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The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin

New York State Of Mind (pt 1)

Glendyn Ivin

(As I write this I'm mid-flight between New York and LA. They have Wi-Fi on the plane! Giddy Up!)
This was my first trip to New York. I cant believe it's taken me so long to get there. What an amazing city. I've been to some great 'cities', Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, London, Paris and I live in what I think is one of the great cities, Melbourne, but New York seriously takes the cake. In some ways it was so familiar because you see so much of it in film, TV and popular culture as a whole, but on the other hand it was so much more intense and awesome than I ever thought it might have been.
My wife Natalie and daughter Rosebud flew over from Australia to join me for the week and it was such a great time. We walked and walked taking it all in. . Met up with friends, old and new. So many images and experiences to sift through.
Whenever I travel to a knew place, it's like from that moment on I see my own POV in everyday life with a slightly wider lens, New York has done that to a tremendous degree, it's almost like a fisheye! I have only just left and I can't wait to go back.
Also whenever I'm in knew places I like to totally geek out and hunt down locations that have been used in films that I love. It was Degrassi Street last week in Toronto, but in New York you could spend months just finding film locations. They are everywhere! So I decided to head out to Brooklyn to find a place that my brother went to last year.
My bro and I where obsessed with the film Saturday Night Fever when we where kids. So I went to find not only the street(s) from the opening credit sequence and in particular the Pizza place that John Travolta gets two slices from. "Gimme Two."
Lenny's Pizza still exists and is still serving Pizza. I don't think it's changed much in 30 years. I had the Vodka Tomato Sauce (yep Vodka!) and Cheese and a slice of margarita. It was really great Pizza!
It's a really cool area, with the overhead train line so iconic in so many films. Really broad accent out here too. "Yoo whann-a Cwup o' Cwoffee?"
They have this framed photo hung at the counter of John visiting the shop, but who is that other guy next to him? You can see the owners have taken pictures from a TV screen to show the scenes where Lenny's is used.
As novel and geeky as it might be, I really love going and finding film locations. I guess I see them as sacred in some way. Alot of thought and consideration goes into choosing a location, and most of the time when you see a great location in reality, you can see why a director has chosen it, it might has great depth, how the lens they used has changed or distorted the reality, or a distinguishing feature that gives it a sense of place (like the overhead Railway in Saturday Night Fever, it's a great piece of production design just sitting there waiting to add value. It's one part of the production process I enjoy the most.
If your as tragic as me, there is a great website here that lists a heap of great films, their locations and how to find them.
(A special hello to my friend Keri D Light, who I met by surprise in a bar last night, which is always where I seem to run into her...! She has just moved to NY and has head full of dreams and inspiration. All the best Keri! I'm so jealous!)