Essay about A Meditation on Film Scouting

Submitted By Petetwentworth1
Words: 903
Pages: 4

It is a dirt road usually behind a well maintained wooden gate, just off a barely paved back road somewhere between Georgetown and Beaufort. Passing through that gate, the road, which I suspect is kept purposefully in disrepair to ward off skittish trespassers and impatient adventurers, snakes, not like the reptile but more like a plumber’s auger, through symmetrical rows of new growth pines, shallow primeval bogs, a near-hidden pond or dammed creek and green-blankets of predatory vegetation finally revealing a house off way in the distance – no to your right through the orchard, patrolled by a herd of ostriches a lost battalion of emus, or possibly some Government subsidized bison until the final stretch, now chest high grass that makes a “shisssssshhhhhhh” ing sound – like a phantom librarian – demanding your respect of this place the reprimand continuing until arrival upon the shorter grass of a once manicured lawn that like exhausted tongues, point out derelict cabins, until, just a little further now, the main house where a bevy of SUV’s are parked pell-mell before a cupping hands staircase in mid restoration.
My geography is, deliberately vague, as my admittance was based solely on commercial exploitation, which in many cases is backed up by an agreement not to disclose anything about the product exploited. The clients shooting cigarette commercials were the first with this little bit of legal business before we get started – less anyone mistakenly think a slender model dressed in black spandex with a Victorian era parasol was glamorizing smoking while she paraded these grounds. This composite is my favorite place because it fuses the giddiness of discovery, with the delight of a page turning mystery. The story of this place has a glorious beginning, a second act of epic decline peppered with juicy exposition – usually offered by the groundskeeper who meets us upon arrival. The history is always incomplete – ending mid final act when the property changed hands to the current owner s whose wealth is as mysterious as Jay Gatsby, and offered in a whispered incredulity that all this was purchased with money made supplying filling stations with energy supplements.
The unfolding of this mysterious compound plays like a game of five card draw – regardless of what cards are face up – it’s the ones facing down that tell the most interesting part of the story. When was it built? What was the source of their prosperity – Rice, Indigo, Cotton – or all three. When did it change hands from the original owners – who bought it from them?
I’ve returned here over the years in search of an exotic setting for a reality show, a horror movie, an adaptation of a Truman Capote Novella, and a print campaign for a cigarette company. If the main house looks anything like Tara, the visit is short – thus this location has enough unique, or unexpected features that it can be photographed to emphasize almost anything without upstaging anything. The memories of previous shoots here is a surreal moebius strip – twisting in on itself and weirdly ending at the beginning. The a memory of a Civil war re-enactor - bayonet mounted to eviscerate breaks rank as he steps in a cow pie with newly cobbled period authentic shoes costing $200.00, and I realize its exactly the place where a brazier model in some boeing designed lift up number posed only two years ago – who, by my modern assessment looked far more menacing…