I have to admit that Friday, Sept. 24, was the highlight of my more than 40 years residing in Goshen. I was asked to be an “extra” (in the movie business extras are referred to as “background”) in the Hallmark movie slated for filming in Goshen.
I first heard that Hallmark was planning to film in Goshen while I was at a Goshen Village Board meeting.
Nora Martinez, film specialist with Orange County Tourism, came to the meeting to gain board approval for the filming. I was in the midst of a reverie, when my brain was awakened by the word “Hallmark.”
My thoughts scrambled: What did she say? Hallmark wants to film here? in Goshen?
When I realized it was true, I had to cover my mouth to keep from giggling. Yes, I was thrilled. If you’re a Hallmark movie fan, you know exactly what I mean.
Hallmark and food - in that order - helped me get through the worst time of the pandemic.
With so much sad news circulating, Hallmark was a breath of fresh air. I could watch any one, either movie or mystery, and relax. I’d get involved in the story, oftentimes with a smile on my face. I forgot all the current news: number of hospitalizations, no room in the hospitals, people on ventilators, not being able to provide ventilators, etc.
Hallmark: An outlet to endure COVID restrictions
Watching Hallmark, especially the Christmas in July ones, was soothing for my mind and made me focus on happy thoughts, like family, holidays, community, falling in love that made me feel everything was going to be okay.
Realizing that filming here would provide an opportunity to be a part of a Hallmark production was exciting. What I didn’t realize at the time, it also meant work.
I was elated to be chosen for “background” in the movie, but it did mean preparation for the shooting, like filling out forms, sending over a copy of my vaccination card, going for a COVID test, keeping up with emails so I didn’t miss any messages, assembling clothing: winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots, along with a second outfit in case we had to change.
Of course, don’t forget hair and make-up items.
A long day
I arrived at fellowship hall in the First Presbyterian Church, referred to as “holding” at 6 p.m. Some background people had to arrive at 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. That turned out to be a really long day for them. I didn’t get home until 2 a.m.
Much time was spent on hair combing and make-up by movie personnel, as well as a woman who came around and inspected each one’s clothing choices for the filming. I was happy that my outfit of gray woolen coat, dark slacks with red sweater, red scarf, blue and red woolen cap, and white gloves were given a nod of approval.
I felt fortunate that it was a cool evening, so the heavy clothing didn’t bother me.
Plenty of snacks — called “crafts” by the movie crew — were on hand, as well as ice water, soda, fruit drinks. This held us over until we were called outside.
When that time came, we trudged over to the decorated tree, which you’ve probably seen at the Everett monument in Village Park. Christmas decorations were bright, bigger than life, with adorable trailers, one offering cocoa, one candy and one donuts, a total Hallmark setting.
Our job, along with roaming around like anyone would do at a community tree lighting, was to gather at the tree as the “mayor” rang a bell and started the countdown at five; we had to count from four with her and then yell “woooo” and clap when the lights went on.
I always thought so watching this scene many times during a Hallmark movie. But with the crew working to get the best scene, we repeated this many times. I was so thrilled to be in the movie that it didn’t bother me! I enjoyed each time we did it. Also, at this time in our midst were the leading lady and her co-star.
Finally, someone yelled “lunch!” and the crew started shutting down. This was about 8 p.m.
I mentioned to one crewmember that it’s dinnertime.
His reply: “We work six hours and then it’s lunch.”
I wasn’t going to argue as long as I got fed; I was hungry.
So we all trudged back to holding for lunch. We had a choice of chicken, meatball or eggplant Parmesan — tasty and filling.
Our next job was across the street where the crew had set up trees, wreaths and an older pick-up truck with Christmas novelties in the bed.
Again we roamed the sidewalk, going from in front of the Flat-Iron building up to the corner, back down almost to North Church Street, and then browse the back of the building up to Town Hall and back down. Once more the two stars were with us, which made the excursion exciting.
I kept thinking, “I’m in a Hallmark movie.” It reminded me of a sci-fi movie where a person is watching a movie and then is sucked into the TV and becomes a part of the movie.
On the cutting room floor
Time traveled as we walked and finally we went back to holding. As we walked I overheard someone remark about seeing herself lying on the cutting room floor.
I’d bet many of us had the same feeling, but we all did our best fading into the background. We worked, we were tired, and even if I’m cut out of the film, I’m still so happy that “One December Night” was filmed in Goshen.
Would I do it again?
Oh, yes. It’s Hallmark!