We filmed out at the farmhouse today. The main scene they worked on was the one I opened with in the book–where Rachel (Sarah Lancaster) is trying to talk her three elderly aunts into closing the Sugarhaus Inn. They are reluctant to do so, and try to deflect her request. Finally Bertha (Kelly McGillis) agrees to close down the Inn–under one condition–that if God brings a stranger to their door that needs their help, they will not turn that stranger away. In the background is a wooden plaque with the scripture about entertaining angels unaware hanging on the wall. Rachel (Sarah) is not happy with this and starts to protest, but Bertha (Kelly) stands up and in that perfect Amish accent says “This is scripture, Rachel, and we will not compromise on doing God’s will.”

With that, yet once again, I was clawing in my purse for a tissue,so amazed to hear words I had written come to life.  One of the crew members, a man of faith, came over, gave me a hung and whispered in my ear “We will not compromise on doing God’s will.”  Of course that made me tear up even more. Honestly–in my normal life I seldom cry–but watching these amazing actors is keeping me right on the edge.

Terry Cunningham doing an awesome job directing and is definitely in his element
Terry Cunningham doing an awesome job directing and is definitely in his element

I spent several hours with head phones on this morning, in a crowded, back basement room, enjoying watching the movie unfold on the monitors–while Terry Cunningham, our director, orchestrated the actors’ movements, camera angles, lighting, and the nuances of the actor’s expressions and voices. I notice that he watches every little thing even down to the placement of a drinking glass. For some reason, I had gotten the impression that movie directors wore silk scarfs and French beret’s while stomping around yelling at actors. Instead, our Terry seems to always be in a great mood, wears a baseball cap, quietly instructs and encourages his actors and crew–and then good things start to happen when the cameras roll.

Unfortunately, today was another day with me in front of the camera, too. This was not part of the movie, and it is definitely not something I am good at, but George, the producer, wanted to film me doing an interview. He and the camera man set me up outside the farmhouse so that we would have a beautiful view in the background. Unfortunately, this quiet country farm turned into Grand Central Station the minute we started. We had planes flying overhead, horses neighing, cicadas buzzing, and trucks and cars rattling by on this normally quiet, dirt, road. Oh-and there were the yellow jackets that we had to keep waving out of our faces. I have no earthly idea what I said, but George was kind enough to assure me that they could edit it…..

Did one last book signing in Sugarcreek, then went to hunt up some of my new friends who were filming bits and pieces of the Swiss Festival. As soon as the filming was over,  we scouted out the best carney food together. This is not as easy as it sounds. It required much thought and discussion. Healthy alternatives were considered and quickly dismissed. In the end, a great deal of Reeses Cup funnel cake and Fried Swiss Cheese on a stick was consumed at our table. Four intelligent women, all of us watching our weight, threw caution to the wind and managed to eat enough calories to fuel a truck. I think it was the Polka music playing in the background and the dancing in the streets (not me)  that made us do it.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and the crew all get the day off to rest up. I’m hoping to use the quiet of my hotel room to work on my next book after church.

-Serena

Polka Music Masters at the Swiss Festival Sugarcreek, Ohio(Some pictures of the Polka Music Masters at the Swiss Festival!)

Columbus Swis Singers - 2012(Columbus Swiss Singers Alphorn Player Group – 2012 Ohio Swiss Festival)

Sarah Lancaster and the Sugarcreek Police, posing during the filming of Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio(Our amazing Sarah Lancaster *Rachel* (Follow on Twitter) posing with the Sugarcreek Police force. Thank you Kevin, for all the hard work and willingness you and your team have put into making this movie possible!)

