We find out some interesting backstories from everyone around the office and turns out our traffic coordinator Nellie worked on a super cool indie horror flick that’s received some major recognition lately. The film, titled It Follows, was shot in the Detroit area and focuses on a girl who’s stalked by a sexually transmitted ghost.
With some digging, Nellie pulled up a page from her diary to give us a glimpse of what life was like on set.
I finished the feature ‘It Follows’ early Thursday morning after working from 4pm the day before. I’m pooped. But I had such a fun time working on this movie. I always feel like I’m leaving summer camp when a feature wraps… You work and play with this weird group of people for 5 weeks, and then when it’s over you hug them goodbye and hope you see them next year.
To answer the question which is asked of me all the time by people who don’t live here, “Why Detroit?” My response is simple: I love this city. I love the Midwest.
Nellie on set. Credit: Nick Huynh
Four years ago all I wanted to do was get out of this place. But the film industry is growing in my home state, the people that I meet on set I get to work with time and time again, and they’re passionate about what they do. That’s exciting to me! I’ve been able to meet people fairly quickly in the industry who want to see me succeed. Believe me it’s hard to find someone who is willing to take a chance on you and also has only good intentions for you in the film world (or anywhere really). I’m not ready to settle down here quite yet, but for right now I’m happy to be living in Detroit.
Our location was CRAZY the last day. It was at the old Packard Plant in Detroit, which used to employ a large chunk of the city. It’s been abandoned for years, and the place is falling down. Graffiti lines every inch of the walls, and large pieces of the exterior look as though they’d been ripped out by Godzilla himself.
Nellie posing with the principle cast of ‘It Follows’.
We shot on the third floor and the wind was bone-chillingly cold. Lucky for me I have a coat fit for the arctic I wear for nighttime exteriors. It’s not very fashionable and without a doubt doubles as a contraceptive, but it’s like the tropics on the inside. Even when it’s snowing. I felt bad for our actress who had to be in a bra and panties the whole time. My boss called over the walkie for me to remove her coats and blankets when they were ready to shoot. I felt like such a dick. But she was a trooper, and hardly ever complained.
The most soul crushing moment I had on this show happened on Halloween. We were shooting at a pool in a high school. The scene called for appliances to be thrown into the pool as to ‘kill the It’. When the appliances were pulled from the pool to reset for the next take it was my job to dry the pool deck so it didn’t look like we had just pulled a toaster out of the pool. Oi.
Now mind you, it was Halloween. So I was dressed like Mary Katherine Gallager (Superstar) from SNL ala Molly Shannon. I even had knee socks. I was the epitome of professionalism. I had really thought about my costume, and was worried about wearing a skirt to set. But I did not anticipate drying a pool deck on my hands and knees in a catholic schoolgirl outfit IN FRONT of CAMERA and being projected on multiple monitors across set. It was pretty embarrassing. But I did get a lot of compliments on my costume that day. I wasn’t the only one dressed up. There’s nothing quite like seeing a grown man dressed like a bumblebee to remind you imagination and play doesn’t end in adulthood.
The PAs getting together between shots. Credit: Nick Huynh
I even made some real life friends on this show. All of the production assistants really bonded. Our first and second Assistant Directors who originally hired all of the PAs quit after the first week. Which was awful, but we managed to stick it out.
Regardless of all our challenges, we PAs really stuck up for each other and helped each other out. It’s kind of unique to work a 16-hour day and want to have a beer with those people afterwards. I think I made some valuable contacts with people who I could really see myself working with again in the future.
Hope you enjoyed my update!
And that’s a wrap.