Once Upon a Main Street on Lifetime
This summer, I joined my friends on making a Christmas movie up in north Nevada. They had already filmed "Feliz NaviDad" & "Dear Christmas" for Lifetime and the third movie that I got to join was People Magazine Presents: "Once Upon a Main Street" for Lifetime. It's starring Vanessa Lachey as (Amelia), Ryan McPartlin as (Vic), and the legendary Patrick Duffy as (Elderly). It's directed by Polly Draper who also plays (Rowena) and 1st ast. director Samson Haveland with all three films executive produced by Paula Hart.
The morning of my first day, I showed with all of my styling kits and my WWE wrestling sewing kit and I was greeted by the lovely Costume Designer Sally Kruse, joining her as a Stylist in the wardrobe department. She welcomed me with her southern accent and open arms, feeling as if I had known her for years even though this was the first time we had met. The department was assisted by Sarah Williams and Taylor Parsons, making us a top notch strong team, but most importantly very fun, thanks to Sarah's never ending charm and humor. I was shown the wardrobe room, full of Christmas clothes, racks, and endless shoes. Our space was shared with the glam team, the super talented Leigha Keaveny, Liz Castellanos and Jakob Sherwood. The wardrobe room is where the magic is, this is where all of the characters are brought to life.
Our work days started with me pretending to eat a healthy breakfast by ordering eggs and bacon with every topping possible and bread, of course, followed by an orange to balance things out, than a Starbucks that either Ryan or Vanessa was treating us that I would forget to drink all day. But first, the medic would be greeting us every morning by the wardrobe room's entrance, blocking the entry with her Covid testing gadgets, instantly I would be paranoid that I wouldn't pass my covid test, just old high school reflexes from always failing my tests. Well, before you judge, I was negative each time. Phew! I'm thankful we were able to get tested regularly to ensure we kept a safe and regulated set.
As Vanessa and Ryan are getting all dolled up, while I'm still in my morning breath and unbrushed hair, our wardrobe team would prep the wardrobe for the scenes we had to film that day and our prepping included: alterations, steaming, creating new looks, styling new pieces, sometimes shopping for last minute changes, fittings with our next day actors, packing our little minivan with all of the clothes, shoes and accessories needed for the day and lastly prepping and loading the sewing kits, notebooks, continuity book with laptops and of course my snack bag! All would be loaded in and shipped off to set. Lastly, we would dress Vanessa and Ryan in their first outfit, then off to set we would go!
It was so fun arriving on set and stepping into a total Christmas world. Incredible work by the production designer Robert Wise, the Art Director Natalie Blake and her team, Bia Gallo, Richie Banks & Michael Yori, with props by Tony Paulley and all of the special effects guys, they are all so talented and the sweetest people! In the middle of 90 degree weather, of a quiet and charming little neighborhood in Carson City, with reindeers running free, there would be a home, which was our set location, covered in fake snow, Christmas lights and decor. Ah the magic of Christmas! If you believe in Christmas movies though, I highly suggest never work in one, or don't read this blog, you don't want to see how in a sunny summer day, this movie was shot with fake snow. Don't do it, I had to recover for a few months, to forget it all happened so it wouldn't ruin my Xmas movie time.
I had to pretend to be professional by not being amused by any of the amazing decor or make eye contact with the edible pastries, but walk straight to the dressing room where I would be met by the glam team and our lead actors, Vanessa & Ryan. We all shared the same space, and this was my most favorite time, being all together, all day long, was nothing but laughter and some of the best memories. Vanessa was also a part time nurse, making sure I had the daily vitamins to keep us all healthy when working such long hours. I'm attaching which vitamins they are here, they literally saved me when I thought I would be getting sick and now I can't live without them! I had my machine set up, wardrobe hanging in the back, clothes ready for the next scenes, Sal studying her notes and most importantly my personal crafty table with hotel room snacks.
