The Publicist:

Central Europe locale proves to be no vacation for film crew

Central Europe locale proves to be no vacation for film crew

Being a film publicist means never having to make your own bed. Location work, especially abroad, is sometimes wonderful, often frustrating, but it always involves hotels. Strange beds, room service, inconsistent internet access, and many a night stuck watching CNN because it's the only English language station available. I'm in central Europe at the moment and for a place that likes to pride itself on being so darn sophisticated and cultured, its residents sure watch a lot of televised darts. Seriously. They watch darts. After a nice holiday break, we've resumed shooting in a fashionable and expensive resort city. Of course, calculating the exchange rate of the Euro gave sticker shock to all the Americans on the crew. Many of my previously indifferent countrymen have taken a new hard look at the federal deficit and Alan Greenspan. And it's not a pretty picture. (I don't mean Alan; he's unquestionably a sex symbol.) A beer and pizza slice can abuse the wallet to the tune of 15 bucks. Room service is a half-day's wages. (Televised dart matches, of course, are absolutely free.) Our production has come all this way for the snow - a crucial element in the film. Wouldn't you know it? There's very little of it. In fact, yesterday was the second-warmest recorded temperature for that date in the city's history. Not good news for an alpine resort that's as famous for its snow as SoCal is for its beaches and smog. Are you kidding me? They had snow in New Orleans this Christmas and we can't get the white stuff in the friggin' Alps? What's going on? Meanwhile, our producers are walking around with incredulous looks on their faces, tourists are strolling along with coats unzipped, and ski-resort owners are doing snow dances around the clock. With time on my hands, I'm taking lots of leisurely showers, which, regrettably, resulted in water seeping through the bathroom floor and down into the room below me - much to the chagrin of an utterly humorless hotel manager. Oops. Hey, don't give me attitude, Mr. Manager. A continent that created the greatest art in the world can't figure out that a shower curtain has to cover the entire side of the tub to be effective? Half a curtain is as effective as a door that's half-closed. Which is twice as effective as our cell phones have been. The global village is, apparently, still in need of a few coats of paint. Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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