Eighth Street hosts Hollywood, students’ acting debut

The Southerner

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“Standby for rehearsal,” a crew member yelled, the sound filling the Grady cafeteria. A few minutes later, “Rehearsal’s up! Standby, quiet please. Rolling,” reverberated through the room.

“Action,” director Tim Story said. The scene played out as actor Kevin Hart recited his lines. “And cut!”

“Cut,” a crew member echoed.

“That’s a cut,” another member of the crew shouted.

Story walked over to Hart, and after instructing him to hold the Ring Pop higher so it could be seen, the process restarted.

“Rolling again,” a crew member yelled. “Let’s keep it quiet please! Hold the work.”

Grady was chosen as the set for two scenes in the movie Ride Along, a comedy for Universal Studios starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. In the movie, Hart, an elementary school teacher who is engaged to be married, is taken on a dangerous ride-along by his future brother-in-law (played by Ice Cube), a tough cop who is overprotective of his sister. 

Filming for Ride Along, which will premiere in January 2014, started Oct. 31 and is predicted to end on Dec. 17. The cast and crew were on set at Grady on Nov. 21 to film two scenes, on the football field and in the cafeteria. The cast includes several Grady students who were selected to be paid extras in the movie: seniors Aazia Taylor, April King and Elen Pease; and juniors Qri Montague and Alana Edmonds.

Edmonds said she saw posters around the school informing students about the opportunity to be an extra in the movie and took advantage of it by sending her photograph to the extras casting email address on Oct. 24. She received an email on Nov. 15 offering her a $75 paid position and instructing her to bring several different styled outfits to the set, including athletic, nerdy, fashionable and hipster.

“It was a great experience,” Edmonds said. “I didn’t expect a movie set to be like that. We had to go over scenes several times and be quiet so the microphones could pick up everything. I also met many new people.”

When Edmonds arrived on set on Nov. 21, she was chosen for a “featured extra” role.

“I was just sitting there, and the guy said, ‘You got the look, come here,’” Edmonds said. “I got to pretend I was driving a car. I was one of the bad kids who skipped school and smoked.”

Homeschooled junior Jacob Latimore is an actor featured with Hart in the scene on the football field. Latimore said his interest started with the music industry and expanded to acting.

“Working with Kevin Hart [was my favorite part in making the movie],” Latimore said. “It has always been my dream to be in his presence.”

Juniors Dazja Greer and Saharah Jimenez shadowed members of the production crew during filming.

“We are both thinking about going into film, and we wanted to see what it is like on set,” Jimenez said.

The film crew spent eight weeks of preparing before the first day of filming for the movie, which has a $15 million budget.

Production assistant Jennifer Hackney said many different departments are necessary to produce the movie: wardrobe, sound, camera, video, electric, grips, art, makeup, props, set design, locations, transportation, travel coordinators, assistant directors, actors and production (accountants, for example).

Location manager Mac Gordon is tasked with sending out scouts to locations and showing photographs to the director, who makes the final decision on where scenes will be filmed.

“I love when [movie scenes] involve churches or schools because then we can give something back to the community rather than just taking,” Gordon said.

One reason Gordon said he chose Grady as a possible location in September is because of his positive past experience at Grady while filming the television show Necessary Roughness.

“Phil Scardina and the maintenance team, they’re all really good,” Gordon said. “I showed [the director] the pictures [of the school] and he liked it. This [location] was one of the easy ones [to pick].”

Phoebe Brown, one of the set dressers, was responsible for transforming Grady’s field and cafeteria into that of Highlands High School, the school in the movie.

“[The set dressers] covered a lot of the white wall space,” Brown said. “The camera doesn’t like big stretches of white, so we put up banners and anything to make it look like the space it’s supposed to be.”

After filming is completed, the movie enters post-production, which includes editing, sound design, color correction and automated dialogue replacement, or ADR.

“When they are filming, there is nobody talking except for the actors,” associate producer Dianne Ashford said. “But the ‘loop group’ works in the sound booth to make noise for us. They create noise from a high five or conversations. They mimic what someone’s mouth could have been saying.”

Mike DeGrazzio, the digital imaging technician, works in a tent with several monitors and control panels while filming takes place and prepares the footage for DI, or digital intermediate, and applies color corrections to the video.

“When we read the script, we may want [the scene] to be bright,” DeGrazzio said. “But depending on how it’s edited, we may want it to be darker and colder.” He explained how the color and tone of the video can be changed based on toggling the levels of the primary colors—red, green and blue.

When a sequence is filmed, it is sent to Los Angeles for editing, DeGrazzio said. Because of this, he said post-production is already 50 percent complete by the time filming ends.

“They start putting together a sequence, and when they finish the edit, they put it through DI and fine-tune everything; this includes the beautification of actors and actresses,” he said.

Ashford said about 150 people are working on the movie.

“It takes a lot of people to make a 90-minute movie,” Ashford said.

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