Day five did feel like it started to drag towards the end, partly because we (the extras) were put on standby and were ushered out of the stands. This gave us the opportunity to catch up with one another and groove on what a cool experience we were having. The fire fighters baseball team in the scene truly was the volunteer fire fighters of Sugarcreek. One of Mom’s fans came up to her afterwards asking her to sign his book, but also to thank her for putting Joe on their team, exclaiming “I’m so glad you wrote it with him being on our team, we’d never won otherwise!” It was also a little disheartening to be cheering in the stands knowing exactly which team was going to win! 🙂 My brother Derek kept trying to be the bookie, taking bets on the game claiming that the game wasn’t rigged… Dad summoned his inner pee-wee baseball coaching and started shouting for the players to start hustling and getting their butts down to catch the ball. This was not your typical ball game. At one point they needed to get some close-ups of a real player hitting a real ball being pitched. With one camera at the pitchers mound, behind safety glass and barricaded with protection, and the other camera on a stead-cam armature attached to the main camera guy five feet away from the batter, this poor high school batter was supposed to swing away at the first pitch. Wouldn’t you know it, he hits it, foul tips it, right…into…the camera five feet away from him. To which the guy holding the camera said, “Well, I knew that was gonna happen…” After we all released our grips on our seats from cringing, we realized that luckily, the ball had just hit the frame, and hadn’t done any real damage. Crisis narrowly averted! Tom was definitely his happy-go-lucky self that day, from goofing around in-between takes to making the crowd laugh, he helped keep everyone’s morale up, and made it that much more enjoyable for everyone. Thomas was very energetic, from playing in the gravel, to swinging Sarah’s purse around his neck, he kept busy being a little boy. After we were dismissed from the set because they were done filming and were starting to pack up, we started the long trek home. The journey home takes almost exactly 3.5 hours, and we were five minutes away from being home when one of Dad’s tires just blew up completely. Luckily both Derek and I were driving other cars and we were able to make a safe cautionary barricade around Dad, and we quickly got his doughnut spare on. That’s the whole Friday in a nutshell.

Now as for Saturday, we weren’t there but I have an extended schedule and I can clue you in on what was supposed to happen. From what the schedule shows, they started to shoot the Sugar Haus Inn scenes. They will continue to be shooting a lot of those scenes in the coming days and we won’t really have any new and exciting information about it, so I’m going to put the “Keeping up with The Movie” posts on a short hiatus until we change scenes or something exciting happens. Once again this crew is an amazing group of people and the stories we’re getting to hear about everyone’s adventures into the film industry are truly fascinating.

Best wishes,
-Jacob

lfy_ballfield(Just a nice view of our Sugarcreek High School baseball team coming to grips with their imminent defeat…)

So Friday we moved the production office, base camp and set to the Garaway Athletic Fields (Baseball field) (Google Maps Link) to shoot the incredible scene from the book where Joe gives away his identity during the ball game. The day started off early with people coming in from all over the place. We had extras coming from Columbus, Cleveland, the local surrounding areas and even from Scioto county down south! We had a nice size crowd to fill the stands (to give the illusion that we were there to cheer for the teams) The weather was just amazing, and perfect for an outdoors shoot. About 90% of the day consisted of a high-in-the sky thick fog. Some people would think “How in the world could a foggy day be perfect conditions for a bright and sunny game day scene?” When the lighting crew sets up for a shot, they have to put up diffusers, to diffuse or scatter the light so that we don’t have spot/harsh/concentrated lights being cast on the actors/actresses or scenes which can create unwanted shadows. So instead of having to constantly setup diffusers and reflects to get the light where we wanted it, we were blessed with a natural full sky diffuser. Next thing on the check list, crowd placement. Once you’re placed, its imperative for you to stay locked to that spot till told otherwise. If you start moving around to different seats during the different takes/camera angles, you’ll look like those tires tracks you spot in the background when watching an old western…something just isn’t right and can sometimes distract the audience from the story and feel of the intended emotion of the scene. Now comes the waiting part… you sit when you’re told, you stand when you’re told, you cheer and shout when you’re told, and you pantomime when you’re told…which is a lot harder than you think. Trying to clap and cheer without actually making any noise is quite the challenge. So the main characters of the story come onto set and are placed directly in front of, none other than our very own Kerri D., Annie D., Simon D., Eli C., Adam C., and Kara Jo M. So when you watch the movie for the 4th, 5th, or 6th time make sure to look behind Elise, Rachel and Bobby and you’ll see our very own budding superstars! We had more friends in the stands and I’ll let you play where’s waldo when the movie comes out 🙂 On a side note I’m still not sure what my character was doing, I was wearing a Garaway Pirates shirt, but I was cheering for the Fire Fighters. Not by choice, but I think my character may have been suffering from identity issues. I think all our voices were shot and hoarse by the end of the day. I’ll post more later.

Best wishes,-Jacob

LFY_cropped(Broad view of what the extras saw most of the day)

kerri_annie_LFY_cropped(Annie demanded hair and makeup, what a diva… 🙂 just joking, everyone had a great time and everyone was a great sport about everything!)