love-will-find-you-in-sugarcreekSeveral people have asked about getting a copy of the movie, and I promised to let everyone know as soon as I found out. Fox is releasing the DVD, Love Finds You in Sugarcreek next week! (10/7) but it’s available for pre-order right now via Amazon & Barnes & Noble and available for digital download from Amazon, NookiTunes, &  VUDU. The DVD will also have some behind-the-scenes interviews with Kelly, Sarah, Tom, the director, and me. To my knowledge, at least four million people have watched the movie so far on the UP network, and many other countries have picked it up to broadcast on their stations. As I work here in my farmhouse, living a normal life of canning tomato juice and babysitting grandkids, I am astonished that a story I struggled so hard to write will soon be viewed in countries as far-flung as the Middle East. I am very, very grateful to the talented actors, producers, and director who brought that story to life.

Tomorrow, Saturday October 5th, is the last day of filming. Everyone looks forward to this day, but there’s some bitter sweetness to it as well. For weeks everyone has worked together, eaten together, and shared our lives with one another. A movie set becomes a mini-family. Now, with things drawing to a close, we know there are those on this particular set we’ll probably never see again.

The director is hopeful that he’ll have some rough footage put together by tomorrow evening to show us. I’m dying to see it–but have decided to go home a day early. Some things are simply more important than movies……

Today is our baby granddaughter’s “due” date, which is a worry to me. When I came up here for the movie, I planned on simply jumping in the car the minute I got the call to come home, no matter what was going on in Sugarcreek. The crew knew I might disappear at any moment and they understood why. Unfortunately, there was one major flaw with this plan. It is nearly impossible to get AT&T phone service in Ohio Amish country. This has made things difficult for the crew and it made getting a phone call from home very dicey. I’m getting nervous that I won’t even get word that our Meaghan is in labor.

I stop by the filming to let them know I’m leaving, and to greet little ten-year-old Madison Blake who is on the set for the first time. Today they are filming police-station scenes. The one I watch is where, after young Rachel’s father is killed, her Amish aunts come to take her home with them. This is the last scene in which the three aunts will appear. I’ve discovered that it is tradition for the crew to applaud an actor when their very last scene is finished. We all give the three aunts a round of applause–then there is a round of picture-taking in which I am asked to take part. I had not planned on this–and am dressed for a day of driving. Seems I spend my life being a day late, a dollar short, and only about half-ready….but oh well.

My editor for this book, Connie Troyer, actually lives in Sugarcreek about five minutes away and has kindly offered to store “my” Sugar Haus Inn sign for me until I can make other arrangements. I give Connie’s address to Teresa, the girl who helps create all the props, who tells me she’ll have the crew drop it off at Connie’s home. They also explain that they need to have all props accessible in Sugarcreek for about a month, just in case a scene needs to be shot again. I’m coming back up for a book signing in Berlin in November, and will make arrangements to take it back then. (Hey–THANKS SO MUCH for everyone who offered to help me with this!!)

My leaving creates a flurry of last-minute book signings for the crew–some of whom are doing their Christmas shopping for relatives early. Also, I sign a book for the chief of police, Kevin, who–like so many Sugarcreek residents–have gone out of his way to facilitate this movie–and I am able to thank him for all he and his officers have done. (They even unearthed OLD uniforms, no longer in use, to make the “young Rachel” scene accurate.)

I have learned a lot and made memories I will always cherish–but it is time to get back home. Not only do I have a newborn to look forward to cuddling soon, I have another book to finish before January 15th. No more lolly-gagging around a movie set for me!

I do have some general observations I want to make before this blog ends. But this is getting long, and I’ll save the wrap-up for tomorrow.

-Serena

 

Serena B. Miller (Author) - Kelly McGillis (Bertha Troyer) - Madison Blake (Young Rachel Troyer) - Annie Kitral (Lydia Troyer) - Marianna Alacchi (Anna Troyer) - After the final filming of the 3 aunts on the movie set of Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio
Serena B. Miller (Author) – Kelly McGillis (Bertha Troyer) – Madison Blake (Young Rachel Troyer) – Annie Kitral (Lydia Troyer) – Marianna Alacchi (Anna Troyer) – After the final filming of the 3 aunts on the movie set of Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio

Yesterday was cold and overcast, and I had not taken a sweater, so I was chilly all day. Today, I dressed warmly–as did most of the crew–and, of course, it was broiling and sunny all day and many of us spent the day slightly miserable. The yellow jackets happily joined us and added their buzzing, nosy, presence to our party. I was chatting with the chief of police and not paying attention as I started to take a sip of coffee. Someone standing nearby stopped me and pointed out that I was about to inhale the yellow jacket that was exploring the inside of my cup.

Marianna Alacchi playing Anna in Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio
Marianna Alacchi playing Anna in Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio

My favorite scene today was when Chloe (Joe’s uppity agent from L.A.) verbally lashes out at Aunt Anna (who has the mental capacity of a child) and hurts Anna’s feelings. Marianna Alacchi (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) who is the actress portraying Anna, does a wonderful job portraying a mentally-challenged adult. Joe defends Anna and tells Chloe to never talk to her like that again. One of the reasons I love this scenes is because the script-writer includes a great pay-back on the part of Anna later on in the movie.

Other members of the cast include:
Annie Kitral (Jack Reacher, “Judging Amy”)
Nicole Badaan (Born to Race: Fast Track, Bigfoot)
Ken Strunk (Promised Land, Secretariat)
Greg Violand (“Miracle Dogs”)
Jeffrey Grover (Made in Cleveland, Compliance)
and newcomers Katherine Deboer and Madison Blake. A really nice ensemble.

Yesterday, I met Madison Blake, who will play ten-year-old “young Rachel” in a scene later this week (the one at the bank where Rachel’s father gets shot trying to stop a bank robbery.)  Madison is absolutely adorable and looks like she could easily grow up to look just like Sarah Lancaster. Yet once again, great casting. This is her first movie and she’s all excited. Her mom is warm and outgoing and thrilled for her daughter. It was a special moment in the book store when I met her. I was busy signing books, glanced up, and there was this sweet little girl holding her book out for me to sign.

Oh, and I was chatting with the news anchor extra who rudely interrogates Joe in the movie and I discovered that he really IS a news anchor in real life whose station is allowing him to take the time to have a part in this movie. He’s a good-looking guy with a nice sense of humor about the part he’s playing.

Sarah and Tom had a scene in a corn field that involved several takes and camera angles. I was struck once again at just how much sheer physical and emotional endurance their work takes.They stood, in the hot sun, for take after take, patiently repeating their lines. Putting emotion behind each line, time-after-time.

Sarah and I were talking later about costumes, and how much she starts to dislike each one, no matter how much she loved it at first, after wearing it day-after-day for filming. I told her that in a way, I understood how she felt. After working and reworking a manuscript there comes a moment when I’m so sick of it, I just want to burn it.

It strikes me how easy it is to underestimate other people’s work. The only thing I’ve ever seen from actors is the final product. Now, I have a very small inkling of what it takes. It’s amazing how many hours of excruciating and repetitive filming it takes for just a few seconds of cinema.

Tomorrow we set the Sugarhaus Inn on “fire.” I can’t wait.

-Serena

Building almost finished for the fire scene love finds you in sugarcreek ohio
Building of the mock portion of the house is almost finished for the fire scene tomorrow!