Location Managers Guild International

Spring 2019

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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A film production has lots of moving parts, like a complex ma- chine thundering toward a finished product. A historic site is similar in that regard, with many shifting elements working to- ward a common goal, although our 'finished' product is never truly completed. Having worked in the entertainment industry for five years before segueing into historic preservation, I walk the line between production and location, ensuring that both the film and historic site benefit from this unique relationship. Recently, a television series shot over the course of five days in four different buildings on the Lyndhurst estate: the mansion, the Laundry Building, the Bowling Alley Recreation Pavilion and the Carriage House Complex. They also utilized multiple exterior locations. I was able to bridge the gap of what they visualized for their scenes and how Lyndhurst could best accommodate these requests to ensure the project's success. I was able to build an awareness and respect among the crew for the irreplaceable architectural features of our buildings, as well as the artifacts housed within. Preservation work is continuous in historic build- ings. As one of Lyndhurst's unique architectural features is com- pleting restoration, another reaches the point of needing renova- tion. The level of craftsmanship needed oftentimes takes longer and is more expensive than typical repairs. When Winter's Tale filmed at Lyndhurst, the crew graciously took care of some repair/restoration projects so that the house looked its best in the film. This included using our chosen conservator to restore stairs to the state bedroom and faux painting limestone and the doors under the port cochere. When a commercial shot on the property, they accidentally damaged some 1860s ornamental plaster, which they repaired per our specifications. We ask production to provide extra protection for our architectural features before filming to make sure that large equipment can be safely maneuvered through historic rooms and hallways. This allows production to do their jobs without worry and provides assurances to the staff. In addition to the buildings and estate grounds, we also allow limited use of collections, furniture and décor as background set dressing for productions in need of period pieces. Production companies agree to our protective measures because filming at Lyndhurst Mansion provides such a distinctive window to the past. A large part of that is the historic décor. While it is an extra step on both sides to work with the art department and director to clarify what can stay and what needs to be safely removed, it's an important one we insist upon. It can be difficult for set decorators to find historically appropriate pieces. Lyndhurst's collection is not only period-appropriate but house-appropriate. This arrangement lets us showcase our collection while greatly facilitating the art department's work. Once filming begins, Lyndhurst stations film monitors in the dif- ferent areas of production to keep a watchful eye. Accidents hap- pen, questions arise, and our knowledgeable staff quickly and appropriately reacts as to not slow down the active shooting schedule. We are positioned to protect the house and its many unique elements but also to help the production crew under- stand and remember that while it is a location for their shoot, it is still a one-of-a-kind historic landmark. The crew on the most recent shoot seemed to enjoy how monitors pepper in informa- tion about Lyndhurst throughout the course of filming. As they grow to understand the inherent value of historic properties, production runs that much more smoothly. At the end of the day, communication is the most important part of the process of having a film production in a historic house like Lyndhurst. From the earliest interest in the site to the moment the last production truck leaves the property, clearly, communi- cating the changes, needs and expectations of both sides of the equation is what makes filming at a historic location work. For us, establishing that rapport early on is critical. We make extra time to listen to what production expects, but to let them know our expectations from them as a museum and historic landmark. Productions might shy away from the extra work required in exploring historic properties as filming locations. But places like Lyndhurst offer a richness and quality that cannot be replicated anywhere else and because of that, we always welcome your interest in filming here. by Emma Gencarelli, Special Projects Assistant, Lyndhurst Mansion THE INSIDER'S PERSPECTIVE I

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