Why Do They Film Summer Movies in January?


On set photos Gallows Road

It was 47 degrees today. So of course my wardrobe included shorts. But I had a great time on set!

One of the first things I ever filmed was an American Heart Association “industrial” (training) film about the dangers of heat stroke. It was in December, and we were all in shorts, and then in the swimming pool. (At least it was a heated pool.)

A few months later, I filmed a TV pilot where I was running through the woods in a heavy wool coat, fur hat, and scarf. It was 78 degrees that day — but they wanted us to have red noses and cheeks from the “cold”, and that was easy because we were so hot!

This weekend, I was an extra on a movie called Gallows Road.  We arrived on the set around 9 a.m., after an 8:30 a.m. call for wardrobe. When you work as an extra, they tell you (generally) what to wear, and you show up with several choices that you show to one of the wardrobe assistants or art directors, who points and says, “This, that, and this.”  The wardrobe lady looked at the blue jeans, cowboy boots, cowboy hat, khaki shorts, polo shirt and ball cap, and pointed to the shorts, polo shirt and baseball cap. It was 47 degrees and very windy.

After about an hour, I couldn’t feel my legs. We got to keep our jackets on during rehearsals and when we were standing around, but my jacket didn’t cover my legs. Then, after lunch, they had us change clothes for another scene — and this time, they wanted me in boots and jeans. The temperature by then was up to 59 degrees, but the wind still made it kind of cold.

Kevin Sorbo and Kameron Badgers

Kevin Sorbo was so nice! He had a plane to catch, but he stopped to pose for pictures with kids before he left.

I think the main reason they film summer movies in January is because they they have to shoot when they can get the lead actors they want. A lot of the lead actors are so busy, and they travel so much, that the directors have to make the schedule work around the actors’ other commitments. Gallows Road stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Soul Surfer, etc.), and he has 8 movies coming out in 2014, and is already at work on two more.

The other main star in this movie was Ernie Hudson (Ghost Busters, Miss Congeniality, Oz). He’s got six movies coming out this year. After I got home tonight, I watched Ghost Busters with my grandpa — it is so cool seeing a movie where you can say, “I met him! I was in a movie with the actor who played Winston!” Wouldn’t it be cool if somebody said that about me someday?

Anyway, everybody on the set was super nice. Kevin Sorbo was headed to the airport (I was there on the last day of filming for the movie), but he took time at the end of the scene he was in with us to pose for pictures with extras. So did Ernie Hudson. The director, Bill McAdams Jr. was very nice, too — he is in the movie, besides being the director and writer.

My friend Dakota Buchanan was one of the principal actors on this film, and it was nice to see him for a bit today, too. He’s leaving town for several months to work in LA, so I won’t see him for awhile. He is always nice, and he took time to introduce me to some of the other kids who had been working on the film for awhile.

So even though I was cold, I didn’t mind much. I do wish I had been running around, though. One of the scenes I was in has a bunch of extras listening to a speech before we walk slowly into a store that’s opening. In the other “summer movies” I was in that filmed in the winter, I was moving around a lot more, and that helped keep me warm!

Gallows Road Set Photo

Ernie Russell (in the blue shirt) and Marcus Mauldin (in the red shirt) play the Collins brothers in the film Gallows Road. I’m also in a red shirt, walking with another extra during one of the scenes. It was so cool to come home and watch “Ghost Busters” and think, “I was in a movie with the actor who plays Winston!” He was very nice, too.

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