The Kansas Film Commission is videotaping a behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking to ease concerns in Kansas communities about the hubbub created when Hollywood productions come to town.
As "The Laura Black Story," starring Brooke Shields and Richard Thomas, was being filmed Thursday in Lawrence, members of the film commission were taping the process.
Vicky Henley, director of the commission, said the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing will make the video available to community leaders starting early next year.
Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Lawrence officials pretty much know what to expect when film producers come to town. That's because several movies have been shot here in recent years.
However, she said, the video could be helpful for other Kansas communities.
"THE VIDEO will help educate location owners about what it's really like," Billings said. "It's difficult to explain in words how many trucks and people and cameras and cables are needed. A location owner will be able to look at this video and see what they're getting into. "Not that we want to talk them out of participating we certainly want them to participate. But we want them to have a higher level of comfort in participating."
For the shooting of the movie Thursday, five trailers were brought in and lined up along Seventh Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets. The trailers were used for dressing rooms, makeup rooms and for housing camera equipment.
A catering trailer also was parked on Vermont Street behind the Eldridge Hotel, Seventh and Massachusetts, where some filming took place.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Mark Warren said that despite all the vehicles and the onlookers who sometimes spilled over into streets and alleys, he wasn't aware of any problems with traffic congestion Thursday.
Henley said even though inconveniences sometimes occur, it's difficult to overlook the new business generated in a community when it serves as a filming location.
"THERE'S WORK for hairdressers and carpenters and landscape artists, and a lot of the construction is local," Henley said. She added that local grocery stores and caterers get plenty of business keeping the film crew fed.
Mary McCaffrey, assistant director of the film commission and director of the video, said the residents of Horton appreciated those economic benefits during the filming of another television movie there earlier this year.
"They were joking that the thrift store up there probably saw more business in one day than they did in the entire year because they had all these extras coming in from Topeka, Kansas City and Overland Park," McCaffrey said. "In between filming, they would check out these little stores."
Billings said she hopes the video will help get several other Kansas communities on film.
"We want them to have a good level of comfort about participating and to know that they are part of economic development for their community and the state," she said.