Picture Car Coordinator
Co-Producer. Production Coordinator. Picture Car Coordinator. I wore many hats on “A New York Heartbeat.” When Tjardus and Laura asked me to help with picture cars I thought this was just another task, something to add to my Production Coordinator “To Do” list. I learned quickly that it was a full-time job.
I was lucky because Tjardus did most of the research in the months prior to the start of production. He went to car shows and browsed Craigslist. By the time the job was passed on to me, he had prepared a collection of photos along with detailed notes. My job was to execute his vision. Given my inexperience, I ran into a few roadblocks.
Challenge #1: Convertibles
We shot in October and November in cold, rainy Pittsburgh. Did you know that classic car owners put their prized vehicles in storage for the winter? This was news to me. First I had to get the cars out of storage, and then I had to convince the owners to drive their prized vehicles in inclement weather. To make matters worse, we shot mostly at night. I discovered that finding cars wasn’t difficult; it was getting them to report to set at 1:00AM and stay until dawn. Thank goodness for Pittsburgh generosity.
Challenge #2: Budget
Sell it, baby. With nearly no budget, I had to embrace my inner-saleswoman. “How would you like to have your car prominently featured in a gangster movie? What’s that you ask? How much are we paying? Oh it’s not about the money, its about the experience!” I complimented original upholstery and raved about body paint jobs. My sparkly personality worked overtime to get the job done. Plus, I had another advantage: there aren’t many female Picture Car Coordinators. What 60-year-old retired marine can turn down a request from someone who looks like his daughter? (True story. I ran with that one).
Challenge #3: Maintaining My Sanity
I had two cars break down - one en route to set, and one on set. Another day I had a car delivered with 4 flat tires. Have you heard the expression “time is money”? If a crew has to wait for an essential vehicle – such as a garbage truck – you have to pay them to wait. I’ll admit the pressure was intense at times but I always had a back-up plan.
The truth is I met wonderful people and I learned how to do a job I didn’t know existed. I’m proud of the work I did; I believe I took good care of my guests – both automotive and human – on set. Now every time I pass a classic car cruise I smile, and maybe take a few mental notes. You never know when I’ll need them again.