformed my blonde locks to a midnight brown.
I was thrilled though. I had shot on location before, but not in Colorado and not for a full 6 weeks.
As with any journey though, there are learning blocks. And you promise yourself that for next time, you’ll be more prepared.
Well, here are a few I learned…
1. Drink Water!
Seems obvious. Seems silly that I’m even mentioning it. But when you’re traveling and pulling in 14-hour shoots, sometimes in the middle of night, and - wait for it - 10,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains - yea! You’re gonna wanna be hydrated. So drink up!
2. Expect the Unexpected
Again, goes without say. You can use this philosophy in everyday life. But alas, when you’re in Colorado, you never know what you’ll come across. Like, a moose. Or a deer. Or three deer - Walking through your backyard, 10-feet away from you while you jabber away on your phone, completely disconnected to the beautiful site of nature in front of your face. So, I guess instead of "expect the unexpected," my lesson is: embrace change, get off your phone, and enjoy your surroundings.
3. Find Your WiFi HotSpot Now
Now, in complete contrast to what I just said… I mean this one. If you’re in this industry and you're planning on getting any work done on set, you're gonna need to know the wifi.
Cause here’s the thing…I was spoiled. Honestly. We were set up in a beautiful cabin, in a remote location that was a perfect getaway for couples wanting to shut off from the world. It was magical. Until it was suffocating. See, as much I want to believe that I don’t care about what’s happening in my industry, that’s just not the case. At all. This business is all about the who ya know, what ya know and do you know it now. And when you step away from that for a day or two or seven, it could feel great. But as an actor, when you’re filming on location, that is what's called “heat”! Of all the times you want your agent making calls on your behalf, it's when you've got "the heat." Several actors were putting themselves on tape 3 times a day. Two actors booked work while they were out there! It’s a big deal. Ya need to be connected! ...So find the wifi.
Side note. After staying 2 nights at the couple’s resort, we were moved to a log cabin. Close to town. With a wood-burning stove and the view of a river and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Literally Heaven! ...Thank God they had wifi. <<<I know, disgusting.
4. EXPLORE your Surroundings… and then Get Out!
We shot in Denver for 2 days then relocated to Lake City, CO. A very cute, quiet small town with a population of 250 (400 during tourist season). Now here’s a mistake I made. Every Saturday, the crew went to WalMart. It was an hour away in Gunnison, CO. Every week they asked if I wanted to go. And every week, I said no. My surroundings were just too beautiful to justify going to WalMart. However, somewhere around the middle of week 5, things started taking a turn. I would get irritated at little things. Like, for example... when the coffee shop closed at 2:30p but had a sign on its door that it would be open til 3, I was pissed. Or when I really wanted to make a salad, but the market only offered iceberg lettuce for $5.00. I would become irate. Iceberg lettuce is essentially water in the shape of lettuce! Who charges $5.00!?
But nothing takes the cake quite like my reaction to the man who took my laundry out of the dryer at the public laundromat. There were Eight. Other. Dryers. He could have used any one of them. I lost it. And I’m not here to say I'm sorry. Cause I'm not. Fella, if you’re reading this - you shouldn’t have done that. But I will blame my verbal attack on your character on the lack of oxygen in my cabin on the lake. ...It was probably the wood-burning stove.
Next time... go to WalMart.