A critical location for my upcoming short film “Take a Stand,” a back-yard fence, has been secured. The journey to find that fence – an aged, wooden fence with grapefruit trees growing behind it – has been arduous.
In “Take a Stand,” two boys, Todd and Emile, decide to make a target of a lemonade stand run by two girls, Marcie and Janie. Taking cover behind a back-yard fence, grapefruit is their weapon of choice. The fence I had in mind when I wrote the script is very much like a fence I remember from a childhood friend’s home. I found, though, that the particular fence I remembered, like so many in Phoenix’s Arcadia area, has been replaced with a block wall. Furthermore, many of the citrus trees that dotted the yard have been removed.
After searching through the area street by street, I found a few yards that might have worked. When we pursued the possibility of shooting a film there, however, the homeowners objected. At one house, I had spent some time chatting with one member of the family, but when I returned a few days later, someone else answered the door and chased me away with shouting, apparently mistaking me for a pushy salesman.
With recent frustrations in mind, I was cautious when I approached the nearly perfect yard I eventually found. Its worn grape stake fence is covered with crawling vines and large grapefruit trees right behind the fence are the perfect source of ammunition for Todd and Emile. I approached the house one evening and was told to return the next day. After asking others to pray for me, I returned. At our meeting, and in subsequent conversations, there were many questions. The couple that owns the fence has never been involved in a filmproject before, so there were a lot of unfamiliar possibilities to consider. In the end though, after the project had been thoroughly explained, they said something I wasn’t sure I was going to hear: they would go for it. I felt like jumping up and down.
For the cast and crew, this means that we are a big step closer to making “The Finish Line.” One major location remains to be found: a fantastic front yard. I expect this step to be much simpler, though; we have perhaps thousands of citrus-filled front yards to explore as opposed to just a handful with the right kind of back-yard fence.