movie making

Canvas by the Sea

“Life is but a canvas to our imagination.” Henry David Thoreau


The City by the Sea, a canvas of sand, sea and sky…on a boardwalk easel.

In the last two weeks I saw three movies being filmed, all in the vicinity of the Allegria  hotel. April 18th the beautiful Scarlett Johansson was on the scene filming, “Rough Night”. Sadly, I didn’t catch sight of any Scarlett.

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“Rough Night” being filmed at the Allegria Hotel In Long Beach, NY

But these last few days two films were being made simultaneously. The first an episode of, “Bull”, a CBS TV series.


The Long Beach boardwalk the set for “Bull”

There seemed to be about fifty people, cast and staff, that filmed on the beach, boardwalk and the Allegria hotel. As one astute observer put it, “There’s a lot of Assistant to the Assistants going on there.” I only shot the set from afar.

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“Bull”‘s on the beach

Then I saw the smaller, gentler crew…by the Gentle Brew.

This compact and efficient group was making the movie, “A Grain of Truth”. It was being filmed at the Gentle Brew coffee shop on the boardwalk, right next to the Allegria. The film is being made by homie, Robert Byrnes (Gotham (2014), Enlightenments (2014) and Long Island Lights (2016). Rob lived in, and still loves, Long Beach, NY.  The movie stars himself and Kristen Roderick with Michelle Lamelza and Kerry Boyle. It’s directed by Faith Bruner, Dir of Photography, Jason O’brien.

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Rob Byrnes, writer and actor

Rob Byrnes grew up in Hicksville but lived for a few years in Long Beach. “That was in the 90s,” he said. He has acted in many projects and has been writing for a while now.  He lives in Manhattan but because he still loves Long Beach he envisioned this, the first film he is making on his own, to take place here.

Byrnes and his staff gave me a lot of Lee-way, so to speak, in shooting the shooting.

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Michelle Lamelza, “Joan” in the film

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Kristin Roderick and Rob Byrnes

“This is a relationship film,” Rob said.

He gave me the gist of the films story:

It’s about a man, Dale McCarthy, a successful writer, living alone in Long Beach. Dale spends his working hours at Gentle Brew Coffee…on the boardwalk. One winter’s day Dale’s world is turned upside down when the love of his life, Savvina Demetriades in search of a summer residence for her family, unexpectedly walks in.

We soon learn of their fairy tale, the pressures placed upon them by loving parents remaining firm to the traditions of their heritage, the placing of blame for unfounded betrayal, and decisions made in haste that would topple true love.

On this winter day, in a sleepy beach town on Long Island, two hearts will finally move on to something new.

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Al Calleo, Gaffer

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Director, Faith Bruner, left, directs Kristin Roderick and Rob as they exit Gentle Brew.

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Jason O’Brien captures the scene


Kristin Roderick embraces Rob for the shot

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Long Beach seascape provides a fine backdrop for the scene.

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The Long Beach wet boardwalk sets the mood while Nick Bedo captures the sound

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Rob Byrnes, pensive at the rail, our oystercatcher nest, background…a cameo on the canvas

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From left, Al Calleo, Kristin Roderick, Rob Byrnes, Faith Bruner, Jason O’Brien, Nick Bedo, Sound

When I asked Rob about his passion for his work he said, “I’ve always been fascinated by the process. An idea is written, a group of people with very different skill sets who may have never met before bring a story to life that leaves an impact on its viewers.”

Rob said, “I was very lucky to assemble a very talented group to make the project happen.”

And so an idea unfolds, from mind…to impact-on-mind. All that is needed is the canvas.

Basically, I think, that’s film making, and art in a nutshell. Bringing artistic ideas, whether through word, picture, paintbrush or music…onto life’s canvas. And Long Beach New York is graced to be…Rob’s.

Be well,
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