Behind The Scenes

I always want to see how movies are made. That’s just me.

I still remember seeing my first “behind the scenes” or BTS footage from Ronin, a movie that starred Robert de Niro, Jean Nero, Sean Bean (he dies), Natasha McElhone and Stellan Skarsgard and I was hooked from then on. If you’ve never seen this gem of an action movie – it’s got one of the best, if not the best, chase scenes ever filmed – definitely check it out!

Original scene from the movie

Tribute to John Frankenheimer fan vid of the same chase scene

(Can I just say I took driving lessons from this movie – down to the bare-knuckled grip on the steering wheel! And the looks of fear on the actors are actually real as heck!)

Alright – where was I? I can’t believe how excited I got embedding those Ronin videos got me – guess it’s been awhile! Now back to the regularly schedule programming!

Anyway, I majored in journalism while in college, with a minor in film and so I’ve had my share of being behind the camera, which I love more than being in front of it. Working as an independent massage therapist in the last fifteen years got me jobs in movie studios and sets, and also during post-production work – settings that often were as varied as giving massages at the offices of producers and directors to set installations such as a “crack” house complete with their peeling wallpaper and boarded up windows and doors.

On location, it meant giving massages inside the actors’ trailers in between takes and to avoid rub-on transfers where their tattoos were painstakingly applied (you get quite creative) although most of the time the actor would just tell me to do what I needed to do. Make-up would touch it up later anyway.

So being on set was like seeing BTS footage, without having to buy the DVD.

For what I really like about BTS footage is that it shows us how the cast and crew really are when the cameras aren’t rolling, when there is no director to yell “Action” or “that’s a wrap!”. I love to see the electricians laying down the miles of wire, or the carpenters and painters doing their last minute touch ups to the set that even when viewed off-screen, look so real to the naked eye. No CGI needed.

These are the people who really make a movie happen. For every actor you see onscreen, there are probably at least about twenty people who’ve made his appearance onscreen possible, and to me, that’s what makes BTS footage so special. It’s the truth behind the illusion that we see, that even when I’ve bought the truth onscreen – hook, line, and sinker – there’s always that part of me who wants to see the man behind the curtain.

And speaking of BTS footage, my favorite has always been those featured on the Lord of the Rings full box set. It’s amazing how almost eight years later, I still remember every single one of those scenes – behind the scenes, that is – in addition to the movie scenes.

As of today, I’ve got a new favorite that ranks up there with LOTR and Ronin. And though it’s quite interesting to see how the mood of The Hobbit is quite different from that of LOTR, I’m definitely liking what I see so far.

Part 1

Part 2

This one is the footage that came with The Hobbit DVD from Best Buy. I got mine through Amazon so I get the footage that Peter Jackson already released last year. But that’s okay.

There’s still the extended boxed set coming up, and I’m definitely getting that when it comes out.

HOWEVER, not everyone is a fan of Behind the Scenes footage – like my hubby. He has become such a fan of Strike Back (Season 1) – at first, because of Andrew Lincoln (hubby is a HUGE The Walking Dead fan) – and then, begrudgingly, of Richard Armitage who is really good in it as John Porter, the SAS man with a conscience.

Hubby says that Strike Back is the perfect balance of an action series. Not too much action, not too much drama. Just right. Serious stuff. He can watch it again and again.

Then I showed him this:

Imagine you're sitting in a helicopter...
Imagine you’re sitting in a helicopter…

To say that hubby was quite disappointed is an understatement. “You just ruined the illusion for me!” He said.

Because that’s what movies really are, aren’t they? Perfectly crafted illusions.

Just don’t show the man behind the curtain. Or the platform with a piece of wood painted green made to look like the helicopter door…

But then I don’t know what hubby is complaining about. What door? All I see are…beautiful biceps. Yes, those are beautiful biceps you’ve got there, Mr. Armitage.