Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Person of Interest

Have you been watching Person of Interest, parts of which are filmed in New York? For a few days in August, Valerie observed POI film crews in various locations. Since the temperature in New York City is hovering around zero today, we thought it would be nice to brighten our day with some summer pictures, when temperatures were hovering in the 80s. Spoiler Alert: The POI filming shots include no pictures of the stars.  However, Jean did get a great shot of one of them about 4 months later (see below). While actual filming is very brief, setting up and taking down takes most of the time.

One way you know they'll be filming is when you see signs like these. The top one is a permit from the City of New York; the bottom one fills you in on the particulars. You may have read that some people get very tired of having their neighborhoods taken over -- we get told which side of the street we can walk on, or that we can't put out our trash or park our cars... Usually we're so fascinated to be privy to movie magic that we cooperate, but if it takes too long or the film crews are rude, some people have been known to sabotage the set by, for example, sitting at their windows in such a way that it's clear they're not part of the filming, or keeping lights on on a darkened set. No such sagas for this episode of Person of Interest, though.

Below, they're setting up a shot in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded street. You can tell it's going to be a small, tight, intimate shot of a person or people parked at a curb. Check out the tracks, so the videographer can make a smooth sweep. Check out the black cloth on the hood (which was probably reflecting too much light),  the size of that lens, and the four people buzzing around the car. Although this is going to be a very brief shot, the number of people involved in making sure everything goes right is amazing. You see five people (the sixth is a passerby), but there are more lining the sidewalk just out of sight; more across the street; and more manning the buffet table.

Across the street from the car shot are several abandoned buildings. (They were condemned after the infamous crane accident that killed six construction workers -- that construction site is right behind this view). The graffiti is faux, added for ambience. The condemned properties -- fully functional and flavorful until the accident -- actually remained very clean until they were demolished shortly after the filming. (Part of the reason they were torn down was to legalize the construction site, which had begun illegally.  [Buildings of great height are restricted to block corners.  This building only acquired its corner after the tragedy, by demolishing the buildings that had been on the corner.])

It's possible to rent out your apartment in New York for TV or movie scenes. You have to have exactly what they're looking for; you have to be prepared not to complain when a million boots scuff your newly refinished floors or all your House Beautiful furniture is replaced with set furniture.  In return, you get a nice chunk of change and bragging rights. ("Hey, you know that scene where Vinny's passed out on the floor? That's MY floor!!!") Here's the vestibule of a building where someone's apartment is about to be enshrined forever in television history.

This is the same building from the outside, a few days later. Who'd have guessed?

No gourmet meals on the set! One of the buffet tables during the filming had a lovely vase full of welcoming summer blooms on it.

Thought you'd like to see this very dire warning. We wondered when we saw this notice (that says our very presence not only acknowledges our having been informed but also grants irrevocable permission to use our images and recordings): Does this constitute a contract? Could you be held to it if you were visually impaired? Or were non-English-speaking? Or if you just happened to be looking the other way when you passed the sign? Out of curiosity, we showed the sign to a lawyer, who basically said 'good luck getting that held up in court'. Really, its purpose appears to be just to minimize trouble.

Just another day (actually, three days) in New York City.

But wait!  There's more!

In December at an Etsy pop-up shop in Soho,  Jean attended one of Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style book signings and Debra Rapoport's hat-making workshops, where she met actor Michael Emmerson, who co-stars with Jim Caviezel in CBS' Person of Interest.  The show features a presumed dead CIA agent (Caviezel) and a billionaire genius (Emmerson) who try to stop crimes before they happen, applying some very high tech predictive analytics to images on an ubiquitous system of video surveillance. (photo: Giovani Rufino/Warner Bros/CBS.  They're taller than this in real life, of course.)

"Lost" fans remember Emmerson for his portrayal of Benjamin Linus, for which he won an Emmy and received a Golden Globe nomination.  He was extremely charming and seemed to be genuinely flattered when Jean approached and asked him for a picture.  There was only one catch: he insisted she take a picture of the two of them with her camera.  Here's the result!  Obviously, he's done this before and knows how to face the lens forehead and nose first, not chin first, so he ends up not looking like a geek. (Jean? Not so much.) Well, as we say: Learn something new everyday.


  1. Love that show and I am slightly jealous you got to meet Michael Emmerson....Ok I am a lot jealous. Thanks for the street glimpses xx Michelle

  2. I don't watch much tv other than sports so I'm not familiar with this show. Love all your interesting posts.