When I was asked to help with the entertainment market I had to do my research to see where the filming market stands in NYC; I learned about the networks that are headquartered in New York. I knew some of the most internationally influential production companies located here. The major broadcast networks such as, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, and cable channels such as MTV, HBO and Comedy Central are all in New York. You can confidently say there is always something being filmed in the city every day. I started to walk the city, from north to south and east to west, going to all the filming locations and ask questions. Meet the scout managers and talk to them about what we have to offer. I believe this is how I started my “Boys Club” LOL! Group of local location managers who walk the city day and night to scout suitable locations. Every year in the beginning of the year I start calling “my boys” asking what they are working on and what is their schedule for the rest of the year.
When they came to me with the proposal for the movie “Man on a Ledge” I was so hesitant. It was scary and risky. They needed a “Ledge” and we simply did not have one! J but instead we had the best location and possibilities! Since we did not have a ledge, and there was a huge distance between the room and the terrace with the actual ledge, the only option was to build a completely separate room on the setback of our 22nd floor roof. A room that was right on the ledge! I had to consider so many things that can go wrong with this project before I even propose the idea to our executives.
First things first, I had to do my research so I started to call around and see what other venues were saying about this project. Almost all of them said this was a crazy idea, I am out of my mind and there is no way they would let a production company do a construction on their property. Considering me being “different”, “a risk taker” and “outside the box thinker” who believes everything is possible! This was my winning ticket! Therefore, I called them back and invited them for coffee.
We started negotiating in August of 2010 and finally were able to close the deal in October. We had to review everything, the details of the construction, the heaviness of the lumber and materials and its impact on the roof and the weight and size of cameras and camera cranes. We had to calculate the possibility of rain and snow which would have added additional weight to the roof and last but not least we had to consider the possibility of human error and the safety of the gears that were going to hold the cast and crew on the ledge.
We started the project first week of October and it took about a week to put a protective deck on the setback. This was to bring the room to the ledge level of the set back and protect the roof from possible damages. We had hydraulic lift crane positioned on Madison Ave, which lifted set pieces and material to the roof. Another week of positioning and securing platforms, set pieces and safety gears, prep, rig etc…
Our first day of filming was on October 30, 2010. If you were in the city that day you would have seen the ambulances, fire department trucks and police cars, cranes, airbeds, squat team and about 500 extras at the corner of 45th and Madison Avenue. It took almost two and a half months to finish filming. Some of the scenes had to take place over night like the kitchen and lobby scenes. Thinking back, I had so much fun with the cast and crew. The filming ended around mid January and the cast and crew moved out a week after that.
For the past year and half, we had the pleasure of working not only with the cast and crew of “Man on a Ledge” but also had the pleasure of working on movies like “Men in Black”, “Musical Chair” and “The Dictator” and continuous working with CBS and NBC on to two famous shows “The Goodwife” and the “Law and Order”.
According to the Mayor’s Office of Film, “Theater and Broadcasting New York’s film industry is much smaller than that of Hollywood, but its billions of dollars in revenue makes it an important part of the city’s economy and places it as the second largest center for the film industry in the United States.” Today I can proudly say for the past two years we did our best to contribute to NY City’s entertainment business and keeping things closer to home and local.