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Somewhere in Time

Over the weekend, scores of Capital Region residents scuttled into theaters to see The Time Machine, the new adaptation of the H.G. Wells science-fiction classic. Several scenes for the picture were shot in Albany, Troy and Schenectady last winter, so the locals who worked as extras and production assistants hoped to see either themselves or their handiwork onscreen. And while some of these people have given cheery quotes to local papers about how thrilling their brush with Hollywood was, not everyone paints as rosy a picture.

Joe Glickman, a 24-year-old independent filmmaker based in Albany, worked for several nights as an extra, checking in around 5 PM each evening and checking out around 5 AM the following morning, all for a princely $50 per day after taxes. He saw the movie at a sneak preview last week, and says the payoff for his efforts just wasn’t there.

“I was anticipating a lot more than actually ended up in the film, because I recall a lot more angles being filmed,” says Glickman. “But I enjoyed sitting there just watching the Capital Region. I saw myself up there in an eight-
second wide shot. That was my big claim to fame.”

Glickman, who works as a still photographer on low-budget movies in addition to directing his own short films, says his Time Machine experience revealed the financial waste inherent to big-budget filmmaking. “I knew that it would be a very big undertaking for them to have to re-create the Victorian era, but I recall it being probably the most disorganized film set I’ve ever worked on,” he says.

“A lot of them didn’t know where certain extras were supposed to be,” Glickman says of the crew members working on the DreamWorks production. “There were too many chiefs. And some people were treating the extras pretty nasty. There were occasions where people would walk off. Despite what I read in an article, extras were not trying to come back. . . . I was only supposed to work two days, and what happened was so many people did not come back that they became desperate and had to call on anybody who would come out to [Schenectady’s] Central Park.”

While working in Central Park, Glickman saw that several pieces of lighting gear had been left in plain view of the camera. “It would’ve taken about five minutes to just take the stuff, gather it, and throw it behind a tree,” he recalls. “I could see the camera across the street aiming over in our direction. I grabbed one of the production people and asked ‘Aren’t they gonna move this?’ He was like ‘They don’t have time—they’re gonna remove it in post,’ ” meaning that computers would be used to digitally remove the anachronistic items.

“I’m thinking ‘Wow, that’s going to throw the budget up there a little bit more,’ ” Glickman says.

According to Glickman, other filmmakers can take several lessons from the Time Machine experience: “Never take the amount of money that you have to make a film for granted, because apparently if you’ve got millions and millions of dollars to toss away, you start tossing it away. . . . Also, make sure that your crew and your cast, regardless of whether they’re extras or whether they’re going to be onscreen or not, are treated properly.

“That’s why they lost so many people—because their crew members were treating PAs like dirt, and I saw crew members being treated like dirt by higher-ups,” Glickman continues. “I saw in the end credits that certain people in this area who worked on the crew for a month did not get a credit. . . . The people that ended up not getting credit were the ones that worked hardest—they worked harder than some of those big filmmakers who probably were on salary.”

—Peter Hanson

ART BEAT

Here’s a follow-up to an item we ran recently about the cancellation of this year’s Riverfront Arts Fest, which has been held annually in Troy for 36 years. According to event organizer the Arts Center of the Capital Region, a task force has been put together to discuss what the event should be like in the future. “The decision to rethink the scope and direction of the festival grows out of a long-range strategic planning process taking place during the Arts Center’s 40th anniversary year,” Arts Center president Raona Roy said in a press release. The task force includes politicians, artists and members of the business community. Although the festival itself will not take place, two components of the festival will occur: The popular Fence Show, featuring works by hundreds of artists, and a 5K Run for the Arts both will be held on June 16. . . . Glenn Slingerland, the area DJ whose weekly radio show is highly regarded for its eclectic mix of rock, jazz and other forms, just reported that the TV version of his show is about to launch after a well-publicized false start last year. The Glenn Slingerland Situation, a seven-minute mix of images and music, will run on Albany’s Time Warner Cable at 11 PM, 11:10 PM and 11:20 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights beginning on Tuesday (March 12). The show will air on Channel 2, normally occupied by New York station WPIX but blacked out locally from 11 to 11:30 PM because of Federal Communications Commission rules. . . . Congratulations to area author Joseph F. Girzone, a former priest whose Joshua books depict a modern-day second coming, because a movie version of the first book in the series, simply titled Joshua, is scheduled to hit screens on April 19. The G-rated drama, distributed by Artisan Entertainment, stars Ghost’s Tony Goldwyn and Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham. Movie release dates are famously liquid, so check out www.joshuathemovie.com for updates. . . . Queensbury’s L.H. Barker recently learned that one of her pieces was selected for inclusion in the American Society of Architectural Illustrators’ latest international exhibition, called Architecture in Perspective 17. The piece, which also won the organization’s Award of Excellence, is a gauche illustration depicting a 1670s chapel in Maryland. The exhibition will open in October in Australia, then tour the world for a year. . . . Speaking of architecture, the Center for Shaker Studies, located at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass., was just recognized for excellence in design by the Maine chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The jurors behind the award said that “The project demonstrates that restraint is often best, but yet can be done artfully.”
. . . The Times Union reports that Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings is expected to be at the Madison Theatre tomorrow (Friday) at 11 AM for a ribbon-cutting that will commemorate the launch of the movie theater’s latest incarnation. Late last year, indebtedness forced the multiplex’s previous owners to close, so one of the creditors claimed ownership. The seven-screen theater, located near the intersection of Madison and Western avenues, will once again show first-run movies. . . . Finally, welcome aboard to Andrea Lyons, who was hired recently as the first permanent executive director of the Woolworth Theater Project, the campaign to renovate a retail space in Glens Falls as a performing-arts space. If all goes well, construction will begin next year. . . . Send Art Beat items to
phanson@metroland.net or call 463-2500, ext. 144.

—P.H.


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