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Behind the Scenes of the Truman Show

Gail Morgan, with the Emerald Coast Film Commission, asked local residents for their behind the scene stories of The Truman Show. Scott Jackson tells his behind the scenes story, “I was invited to be an extra by the recommendation of former of Film Commissioner, Christine Pincince. I was scheduled for a wardrobe fitting at a hotel room in the Sandestin Hilton. I was dressed in khaki slacks, white shirt, tie and sport coat. I was admonished to make sure that I dressed in that way with no substitutions each day on the set.

truman_2The movie was to appear as if it was a spring time or mild climate but since it was shot in Dec and Jan it got pretty darn cold. The first day of principal shooting we were to all meet at an assembly area on the property of the Christian International Church parking lot at 5200 US HWY 98 E, Santa Rosa Beach, FL. This was a large open parking lot with buses hired to shuttle us to a large tent at the set in Seaside. It was about a 10 minute drive to the set. Everybody was in their wardrobe so we had all kinds of people: cops, firemen, military, nurses, business people and tennis players – the whole spectrum.

We were all under a large tent and got a briefing by the production assistants about how things were going to work and to be patient. But above all to be responsive. They told us to never approach Jim Carrey on the set, but if he engages you that is ok. He wanted to stay in character, a role different from some of his zanier bits.

truman_1I was cast as a businessman and was given a briefcase as a prop. Most of the scenes I was in were shot in the main circular drive of Seaside where the majority of merchant activity was. There were scenes in which Jim was downtown walking about and we were background activity, so they had to use a bull horn to get everybody on their marks and move the action. Since it was cold on a few days of shooting they let us take jackets and sweaters but we had to hide them just before cameras rolled.

I was in about 3-4 different scenes over the 10 days but mostly I waited in the tent with many of the others. Upon finally seeing the film I noted I never made the final cut. It was fun experience nonetheless. Jim did cut up a little bit between takes and I got to see him up close but for the most part I didn’t see him all that much.”

What does it mean to be an extra on Hollywood movies like The Truman Show?

The Truman Show’s extras weren’t Hollywood actors trying to catch a break; extras were actually local Seaside residents excited about a big movie being filmed in their backyard. The roles of store clerks were played by Charlie Sr., Sarah Modica and their son Charlie Jr. Logan Kelly, a local radio personality, was cast as a television commentator.

Matt Christ took the part of a young Truman and was the very first time he was introduced to a movie set, “As a very young person at the time, movies seemed magical,” Matt said. Each part of production, from lights and catering made a lasting impression on Matt.

But what got Matt Christ the role of a young Truman? He was the only young child that could read among the other hopefuls. Although Christ was shy when filming began, The Truman Show allowed him to come out of his shell. Jim Carrey had an ice cream truck brought to Seaside just for Christ and when it came to ordering ice cream, Jim would prop Christ up on the counter and order ice cream in an over-exaggerated and hilarious manner.

Other movies filmed on the Gulf Coast include Jaws 2, Transformers 3 and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. Our white sandy beaches, military bases and laid back beach community provide film makers with a large range of filming locations. Bring your production project to the Gulf Coast today!

The Truman Show and Seaside’s Filming Locations

The Truman Show was a film following Truman Burbank after he unexpectedly became famous due to being followed by concealed cameras for 24-hours a day.

seaside film productionThe community’s pastel homes and white picket fences made Seaside the picture-perfect town film producers were looking for. Computer-generated effects included adding upper levels to downtown building and a concrete entranceway to Truman’s office. Truman’s home is actually owned by Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and his wife, Vicky Gaetz. The only modifications film makers made to their home was paint the exterior a bright color and different furniture on the interior. When filming wrapped, Don and Vicky Gaetz found their home restored to it’s original state. Talk about picture-perfect!

Although, one thing does remain.. the Truman’s house number 36. Vicky Gaetz has a theory on why film makers decided to change the house number, “It might have been more visually pleasing to see a number 36 on the house, rather than a 32.”

Cast and crew also enjoyed Seaside’s local businesses which included the bar Shades (now Great Southern Cafe), where the crew would join daily and talk about previous projects and stories of movie stars. In addition to local businesses, The Truman Show also shot on the beaches, which meant large mats needed to be used to vehicles could move over the soft sand.

The Truman Show is one of the most popular movies to be filmed on the Gulf Coast, but our locations and resources don’t stop at the picture-perfect community of Seaside. Contact us today at 850.651.7644 for more information on our resources and incentives!

The Truman Show Helped Northwest Florida’s Economy

The Seaside Times recently published an article on the cult classic, The Truman Show. After Hurricane Opal hit the gulf coast in 1995, some weren’t sure how long it would take for the area to recover from the millions of dollars in damage. What residents of the Florida Panhandle didn’t expect was for a blockbuster hit to begin shooting in their backyard of Seaside.

the truman showThe Truman Show follows Truman Burbank, a regular guy that longs for travel and suddenly becomes famous when concealed cameras follow him for 24-hours a day. What were film makers looking for and why did they choose Seaside over other areas across Florida?

Weir wanted to shoot the movie in a town that looked like it was a storybook and the backlots of Los Angeles weren’t cutting it. After seeing the area in Architectural Digest, Weir’s wife pointed him in the direction of Seaside. “Seaside is a set,” says film producer Edward Feldman. Linda Page Sargeant, Bay County film commissioner, was the person to find all shooting locations and saved the best community for last when showing producers the town that looked like it was ripped from a storybook.

With The Truman Show came hundreds of new temporary residents from Hollywood which threw Seaside into the limelight and helped the local economy.

Share Your Stories and Photos of The Truman Show

If you lived in the Florida Panhandle in 1998 and joined The Truman Show as a crew member or an extra, or attended the screening, The Seaside Times are looking for you! The 1998 movie starred Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Peter Krause, and more. Wendy O. Dixon is looking for your behind the scenes photos and interesting stories that took place during filming.

The Truman Show was able to help the Seaside Neighborhood School and Ruskin Place become what they are today. To share your photos or stories, please contact Wendy O. Dixon at editor@theseasidetimes.com or (850) 387-6822.

Be sure to pick up the July-August issue of The Seaside Times for the stories and photos that have been shared!

Why is Film Production Popular for the Emerald Coast?

Why is the Emerald Coast so popular for film production? Well, for starters, there’s a reason they call this area the “Emerald Coast.” The sands are white as snow, and the water is a beautiful blue-green, cast out in the horizon that is the Gulf of Mexico. For example, Peter Weir and the rest of the crew from “The Truman Show” figured out, the beach architecture is also ideal for filmmaking.

Seaside is that dream beach community, a quaint little town on the water with vast amounts of shops, historical landmarks, and colorful designs everywhere you look. Moreover, the weather here ranges from comfortably warm to plain comfortable, usually idling between 60-80 degrees. The Production Guide actually notes several other primary reasons for filmmaking in this area, including low state and local tax rates; outdoor adventure opportunities for hiking, hunting, kayaking, fishing, etc.; a solid combination of rural and urban environments; and large industrial parks and several military installations(such as Eglin and Hurlburt Air Fields).

So while the area lacks in the stereotypical hustle and bustle of a media mecca like Los Angeles, the Emerald Coast nevertheless retains a thriving film culture that offers many advantages for filmmakers, both local and out of state. Between the weather, diverse environments, and strong support base, there’s no reason why the film industry here cannot rise higher.

For all of our film production crew lists, locations, permits, or accommodations, click here!