I got my first movie role in America

Olumide Ebimo Amungo

I stumbled onto an active movie shoot in Central Park and got a front row view of the  huge film and television industry in America.

I went to Central Park the other day and was about entering that wooded haven when I ran into an active movie set. I saw police cars, a taxi rigged up with cameras, film crew setting up and running around to get things in order. So, I hung around wondering what would happen soon.

I was expecting to see Will Smith dressed as detective chasing Jamie Foxx dressed as a crazy psychotic alien serial killer and Angelina Jolie jumping out of a tree and blasting Jamie Foxx with a laser gun. After a while nothing happened so I approached a crew member and asked him what was going on and why wasn’t there any action. He laughed and told me they were waiting to film some National Football League stars. They were there to make a promotional movie for the start of the NFL season.

Just as we were talking I heard a ruckus close to us, and there they were, Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Howard Long. Three former NFL players all of whom had been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The tourists milling around went wild  taking photos and selfies  with their phones. The security men around the stars were having a hard time holding back the crowd. Shooting started not long afterwards, the stars played their roles, taking their first shots and retakes as the camera men, gaffers, sound-men, make-up artists all got busy. O yeah! I was in the middle of a movie shoot.

The American film industry generated $43.4 billion in revenue last year, according to a report by the research firm IBISWorld. The report found that California remains the center of film production in the U.S., accounting for 40% of all production work, with New York a distant second (13.9%). But when added with television New York City generate $8.7 billion, second only to Los Angeles. All the major film studios in Los Angeles have large offices in New York. The city has been the scene of several blockbusters including of films like Godfather, Spiderman, and Ironman.

Scenes like these where not uncommon in New York City, there were 8,222 permits issued for movie shoots on the streets last year. Whenever one sees a “Made in NY” truck, it means a film or television show is being created in the City. With New York City’s iconic and unique sites and neighborhoods and some of the top talent in the country, NYC is a popular place for film production. Manhattan saw 46.2 percent of permits. Brooklyn had 32.5 percent, followed by 15.9 percent in Queens, 4 percent in the Bronx and 1.5 percent on Staten Island. Film and television generate 130,000 jobs for New Yorkers.

Since arriving New York I have inadvertently bumped into active movie sets and did not know. Coming off the L- train on the Halsey Street stop, in Brooklyn, I always walked past a very huge facility on Convert by Irving streets with a lot of support trucks and a buzz of activities. One day I asked a crew member what was going on in there. I was told the place is a CBS studio and at that time they were filming an episode of “Bull” a very popular legal drama. It was only after I researched the program on google that I realized I walked past the main actor Michael Weatherly having a chat with his costars a few days back and did not even know it.

As I took in all that was going on in Central Park I noticed a camera man focusing on the intrigued crowd. He panned his camera towards me, so I gave him a huge smile. At last I will be getting into the movies.  So, if you watch the promotional video for the new NFL season starring Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Howard Long don’t focus only on the stars. Look out for the shot of the crowd, you just may see me in my first movie role in America.


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