Oh well: Roll Tide anyway

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Well, it's Saturday night as I write this, and my Crimson Tide has lost another Iron Bowl. It wasn't a nasty slaughter, and for that I am grateful. &#8220Roll Tide anyway,” I always say.

Regardless of whether Alabama wins or loses, I will always be a Tide fan (sorry, Austin, I am beyond converting).

That's just the way it is. Being a faithful Tide or Tiger fan is as much a part of being a native of this state as drinkin' sweet tea and saying &#8220ya'll” and &#8220over yonder.”

Good manners are another part of growing up in the South, and it was so nice last week to stop in and see those polite youngsters, the gifted third graders at the center on School

Highlands Road.

Even before their teacher, Lisa Peavy, asked them, &#8220What do you tell Mrs. Long?” several of the children individually thanked me for coming to see them and get their viewpoint on Thanksgiving.

They are not only bright and talented; they are also well-mannered young people. Kudos to their parents and teachers for obviously setting good examples for them.

She's not a southerner, but I told her we'd make her an honorary Alabamian. I am speaking of the delightful Maggie Renzi, hands-on film producer for &#8220Honeydripper,” which completed filming last weekend.

Maggie was gracious enough to allow me on the set again last week to (literally) go behind the scenes. She also let me bring along Haley Stinson, a journalism student at Greenville High, who is writing about the movie for her school newspaper.

Maggie is smart, funny, personable and very professional. She obviously knows what's what when it comes to the art and craft of film making. That seemed to hold true for every person connected with the film.

As Haley pointed it, it sure takes &#8220a lot of stuff” to make a movie. Big stuff and little stuff: lights, cranes, reflectors, cameras, tape measures, costumes, miles of cords connecting all the paraphernalia, the all-important portable toilets, tiny brooms to whisk lint or dust from actor's apparel.

All that stuff has a special function and there's someone in charge of making sure it's used properly. As Maggie said, &#8220Everyone knows what they are doing, and they do their job, and do it right, and it all works out.”

Controlled chaos is definitely what it is, and I am impressed. The film crew typically worked 12-14 hour days, in all kinds of weather, and not necessarily the most comfortable of circumstances.

Those who only want a cushy movie experience need not apply for a John Sayles movie, anyway.

Maggie had told me earlier they avoid hiring anyone with a &#8220prima donna” reputation for their films.

&#8220If we think someone's going to be a problem, we don't hire them. We don't pay huge salaries, but actors want to be in our movies because we offer good, well-written roles, especially for minority characters.”

That holds true for their crew members, too. Looking around the set, there were several black faces behind the camera as well as in front of it.

&#8220Hollywood is still largely a white male-dominated environment, but we're trying to do what we can to change that,” Renzi said.

A lot of local folks, black and white alike, got to play a part in the movie, from speaking (and singing) roles, to serving as stand-ins, extras and interns on the film.

Thank you, John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, for bringing such a memorable experience to our county. We can't wait until the movie comes out in 2007.

And maybe, just maybe, the Tide will roll again next year, too.

Wonders can happen!

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.