Transformers 3 is filming in Chicago at the moment. It’s a really big deal because they’re going to be here for about 7 weeks and they’re putting a lot of industry people to work during that time. They’ve really taken over the city and they’ve infused an unmistakeable excitement all over town. Not just the tourists are getting excited. Even the hard calloused natives are enjoying the ooh and aah factor of it all, even if only because it gives them something new to be snarky about. The stuff these guys are doing and the stunts they are co-ordinating is rarely if never seen in these parts. Explosions, base jumpers, helicopters, real ammo (albeit loaded with squibs), cars and buses on fire or flipping upside down. And they aren’t relegated to the hinterlands of the city. All this is happening downtown at the intersection of Michigan and Wacker right along the river.
A few days ago, I wandered into where they were storing the cars in their non-Autobot state. It wasn’t long before I was hustled out of the area by a young, but well meaning production assistant. Seems I wasn’t supposed to be there. Imagine that! I was curious about the PA, how he got the job, was he local, how many days he’d worked, how long were his days. Turns out he was local, this was his 7th day on the set and the longest day he’d worked was about 15 hours. Most of the days were well over 12 hours as the locations they had were high traffic areas that couldn’t be shut down for long so the crew needed to maximize the time they had. I spent about 45 minutes asking him all kinds of questions which is something I can’t help but do. I’m a question gal. He was a student at a local college studying film and wanted to worked in production design which sets up all the non human parts of a film. Even on a 90 degree day when the closest he was getting to where everything was blowing up was standing 500 feet away guarding cars under tarps and answering the same silly questions from throngs of tourists, his enthusiasm for his job and the chance to be part of this production was palpable.
I have no doubt this guy will one day be working in production design. And even when blowing stuff up becomes an everyday occurrence, he’ll still get excited about doing it because that’s the great thing about working in this business. We get to do things everyday that people only dream about or see on a screen. What’s not to love about this business?