by John Manulis, Producer of “Believe in Me”
Editor’s note: The producers of “Believe in Me,” a film about a 1960s Oklahoma girl’s basketball team’s run at the state title, will write a daily diary in the Clovis News Journal until filming ends in Clovis later this month.
For me, the “magic of the movies” applies to more than just the incandescent, flickering images that captivate audiences in darkened theaters. It is also a state of grace that exists inexplicably among a community of people dedicated to a single, focused endeavor.
While movie-making is fundamentally a 20th-century industrial process, there are moments where the power of that spiritual community shines through … as was evidenced in our big basketball shoot over the weekend at Portales High School. Brandi Engel, who landed the attention of two casting directors in Hollywood and a role in this film just a week after moving from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, sprained her ankle during a take. But, she’ll only be laid up for a few days — amazingly, the same days that her character, Candy, shows up in the story in a leg cast.
And in a heart-stopping event that none of us on the production team have seen in our many combined years in the business, Harland Espeset, our dolly grip (the person responsible for rolling the thousand pounds of camera dolly with camera, camera operator and first assistant cameraman onboard), tripped over our another photographer who was crouched inches too close to the dolly track, and lost control of the dolly, which continued down and off its track at significant speed on a crash course with the gym wall.
The hurtling dolly were stopped mere feet from a potentially disastrous crash by three grips who materialized miraculously from a corner of the gym.
In the midst of the long hours and hard work it’s nice to reflect occasionally on the magic behind the movies.
• • •
Following up on the drama of the stolen basketball shoes, our wardrobe team was able to scrounge up more old-style basketball shoes, in sizes that fit our girls, so, once again, the show did go on.