On Location

(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 14)

I don't get too star-struck.

In fairness, maybe I do...but I don't seek out stars to strike me all that much.

I guess maybe instead I should say I rarely get star-struck.

Because when I met Sara Bareilles I was certainly star-struck.

And if I ever met Billy Joel I'm sure I would be overwhelmed.

True story: This must have been in 2006 when Mets tickets went on sale, they had members of the '86 Mets there to meet fans and I decided not to go because I was paralyzed by the idea of meeting my childhood heroes.

So I think it's fair to say I don't have much of a desire to seek out stars and interact with them.

But this week there was a movie being filmed in my neighborhood...and I didn't avoid it completely.

OK. So here's the deal. The yellow signs above are all over our neighborhood, directing trucks to parking lots that serve as Base Camp and Catering, and there are other signs pointing to the Set. Here's what Base Camp looks like, in case you're interested:

It only occurred to me later that there were a bunch of trailers there (not pictured) that probably serve as the dressing rooms for the actors in between filming. I think it was that rack of clothes you can kind of see in that picture that made me think about that. Maybe that's wardrobe and the clothes are left in the dressing rooms for the actors. I don't know.

The movie they're filming is 'Daddy's Home 2', with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. I remember when 'Daddy's Home' was out - was that last Christmas? There were a lot of commercials for it. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you that I didn't see the movie.

Anyway, this is nothing new. They filmed a couple of scenes in 'Ted 2' down the street from me. (This is a literal "down the street" from me. Like, I could walk out my door and about a New York City block away is where they were doing the filming. Not to be confused with a Massachusetts "down the street", which my wife pulled on me when we were first dating. We were at her parents' house and she referred to somewhere we were going that was "down the street" and then got in the car and I was confused why we would drive to something that was so close. And it was like 5 miles away. That's not "down the street".) And they are always filming something in my parents' neighborhood in New York - there are always signs up that a street will be closed for filming, and there are catering trucks all over the place down there.

In New York I have no strong desire to see the filming happen. (And here I did not check out the 'Ted 2' filming when that happened.)

But on Wednesday people were talking about how the filming had started, and the stars were all there - they mentioned Ferrell, Wahlberg, John Lithgow...I forget who else. And I had nothing to write about in the Sunday Paper for this week, so I figured I'd take a walk on Thursday and scope things out.

I'm not so interested in seeing the stars. But I do want to know everything about the process. The yellow signs seem excessive - can't the trucks punch an address into the GPS and find where they need to go? Or is it a signal to the neighborhood and people like me that, "Hey, we're in your town and we're filming a movie!" Actually, everything seems excessive. The catering set-up, the number of people and vehicles involved - seems like a lot of moving parts. But I guess the idea is to make everyone comfortable working in an unusual environment...no wonder movies cost so much to make.

But I wonder too where everyone stays. Crew, I'm sure, would be housed in trailers or local hotels, I get that. But are the actors in a Framingham hotel? Or do they stay in Boston and drive the 30 minutes to Framingham every day to shoot? Why did they pick now to shoot here? (I know they are shooting in the middle schools in town over April break but did they just take advantage of a not-rainy couple of days to do the outside shots? I don't remember hearing that the filming was starting so soon.)

I find it all pretty interesting. As I walked on Thursday I saw a lot of activity at each of the parking lots. Either things were happening or they were getting ready to happen. But I'd seen what I needed to see.

As I was finishing my walk there was a low-flying plane overhead...not far from where they did the shooting on Wednesday. I wondered if there were cameras on the plane and if that was what all the activity was about.

And...guys....if that plane was filming....I might be in 'Daddy's Home 2'.


*Found an expert I need to interview for the story I was assigned last week, so that was a relief. That's kind of my biggest hurdle with these writing assignments. I'm always confident in myself that I can meet a deadline and produce quality work. But when I need to rely on someone else's schedule and getting information from someone else - that's when I get anxious about getting all of that done enough before the deadline that I can then write what I need to write. I need to have this article in by the middle of next week...I think I'm in good shape.

