THE PUBLICIST: No film production is complete without a sufficient wrap party

A camel stood next to the entrance - always a good sign at a party. And this was going to be some party. After several weeks of night shooting in Wisconsin, preceded by weeks of toiling in Louisiana's humidity, our crew was ready to cut loose, Mediterranean style.

A camel stood next to the entrance - always a good sign at a party. And this was going to be some party. After several weeks of night shooting in Wisconsin, preceded by weeks of toiling in Louisiana's humidity, our crew was ready to cut loose, Mediterranean style.

Wrap parties are obligatory on nearly every movie. They often serve as a forum in which to get sufficiently tanked and tell the people that you've worked with for 12 hours a day for the past three months what you really think of them. "I love you/I hate you." These finale fetes always seem to adopt the personalities of the star and director - in our case, Bernie Mac and Charles Stone (Drumline), which means this thing was going to be off the hook. Two cooler, more decent guys you'll likely never find on a film set, or anywhere else. In fact, this was the first project I've worked on were there were no raised voices. No spats. No petty politics or petulance. It was, quite honestly, a bit freaky. Coming off my last assignment, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the tranquility here was...unsettling. "What is this?" I wondered during the first weeks of shooting, "the Stepford Filmmakers?" I waited for the proverbial loafer to drop. It never did. The good vibes kept up through the heat, long nights, insect swarms, and sleep deprivation. There would be no sleep on this celebratory night, what with camel rides, a gaggle of belly dancers, a fortune-teller, open bar, video projections, and yummy Middle Eastern grub. Photos of cast members graced a large screen in the front of the cavernous room, providing ample mockery opportunities. We swapped stories about the shoot, shared the dance floor with the Mac man and company (Bernie has some moves, let me tell you), and chatted with the belly dancers between hip swivels. (FYI: They prefer the term "Middle Eastern dancers.") It's a bittersweet experience, bidding booze-boosted emotional adieus to your coworkers - a surrogate family that suddenly breaks apart and scatters to the four corners. We promised to stay in touch, e-mail regularly, and visit when we are in town. "Don't forget me, please." But these gushing sentiments rarely survive the light of the next day, which was already encroaching as we staggered toward the exits. The camel, unmoved by our fond farewells, appeared to spit at us on the way out. And that, my friends, is a wrap.
  • Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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