On weekends, we would all have group activities scheduled which consisted of waking up to texts by the line Producer, Jemma Jones saying "Get ready in 20, we're going river floating" or whatever was going on for the day. Jemma made sure everyone was always included, taken care of and on top of everything like a hawk, from the film production to our weekend activities.
Below are some pics of all our weekend activities, aside from sleeping in and being anti-social, my most favorite was spending time with Sally, getting our nails done, hunting for cute bakeries, vintage shopping and açaí balls. Also I enjoyed being around my local Vegas crew when we would pretend to be fancy at nice brunches, river floating, going to Lake Tahoe beach, that were followed by dinners by the water, and wine tasting in our hotel lobby thanks to our cinematographer Ryan Galvan. Everyone tried to do something for each other, in their own way, to enjoy the days off that were much deserving.
I know that this blog sounds like I'm describing a fun vacation but I promise it was a lot of work, but who wants to hear about the day I had carpel tunnel from working with my hands so much or pulled a muscle? Didn't think so. Also, when you do something you enjoy, around a group of people that uplift you and are positive to be around, you don't feel the hardships of the job but only remember the good times.
I am thankful I got to work around my friends and making a movie together is a dream, where we each bring our talents, hard work and dedication, in order for this production to be a success. It takes each and every one of us to make it possible and my most favorite quality about everyone in this crew, is that we worked for the success of the movie, and not for ourselves. Everyone is helpful to one another, steps up to support the other even if it's not their department truly looking out for each other. The bond is beautiful with all of the crew. I have some of the most beautiful memories of Reno, Carson City, Genoa and Lake Tahoe that I never thought would be possible, I'll forever cherish these memories the old friendships as well as the new ones.
I couldn't be more honored to work under Sally Kruse, she trusted in me and having that support makes you feel that you can work ten times harder and creativity just flows. It's not easy to find the chemistry with everyone you work with so finding a genuine good person, that's humble and grounded in this industry seems to be even more rare, and Sally is all of that plus so much more, that I would need a separate blog just for her. We had many adventures together, from hiking before a 16 hour overnight shoot, to driving up and down the Lake Tahoe mountains in our minivan on Labor Day weekend, sweaty yoga classes, to many laughs and great times with many açaí bowls in between to keep us sane. Having Sarah in our department, was never a dull moment, from "moms night out" in Carson City, to being the perfect tag team on set, she was the missing puzzle piece that without her this wouldn't be complete the same way. They're both absolutely beautiful, hard working and one of a kind that I'm so glad I gained forever friendships in these incredible ladies.
One cool fun fact about this movie, is that all of the head of each department was run by women! Directed by Polly Drapper, produced by Paula Hart, line produced by Jemma Jones, art directed by Natalie Blake, costume designed by Sally Kruse, hair & makeup head by Leah Keaveny, script supervisor Krystle Aguilera and casting director by Valerie McCaffrey. So proud of all of these boss babes. Can't forget all of the wonderful guys, who each and everyone of them was like having big brothers around us and most importantly Patrick Riglesberger for always going over and beyond to help each and every person, he is our on set angel, and an amazing actor as well.
Working with Vanessa and Ryan was as if we were hanging out with our friends, both are incredibly talented, funny and down to earth, spoiling everyone on set with food, açaí bowls and Starbucks. Not to mention that everyone was girl crushing on Vanessa, not just because she's absolutely gorgeous, but her down to earth personality, charm, love & respect for everyone, made it easy to love her! Both Vanessa and Ryan showed so much appreciation for the entire crew and everyday was positive full of laughter and love. Aside from me hitting a glass door while filming, running into things or walking right on camera and ruining a perfect crying scene with Patrick Duffy and having our 1st AD Samson wanting to kill me, everything went really smooth!
I'm excited to watch the incredible work of each and everyone involved, I'm so proud of all of the crew, and also secretly I am anxious to see if any mess ups I did are noticeable. Haha! Hope you enjoyed my behind the scenes take of Once Upon a Main Street, drop me a comment below so I can feel special.
Watch on Lifetime on repeat throughout the holidays.