I remember the first time we ever encountered a film crew in New Mexico. I was with my family, I think I was in my early twenties, but I felt much younger. My late father was driving the four of us somewhere up north on a rural road. At first we thought there was an accident, but it wasn't a cop blocking our way.
A security man in black t-shirt and Dodgers ball cap stood holding a flashlight. He wasn't armed, but he had a military bearing so he didn't have to be. The guy was the epitome of cool and toughness. In his fifties, he looked like a bouncer at the Viper Club in Kabul. He had some kind of receiver in his ear as if God himself was telling who could pass through. "Just wait, they're filming," he said.
After five minutes, my Dad was getting impatient. We were all getting nervous. Would Dad embarrass us again?
"I'm going to talk to the guy," he said. We tried to hide under our seats.
He asked Mr. Viper Club who the director was.
"It's Ron Howard," the man replied.
"I remembered him when he was Opie," my Dad said. We all cringed.
Mr Viper smiled. "No one remembers that anymore."
They talked about the Andy Griffith show and Howard's work on Happy Days.
"My son is a writer," my Dad said. "He's written a script."
I felt like I was four years old and my Dad was bragging about me being able to swim the entire length of the pool. Despite his fearsome appearance, the man was actually quite friendly. Perhaps my Dad was the only person who had talked to him during the entire shoot. Everyone else would have been intimidated, but my Dad had sold insurance for a living and I wondered if my Dad was going to ask who handled major medical coverage for the film crew.
Instead of pitching insurance, my Dad actually pitched him one of my stories. He did a better job of it then I did.
The man smiled. "That's a great story."
"It's my son's," my Dad said proudly.
Mr. Viper suggested that I get an agent and have that agent send it in to Mr. Howard. He made it sound like the filming could start tomorrow night...
Suddenly there was an explosion on the other side. We all jumped, but Mr. Viper didn't flinch.
Once he recovered from the sound, my Dad smiled. "See I'm going to make you a star, Jon."
There was one more explosion and then silence. After five minutes of silence, Mr. Viper got some call on his radio from God himself and then let us go on our way.
It was too dark to see anything, but my Dad turned around and waved back to the security man as if they were old friends. The man waved back. "Tell him to get an agent," the man yelled.
We passed another security guy on the other side who was still talking to a car load of folks. Perhaps they were pitching a script of their own... After we passed them, the other car drove through.
In the distance, I heard another explosion. For one moment, I actually thought about sending my script to the agent... Hell every time I see a film crew, I think about sending my script to an agent.
You never know...