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Movie: "Falling for the Competition" - Now on Amazon Prime

Behind the scenes and fun facts of my most recent TV movie

Ever wonder what it's like to work on a movie set? Or what goes into making a film?

Last winter, I had the pleasure of playing a strong supporting role in the recently released TV movie, "Falling for the Competition," now showing on Amazon Prime. It's a typical love story and I play the lead's mom and owner of the local coffee shop hangout. A bit of a hippie-dippie artistic mom with plenty of unsolicited advice and attitude. In other words, a fun role.

It was also a fun shoot! Director Brittany Goodwin oversaw a terrific cast and crew, and every day on set was a pleasure. People came from all over the country to work on it, but I was lucky enough to be able to commute to set each day, as the locations were only 30-40 minutes from home.

Sometimes the behind the scenes stories are just as interesting as the movie plot!

Laura Doman in her role as Pam, the lead's mom and coffee shop owner, leaning over the counter with a big smile to talk to a customer.
We used a real coffee shop for our location!

How do movies decide where to shoot?

Many movies have their stories set in one geographic location, but film in a totally different place. Factors like great weather, a variety of locations, transportation options, strong local talent, and a large crew base attract productions ... but money, budget. and a pro-business local focus top them all.

For years, Georgia has been offering lucrative tax incentives for productions to film statewide - and it works. Atlanta has become a leading film destination with new production studios calling Georgia home every year. Likewise, the busy TV and film industry is seeing more and more top acting and production talent relocating from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and around the country and calling the Southeast home.

Friendly locals can be a big draw, too, especially when it comes to renting buildings or storefronts or temporarily closing down streets to film a big outdoors scene. Or hiring them as extras! We had some of the nicest people participate in our crowd scenes. In one scene, they were running in a race or cheering on the competitors. In another, they were enjoying an art auction. Because the story takes place in a small town, many people had a chance to appear in more than one scene as their local characters.

What do extras do? They provide the ambiance of a scene and are often featured talking (silently!) in the background, walking near or around the principal actors, or going about their characters' business. They have no speaking lines and need no preparation before showing up on set, except for knowing how to dress for the scene(s) they're in. Once they're called to set, they're assigned places to stand or sit and given simple actions to perform. It's easy work and sociable, too. There are even groups of friends who "make the rounds" of film productions and are known for being good and reliable background actors. Extra work doesn't pay much (usually around $88 for up to 12 hours), but it can be fun for the participants. Just know that it does involve waiting around a lot, just like it does for principal (speaking) actors!

The actors and crew are standing outside between scenes, trying to keep warm in their winter coats.
Baby, it was COLD outside!

Pretending it's a hot summer day when it's actually FREEZING

"Falling for the Competition" takes place in hot, sunny Florida. Would you believe that it was filmed during one of the coldest winters on record in north Atlanta? Yup, the story of the people in this little Florida seaside town was actually shot alongside Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier in north Georgia. Our imaginations were in full gear when we were standing outside in summer sundresses while the wind whipped along in 30 degree temperatures. That's 30 degrees Fahrenheit, not Celsius, and yes, it was COLD.

"Jackets on!" "Jackets off!" accompanied every call of "Action!" and "Cut!" It was almost comical how quickly we launched into our coats when we could and how we waited until the absolute last second when we had to take them off again. Fortunately, craft services often had hot chocolate, coffee, and hot water for tea ready for us back in the main cabin that served as our holding, hair, and makeup area.

An actor is happy when the production is professional, pleasant, and well-run from start to finish. Divas - in front of or behind the camera - need not apply!

The cast stands as a group smiling at the leads, who are not pictured.
All's well that ends well (and it does).

Switching channels: Hallmark to Amazon Prime

Actors seldom know exactly when a project moves from post production to airtime ... or even where it will show up. Sometimes the name of the movie changes, too, from the time it was filmed to just before it's aired.

That was the case here. The movie was originally called "Love Games," but I think the new name "Falling for the Competition" does the plot justice. Produced by One Reel Entertainment, we also expected that it would air on the Hallmark channel. Maybe the SAG-AFTRA strike affected the plans, perhaps it also played a role in why the movie debuted on Amazon Prime almost immediately after the strike ended ... but we're just glad that the movie is out. And that it turned out so well! Not every production that's begun or even completed sees the light of day. There are plenty of stories where money ran out or deals fell through and the project simply died.

The three female leads (of which the author Laura Doman is one) looking aghast at a scene unfolding outside their window.
The trio: the Lovable, the Loud, and the Lovely

My favorite part about the movie

You know what I liked most? That I played one of the three central women in the movie and that we all shared a wonderful dynamic.

I've noticed a pattern in a number of movies with three female characters. There's the lovable lead. That's not me, at least not anymore. Unless the movie is about women "of a certain age" (ha! not likely!), I'm honestly just too old for it. Then there's the gorgeous or glamorous best friend. Hmmm, well, I'm not that type either, and never was. This role was played in our movie by Layla Hoffman, a truly beautiful model/actress from - surprise, surprise! - around Cleveland, Ohio, my hometown. (I knew there was a reason we got along so well!). But then there's the role I am made for! The short, funny one. And I love it! I think I got some of the best lines, too.

An actor is happy when the production is professional, pleasant, and well-run from start to finish. That's exactly what I experienced here! One of the best projects I've worked on recently. And I hope to have the pleasure of working with many of the same people again.

Looking for some good old-fashioned, feel-good, family-friendly entertainment? Then check out "Falling for the Competition" on Amazon Prime. And if you like it, please let me know!

If this behind the scenes look inspires you to want to join in, too, then read this article about how you can get started acting professionally ... the smart way. Know that, unfortunately, there are way too many scammers and con artists out there who prey on unsuspecting aspiring actors. Learn to spot them and stay away! This is a marathon, not a sprint ... don't believe anyone who tells you that you're guaranteed to be an overnight success.

Want help developing your on-camera confidence?

Laura Doman smiling

I'm Laura Doman, a former tech industry sales executive, hands-on mom, voice & TV/film actress, and improv performer. I create memorable characters that tell my client's stories, from the friendly CEO touting new upgrades to your sassy best gal pal dispensing some necessary, real-world advice...Let's Talk!


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