I now know what it would look like if a serial killer were breaking into my laundry room (above). We had been approached about using our house for some location filming for Showtime’s Dexter a couple times, and last week they were actually here. Honestly, it is amazing to see all that goes into making what probably amounts to a few minutes of film.
Initially it was going to be a one day shoot in a couple of rooms, but got expanded to be a two day shoot in almost all of the house. Anybody that’s been here knows that we have a lot of stuff. We’re practically art hoarders, so I was curious how they would be able to transform our very full California home into a modern Miami bungalow. More importantly, I had no idea how they would put it back. While a normal home might have two paintings on a dining room wall, we have 29.
First let me say that I’m glad Albert was at work while all this was going down. There were massive amounts of people and equipment moving through, and I don’t think he could have handled it. I would just greet him at the end of the day with a glass of wine and wave the check for thousands of dollars in his face. It’s like having a massive party and then the guests decide to redecorate right in front of you.
Early Monday morning at seven they started taking photos of everything, carefully packing it away, and moving it into our garage. Almost all of our furniture was removed, including a giant dining room table, a huge sofa, and an upright piano. They painted our living room light blue, pretty but not my taste. Then they started moving in all of the new furniture, and even hung a new chandelier in our dining room. At one point the location manager emailed me and said they were going to swap-out my office furniture to create a “writer’s office.” I emailed him back, laughing that they could do whatever they wanted, but that I’m a “writer” and that’s my “office.”
In the afternoon the set decorators arrived to arrange the new elements into someone else’s home. One of the decorators turned out to be a friend of ours, Adam, who was surprised when he mapped the location and discovered he was going to get to re-do our place. I also discovered notes from the art department (above) about how they would have to, “Clear this area and replace with more masculine clothes—lose boas,” and “Clear and re-arrange to more ‘male’ vibe—lose stuffed animals.” Do serial killers not believe in Halloween or costume closets? Geesh. It was odd because they laid out everything similar to how we had it, just slightly different. My Liza poster was replaced with a print that looked strangely like Alan Cumming. How is that less gay? I was waiting for our cats to be replaced with model cats.
They transformed our entire house on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday were shoot days and there were probably 50 people here. The lighting blew me away. They had a huge light behind every window and a condor/cherry picker as tall as our Italian cypress with a light as bright as the sun. All of this was so the rays would trickle in properly though the wood shades they hung to replace our curtains. I was watching the shots on the monitors by the directors and the lighting was gorgeous.
Michael C Hall was amazing to watch and he’s always sort of in character, so he’s a bit creepy. Also, there were three different Dexters walking around, so I couldn’t take a step without bumping into a serial killer.
They also shot a scene across the street at the junior high school. Apparently they often use school playgrounds for jail yards, which is just depressing. They let me watch the scenes being shot there as well, and it was fun seeing all the prisoner extras on recess. The fake security had huge guns and the real security had walkie-talkies. Considering some of the students will actually end up in prison, I likened it to a career day. Speaking of security, we had an around-the-clock guard at the house because of all the rental equipment. I felt like the President.
They shot on Tuesday for Season 7:Episode 6 and Wednesday for Episode 7, so look for our house. By Thursday, I couldn’t wait for them to be gone. I almost brushed my teeth in the morning with a prop toothbrush. They moved everything out, painted the living room back, re-hung the chandelier and put everything back in it’s spot. All 75 rubber ducks in our bathroom back to their right positions, like nobody had ever disrupted them. That is television magic.
To see more pictures from the Dexter shoot, click the link below: