Molly Fisk: Movie Snow

16125524173_2854b6dc54_z“Snowy Main Street.” Photo by Jess Buttery via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

This morning I woke up to the kind of vivid bright light that only comes from a snowstorm. Four inches of fairly wet snow fell overnight, covering the ground, the metal table on my deck and the red chairs blown over by yesterday’s wind, frosting every pine needle and tree limb. This intense whiteness — sky, trees, lawn, streets — doesn’t last long. By 8 the pines and cedars were turning green again and the road had gone to mush from school and work traffic.

I know I lost power sometime in the night because the microwave’s clock is saying zero, but everything works now. This is actually a great house in which to be powerless, because it’s heated by the wood stove. I have many candlesticks already in place, I just have to walk around with a match and the house lights up. A short power outage makes me feel cozy and slightly pioneering: it’s exciting.

The new snow will be a boon to the filmmakers who’ve been in town this week making a Hallmark Christmas movie. It will save them all the time they’ve been spending wadding up cotton and artfully draping it over the curbs and into the gutters of Broad St., trying to simulate winter. I have been thinking how ridiculous they are, and feeling a little guilty about it.

It is ridiculous to make snow out of cotton. Understandable in a 10-year-old putting on a play; but peculiar when you see grown-ups doing it in all seriousness, accompanied by quite a few semi-trailers parked on a back street, many miles of rolled electrical cable, and teamsters in black leather jackets milling around. Suddenly our town is full of people with clipboards and walkie-talkies, and orange traffic cones appear as if by magic to prevent us from getting where we usually go.

I can’t help but wonder, once again, at the accumulated craziness of the culture we live in. Making movies — even a less-than-star-studded film like this one (sorry, Ed Asner) — is big business. Enormous amounts of money are being spent to make half a block of our main street look like it’s winter. It actually IS winter, but it doesn’t look like the kind of winter they want it to, hence the wadded cotton snow. I have not seen a single smile during these ten days from any of the gathered throngs of producers, directors, assistant directors, camerapeople, best boys and girls, production assistants, caterers, makeup artists and hair stylists, key grips, and what they like to call “talent.” I guess it’s a feel-good movie because the actors are smiling on cue, but it seems pretty sad that nobody else is.   

As most people know, poets are not big business. We are not even little business. We are probably the dictionary’s definition of no business whatsoever. But at least we’re having some fun!

And in that spirit, I’m about to drive into town, park right next to an orange traffic cone, and throw snowballs at the movie crew, just to see if I can get a reaction. Cross your fingers I don’t end up in the county jail.


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  • Leslie in Oregon February 20, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Movie crews have filmed on location in our residential neighborhood, and they and their process has struck me in much the same way: much ado about very little (except money) and no un-cued joy. We are always happy when they leave.

  • hillsmom February 20, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Apropos of nothing at all, did you notice that the above photo of Main Street only had street lights on one side? Strange…? BTW, don’t throw snowballs at people, unless you are looking for a citation. Cheers…