Over the past few days I have met dozens of really nice people from the television soap-opera series "Nashville".
About a week ago we gave permission to "Music City Productions, Inc. 'Nashville - The First Season'" to occupy, stage, and film a short scene (maybe 30 seconds?) in an upcoming episode (16) at our home in Salemtown. I can confess that we were a bit nervous having people in and out and having one of our walls altered to fit the scene. However, I encountered people from most of the segments of the production -- location, construction, design, lighting, sound, make-up, director, producers, actors, etc -- and I found them to be gracious and easy to host.
As I told their location manager (who followed up after everyone was gone to make sure that we were completely satisfied), we were so pleased with how the experience turned out that we would welcome them back if they needed to re-shoot something anytime. And I would recommend them to any fellow Nashvillians who were considering sharing their homes as sets. The production company even responded favorably when I asked them to make a $500 donation to the Salemtown neighborhood association as an expression of good will for the disruption of closing the street to film.
Even for an introverted homebody like me there actually were fun experiences across the past few days. Listening to construction people talk about working on other film projects (like the upcoming bio on Jackie Robinson, "42"). Observing designers at their craft. Sitting next to Callie Khouri, wrapped in awe, while she studied the action on a video monitor. Listening to Michael Waxman describe how New York City is different than when he grew up there and how his daughter stops for kolaches on her way back to his Austin ranch from college. Hearing Chip Esten (a.k.a., "Deacon") laugh at our 8-year-old's notes tacked to a kitchen cabinet as he ate breakfast over our stove. Watching another actor, who plays Deacon's romantic-interest-of-the-moment, romping around our backyard with our dog between takes. It seemed all surreal, but entertaining without the show.
As fun as the ride was, it did not change my opinion that Metro government should not subsidize the network TV series. My opposition to giving the production company public money by no means indicates a lack of support for Nashville's film industry. I would like to see many more films and series made here, employing lots of people. However, Nashville the municipality still has budget obligations to the needs of its citizens first, and until the Mayor can fully fund those obligations, production companies should have to make it on their own (and they seem to me to have the resources to do so).
After our positive experience of the past week, I wish I could support subsidizing a TV series. I might have been so inclined if we had a Mayor who consistently put spending for the benefit of the masses ahead of special treatment for the few. I hardly believe that the dozens of hard-working, but considerate folks we met were undeserving of the support.