*My last assignment for this company was about the Presidency. I think I wrote about this before - I did summaries of many of the presidents for this magazine. I never know where these things get published, but apparently this magazine was released in newspaper deliveries last week, and the editor told me it was out in Florida, and I found out it was even included in last week's Worcester Telegram! So there might be a pretty good chance, if you're local, that you'll come across my president bios.


*Had a good week. Monday night in Portland was great. Portland has a great comedy scene, and Monday's show had a nice crowd and I did my 20 minutes. It was only the second or third time I'd done a set that long, and this one felt different. I actually ran out of time...I don't know if it was because I mis-timed my practice or just because I let the laughs breathe in between jokes, but it went really, really well. The other shows this week were fun too. I just like getting the chance to get up and perform.

*Whoa. April already? Better start promoting the heck out of these shows: On Friday, April 14th and Saturday, April 15th I will be the opening act for Steve Sweeney's One-Man Show "Townie". It's in Framingham at the Amazing Things Arts Center. A bunch of you have told me you've bought tickets and that's so nice of you. Thank you. I would put this in the category of, If you've wanted to see me perform and haven't been sure what would be a good time to do it....this is the one to come to. Ticket information can be found at this link. (Also: My friend Kathe Farris is headlining the open mic at Amazing Things on Wednesday night, April 5th. Now, under normal circumstances I wouldn't send you to an open mic even if I was headlining. But, first of all, Kathe is funny and an awesome mentor to a lot of comedians in the area and I would love to see people support her. And secondly, someone at the show can win two tickets to the Steve Sweeney show...so it might be worth your while for those two reasons. OK. That's way too much promotion for an open mic. But I think it's more of a "Kathe and the show I'm on" promotion.)

What I've Been Enjoying 

*Of course I'm excited for baseball season starting this week...but since I'm not in the sports blogging game anymore I don't make pre-season picks like I used to do. (Not that it matters, since the Mets are once again contenders and when they're a good team I can't not pick them to make the World Series.) I was reminded, though, thinking about my pre-season picks this week, that in 2010 I nailed the pre-season picks. I picked the Rangers-Giants 2010 World Series back in March, when no one had either team on their radar. That link there takes you to my reflection on my preseason pick on the eve of the 2010 World Series. (It also looks like the RealClearSports Blog page is messed up...I hope it doesn't go away, taking away evidence of the only time I've ever correctly predicted anything.) There's also a link to an interview I did on a friend's website talking about the pick, and the link back to the original picks.

I got nothing out of this correct prediction, for what that's worth. The next couple of years I had a run of decent picks - and even put preseason money on one pick when my wife went to Vegas - the Brewers when they got to the NLCS but lost to the Cardinals. So close! But I've never again come close to being as right about anything as I was Giants-Rangers in 2010.


*One of the nice things about my current work situation is I can make an effort to schedule work around things I'm interested in doing. Like the opening Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament...or Opening Day. But, like a dope, I scheduled a meeting smack dab in the middle of the Mets opener on Monday. So...I'm rooting for rain. Tuesday is wide open, and I can watch the game then. I know that affects thousands of other people who might have adjusted their schedules to be able to go to the game on Monday and not Tuesday, but that's the risk you run when they decide to open the season in the cold weather cities. So rain it is. And to be clear - I don't care about the Red Sox - rain in New York early and then Boston late, after the Sox are done is fine with me. OK. Glad we hashed that out.  

*I have no earth-shattering baseball predictions for you this year. All I'll say is that if the 2017 season doesn't end with the Mets winning the final game of the World Series, I'll be pretty disappointed. Well, I should specify: More disappointed than I have been each of the previous 31 years when that situation has played out.

*Turns out "Daddy's Home 2" also filmed in the western part of the state recently, and there will be filming days in Concord, among other places, in addition to the April break school filming back in Framingham that I mentioned above.

*I find myself wondering if Framingham becoming a city makes it more likely, less likely, or no change as far as movies filming in town (city). I guess we'll find out. I have a feeling this is going to be a tight vote. Make sure you get to the polls on Tuesday and have your voice heard on the issue, Framingham friends!