What did he need? My house. A location. Pack-rat by nature, I shuddered at the thought of having people invade my house and move my stuff around. But hey, anything for Vaughn.
I had three weeks off for winter break, so I had time to clear out the clutter in my house. Also in my plans for vacation were to paint a mural of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings on Santino's bedroom wall. I mentioned it to Vaughn and Rob but also that it might not be finished. Rob said, whatever you can do will be great.
So away went my clutter, and up went the mural. Big huge crates housed my extra stuff, and I crammed that into my garage and also my bedroom, which would act as my "untouchable" room; that is, a room where they wouldn't be filming so I was going to leave it in its messy state. We painted the mural--a bit unfinished but enough to present on film.
For the day of filming, I kenneled my dogs for the day and trapped my cats in my bedroom (one of my cats was an actor in one of the scenes so I wanted him on hand). Parking on my street is limited and we needed to accommodate Rob's truck. So, I parked my car strategically and blocked off an area in front of my house with trash cans so the truck would fit. Pia called me when they were pulling up at 9 am-ish, I removed the trash cans and re-parked the car. I felt like I was on the spy crew of Mission: Impossible.
Then came the transformation. When Vaughn and Rob and Neil had checked out my house in late November, I had very little vegetation in my front yard. But on this day in January, my fertile land had sprouted with foot-tall grasses. I told Rob--hey, let me cut that down for you. He reassured me--we're professionals, we'll take care of it. But you know, I wanted to pitch in, so I quickly cut down the green just enough for them to cover it up.
They unloaded the truck. Bags of landscaping rocks, potted plants, shovels, it kept coming. And wow what a job they did--first they laid down black tarp, planted desert plants, put landscaping rocks on top. It looked great. Rob said they'd remove everything before they left but I really wanted to keep it--it looked amazing and was what I wanted in my yard anyway.
Eventually Rob ran out of landscaping rocks, so I made a run to Home Depot to get more bags, the Mission: Impossible theme running through my head the whole time.
I had said to Rob and Pia--take what you need from the garage, and boy did they take me seriously! When I came back from Home Depot, my living room was transformed with wall hangings, boxes and bulky items removed from my garage for dressing the set, you name it. They found stuff I hadn't seen in years. I have no idea where they found that giant pink Care Bear. Rob and Pia said--don't worry, we'll put everything back as we found it. I knew they would-and yet, where did they find all that stuff anyway?
Funny--I spent my whole winter break clearing out the clutter in my house, just so Rob and company could create a more "deliberate" clutter that reflected the character in the story.
That day I made something like seven trips to get food, pick up Santino, pick up the dogs--I was constantly in and out. On my last trip, when I came back they had already broken the set and returned most of my things to the garage. Despite Rob's assurances that they would clean up absolutely everything, I wanted to help a little, so I put a crate into my room.
Sweeping things up, returning boxes to the garage, and then the place was cleared, just as they found it. As Rob made his last review of things in the living room, he counted the crates we had there in the morning. "Seven," he said, "we're supposed to have seven crates and I only count six." That seventh crate was the one I had put in my bedroom. Man oh man, he wasn't kidding when he said they were professionals.
Everyone left, like the end of a huge party. The truck pulled away, and I plopped onto my couch in a state of exhaustion and turned on my fully functioning t.v. The only difference between this and a party, though, was that there weren't puddles of beer and half-full soda cans laying around, and we get a movie out of it too.
Anyway, Vaughn and the crew didn't leave my house the way they found it. They left it BETTER than they found it--spotless floor and careful landscaping. All this for a little film about an alien.