Movie makes magic

Clyde Davis: Local columnist

It began in the most inauspicious manner that one could imagine. As I proceeded to the homecoming parade in Portales, I was totally focused on acquiring the green and gray T-shirts we had ordered for our church kids to wear in support of our favorite college athletes. Little did I know that the day would hold surprises of an utterly unanticipated sort.

During the latter part of the day, we found ourselves in the high school gym at Portales, serving as part of the crowd at the filming of the movie, “Believe In Me,” where the scenes involved a high school basketball playoff game. In case you have been living the life of a hermit crab for the past several months, this movie is about a high school girls’ basketball team and their coach in the early 1960s.

That was the beginning. Before the dust had settled at midnight Sunday, the following had occurred: I had shaved and had my hair cut to serve as a featured extra in Sunday’s shooting, playing the role of a basketball referee. Janice had won a script of the movie autographed by the cast. Amanda had won a DVD player autographed by Sony. I had met and gotten the autographs of the real coach and players, who had come to town to watch some of the filming, not to mention of the stars in the movie, Jeffrey Donavan and Samantha Mathis.

I do not promise that these things will happen to you if you show up as a crowd extra in the remaining game filming segments, scheduled for shoot in Clovis, at the gyms of Gattis Junior High and Clovis High School. On the other hand, I can’t promise that they won’t.

I got pulled out of the crowd Saturday night, perhaps because we had filled out paperwork a few weeks ago. I know lots about coaching swimming, wrestling, or strength and conditioning, but my basketball knowledge is limited to having coached one church league girls team because nobody else would do it. (Some people would say that makes for a perfect referee … heh heh.)

I can, however, promise that you will learn a lot about movie-making and what goes into the filming of the sequence, which ends up as a five-minute basketball game segment.

The standard is perfection, at least in this movie, and I was really impressed.

I can promise that the stars and the directors, as well as anyone else you might care to talk with, are highly approachable and genuine. Drop your Hollywood stereotypes, if you have any.

I can promise that the action going on will fascinate you, if you have even the slightest desire to see what goes into making a movie.

I can promise that, if you’re willing to play by the rules — period dress, short hair, etc. — you will get to be part of the crowd scene.

I can promise, too, that you will help the impression which our community has made by showing up to be a part of this production. Everyone with whom I spoke, in terms of the guests from California, commented on how welcomed and warmly received they felt by the local communities. Mom always taught me that hospitality was very vital.

It’s really a privilege to be a part of something such as this, because unless you go out and deliberately seek it, it is not likely to come to you again. Get involved with the movie, at some level. You’ll have an uplifting experience, “believe me.”

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University.