Filming on Turlock's first feature film, a romantic comedy written and directed by Corbin Bernsen of “Psych” and “L.A. Law” fame, kicked off bright and early Wednesday morning.
Cast and crew swarmed around Lisa's Cookie Jar, 115 S. Broadway, as early as 7 a.m. On this first day of filming, the crew shot on a scene where the female lead meets her love interest – found via a Christian dating website – for the first time.
So far, the production has been going wonderfully according to Mike Everett, founder of the Turlock Film Commission, despite starting a day later than initially planned due to some conflicts in actors' schedules.
“It's been perfect,” Everett said.
Early in the morning, a shot was filmed on Broadway in front of Lisa's Cookie Jar. The scene showed Gweneth, portrayed by Lacey Chabert of “Party of Five” and “Mean Girls” fame, approaching the cookie shop for her date.
Interestingly, the script originally called for the couple to meet in a coffee shop. But after seeing Lisa's Cookie Jar, Bernsen re-wrote the script to change the setting.
Around noontime, stand-ins for the leads were inside the cookie shop preparing for that meet-cute scene. Cinematographers and directors blocked out the shots and practiced camera work while the real actors went through make-up and wardrobe.
More than 50 people are working on the film, Everett said, all of them staying in Turlock. Most are from out-of-town, but some locals are involved as well.
And more than 20 extras were used in this first day of filming. Everett said that most of the 1,200 who tried out during open auditions last week have yet to be called back, but to remain hopeful – extras will likely hear only a day or two before their scenes.
“Be patient,” Everett said. “They still may get a call.”
When viewers sit down to watch the DVD, the scene shot Wednesday won't be the opening shot of the movie. Like all films, Bernsen's romantic comedy is being shot out-of-order, in a way that optimizes the shooting schedule.
“If you (shot a film sequentially) it'd take you months and cost you lots of money,” Everett said.
Breaking for even a few minutes can cost thousands of dollars with a 50 person cast and crew, Everett said. And moving locations can be a hassle too, inspiring filmmakers to keep most of the shots in Downtown Turlock.
Those downtown locations are particularly convenient given the location of the film's production office – right next door to Red Brick Cafe, and half-a-block from Lisa's Cookie Jar.
“We can walk to most of the shots,” Everett said.
Filming will continue tomorrow, with scenes to be shot in three locations: Sushi Cuisine, Lightly Used Books, and Main St. Footers. All Turlock filming is set to wrap on Dec. 16.