Lights, Camera, Action!

Wednesday night in Nashville, at LP Field, where the Titans play football, it is being turned into an outdoor arena for the taping of the TV show, “Nashville.”
I have been reading all day about people who were going to be in the crowd as they filmed the concert and even though they are not getting paid, a ton of people are still planning on being there.
Ironically, it was 30 years ago this month that about 10 of us from McGavock, got asked to go be extras in a movie that was filming in downtown Nashville at the Ryman.
At this time, the Ryman was a dump. A huge dump.

It is night and day between what you see now and what it was like 30 years ago.
Night and day.
Anyhoo, we go downtown and park in what is now, the old convention center.
We had to be there at 9 and filming was going to last until at least 4. All we knew it was a movie about a country music singer who had died 20 years earlier in a plane crash.
Yet, all we cared about is that we were going to get paid to be in a movie.
That movie was called Sweet Dreams.

Jessica Lange, Ed Harris and John Goodman are the names who stand out from that movie and although Goodman wasn’t there that day, Ed Harris and Jessica Lange were.
Harris was in The Right Stuff which was on cable all the time and we couldn’t stop staring at him. Mainly, how short he was.
Lange was in Tootsie, the movie, not the bar, and was stunning, even dressed up like a dead singer. I got up enough nerve to go say hi to her but as I approached, someone from the movie said, “Turn around.” I tried 3 more times and each time a different person told me to “Get the F*K away,” basically.
I had no idea that for nearly 7 hours of filming, our scene in the movie was about 2 minutes total. We clapped, we laughed, we laughed, we clapped, etc and etc. It was quite taxing to say the least. “Why can’t they just take one take and be done?” We asked that about, oh, 244 times that day.
I can barely see myself when I watch the movie and the scene we were filming was about the first time Patsy Cline played the Ryman. I was standing in the middle of the crowd and some assistant came up to me and said, “Follow me.” She took me right to the stage and when you watch, I am the second one in a brown shirt that claps when she comes out. You can barely see me, but dammit, I am there.
And I got paid.
We never got fed that day, no one said thank you and in fact, the whole experience was pretty much garbage. I came away thinking how rude people from Hollywood are. No one smiled, everyone looked absolutely beaten down, yet there were about 10 us from McGavock who were probably so giddy, we pissed them off even more.
Yet every time that damn movie comes on, I watch the whole entire thing.
And when that scene arrives, I get nervous and anxious.
7 hours for 2 minutes of glory.
At least in my mind. I was only 16 years old and had no clue what I was doing but I knew it was something I would remember for the rest of my life.
So those who stand out in the cold Wednesday night, good for you.
You will remember it fondly as the years go by.

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