It just happened on the set of A Christmas Snow. It happened on Greyscale. Actually it always happens on movie sets: a random and eclectic mix of never-seen-in-real-life individuals morph over time into a movie family. Sometimes, if you're blessed, a family that loves being together, sometimes not. Sometimes the families are the very picture of dysfunctional, but always a family. The family that congealed around the camera of Treasure Blind was one of those special, warm and wonderful examples. It's not that we had no conflict or disagreement, but even in the pressurized environment of too many locations, too little time, missed assignments, or untimely complications, the cast and crew of TB was a true source of joy for me. There were timely hugs, words of encouragement, prayers, and smiles. Always smiles. When it was over, we all missed the strength of those smiles every morning. I reflect on the delight of that shoot often, and when I do, I always think about two smiles I miss most of all. Two eternal souls that added their talent to this project enthusiastically and tirelessly, not knowing it would be their last.
Scotty was a behind the scenes guy. He had no experience making movies, but he was a true friend who sincerely wanted to lend a hand in any way he could. He was an extra for us at the church service and spent his day sitting on a boring set, singing a hymn over and over about a hundred times, and trying to act like he was enjoying the "service". He did so with never a complaint. Scotty was also instrumental in getting two brand new Crown Victoria taxis to the set for the last scene. But mostly, we all remember Scotty for his great hamburgers. For a special treat after weeks of shooting, Scotty towed a huge grill behind his car to the set and spent hours in the heat grilling his special recipe into many pounds of ground beef. Let me tell you, burgers never tasted so good. Cast and crew scarfed them down one after another and Scotty kept 'em coming. It was a much appreciated gesture of love from this part of the TB family. Scotty was found dead in his home some months later. Now I wish I could say "thank you" one more time.
The other smile I'll always miss is Bill. Bill and I go back many years. We met on an industrial film where he was my boss. I made him my boss in my movie too. It just seemed right. Over the years we've worked together many times, driven together to out of town auditions, spent evenings at one another's home, guest-taught one another's acting classes, and shared the joys and heart aches of life. I'll never forget the phone call: I was at church on a Wednesday, the week of Christmas, 2007. "They say I've got lung cancer." I prayed for my brother over the phone while pacing the church's parking lot. I watched him get worse quickly over the next few weeks. I cried with him and his dear Wanda. We prayed together many times for healing and more time, but God had ultimate healing in mind in his perfect time. Before January was over, my friend Bill was in heaven. I miss him.
These members of my "Treasure Blind" family I'll see again one day, but never on another set. I needn't bother writing a part for Bill into the next script. He won't be there. We won't hear the encouragement and enjoy the refreshment Scotty offered after a hard day of shooting the next one. But I'll never make another movie without remembering these two brothers. And I'll never make another movie without realizing that it might be the last project for any one of the cast or crew... or me. Because of that, I hope I'll take more time to appreciate each set up, each line, each scene, each burger, each smile, each hug, and each unique member of my movie family. I hope you do too.