Movies and holiday TV episodes are often a huge part of our modern traditions. Sometimes that means curling up with a sweet classic, or laughing out loud with a more colorful vision of the season, as seen thru a child’s eyes. Other times nothing says “Happy Holidays” like non-stop action and giant explosions. “Yippee-ki-yay” as they say. In this spirit, the Washington Filmworks staff wanted to share some of our holiday movie and TV memories, both working on set, and the favorites we watch again and again.
Amy Lillard, Executive Director – Being the mother of a six year old, I know all animated holiday films. I’m a fan of last year’s Rise of the Guardians and can attest to the fact that Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer really holds up. But I have to admit that I’m eagerly looking forward to my son Dax’s foray into live-action holiday fare!
Cris Walters, Administrative Assistant – I was working at Universal Pictures when Ron Howard directed Jim Carrey in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I enjoyed seeing the Whos from Whoville gather around the craft services tables, fully dressed in crazy costumes and makeup outside the sound stages. It brought a bit of Christmas to the lot and it wasn’t even winter. The sets and costumes were great, and Jim Carrey earned my respect for maintaining high levels of professionalism while suffering under a hot and heavy costume throughout a very long film shoot. My favorites are White Christmas, Elf, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Ken Hagen, Accounting Assistant – Ken is our in house movie memorizer. His mental archive of film and television references is incredibly impressive and simultaneously terrifying. Of course his list of holiday favorites came complete with memorable quotes.
- Die Hard “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…”
- Bad Santa “Goodnight, Santa. Goodnight, Mrs. Santa’s sister.”
- A Christmas Story “Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defense.”
Julie Daman, Director of Finance & Operations – All the TV shows I worked on shot holiday episodes. These famously shoot in October making the season come a little early every year. But one of my favorites was a short film called Santa’s Last Christmas that my friends and I made in middle school. In it a fading movie star (think anything played by Joan Crawford) murders Santa because his Christmas television specials consistently had higher ratings than hers. A feisty, talent agent turned private eye, along with helpful elves, solves the murder mystery and saves Christmas. The best line was Santa’s dying words: “Don’t Ho Ho Hurt Me!”
Jessie Wilson, Programs & Communications Coordinator – Once I played a character named Christmas Johnson. She was always applying Aqua Net and I’m sure I sacrificed many brain cells shooting that spoof. Eventually Christmas was drowned in her bathtub and the actor who killed her got super into the scene, so it was chilling to shoot. His last line was “Christmas is over!” My holiday must-see is Scrooged with Bill Murray, and the Seinfeld episode The Strike has inspired many Festivus parties with friends, although the traditional “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength” always get out of hand.
Krys Karns, Production Services Coordinator – A funny memory is working as an assistant costumer on a Christmas horror movie called Jack Frost about a genetically mutated, murderous snowman. (The one with Shannon Elizabeth, not the one with Michael Keaton.) I was in charge of “scarf continuity” in all the scenes that featured the killer snowman, and we would patch holes in his costume with shaving cream. As for some of my favorites to watch, I like the comedies and classics like National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas.
One way to make a story marketable, and memorable, is to set it during the holidays; something to consider as you map out your next project. Case in point is the 2012 holiday film Switchmas, directed by local filmmaker Sue Corcoran and shot in festive Leavenworth, which doubles for the fictional Christmastown, Washington. If you haven’t seen Switchmas, it’s available online on Hulu as part of Hulu for the Holidays. And whether you’ll spend the end of this year making movies, or watching them, Washington Filmworks wishes you and yours a very happy holiday season!