Saturday, July 24, 2010

Filming at Old Westbury Gardens

Well we (actually a production company--in this case Warner Bros.) just completed another motion picture filming at the Gardens. In this case it was a two-day exterior shoot for the upcoming remake of Arthur (scroll down the link to read the studio's press release), starring Russell Brand and Jennifer Garner. (The photo shows two of the horses used in the a scene featuring Ms Garner and Mr Brand horse riding in the South Lawn and Allee.)

Since 2001 I've been the person responsible for coordinating commercial photography, and all the various shoots are beginning to combine in my mind. The first big project for me was the 2002 filming scenes for an episode of Sex and the City. As anyone who has seen a film production they are rather uneventful--just very tedious. The OWG's staff responsibility is to ensure that the crews follow our guidelines and procedures--essentially ensuring that the property and its collections are not damaged. I like to compare being selected as a location to winning a beauty contest--it is really just a look the producer, director and art director are looking to convey to the film goer.

Exterior shoots are always much preferred as trying to shoe horn a crew of up to 100 people associated with the filming of a scene inside Westbury House can be quite a challenge because as our standard location agreement with the production company states:
Producer acknowledges that the contents of the premises, including without limitation, the furniture, statuary, decorative arts, carpets, paintings, lighting fixtures and any other personal property of the Owner (the “collections”), constitutes a collection of preeminent importance in American history and culture.

We insist and encourage other sites like ours that the production company use our location agreement based on recommendations by the National Trust for Historic Preservaiton.

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