When you think of North Carolina, the desolate beauty of the famous Outer Banks may come to mind. Or the breathtaking Biltmore House, which is America's largest private home. Or the college basketball rivalries of the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tarheels. Or perhaps you think of tobacco, manufacturing, furniture...all of these things are a big part of what attracts people to our state.
Yet, we're about so much more. For instance, did you know North Carolina is a haven for movie and television production? So much so, Wilmington, NC has been called “Hollywood East.”
Enticed by the variety of scenery from rugged mountains to the west and quaint coastal towns to the east, several production companies have east-coast offices and studios in and around Wilmington. The largest, EUE Screen Gems Studios, is the largest studio east of California. Boasting space for five productions at the same time, the studio is situated on a 50-are tract and has an estimated 700 crew members to accommodate any size production's needs. Some of the companies that have used the facilities include Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO, Paramount-Vantage, NBC Universal, Warner Bros. Television, ABC Studios, and Alcon Entertainment. And yes, the studio gives tours!
Television shows like One Tree Hill, Matlock, Eastbound & Down, Dawson's Creek, Surface, Under the Dome, Secrets and Lies, Sleepy Hollow, Homeland, and Revolution to name a few used Wilmington as their backdrop.
And the movies! Wow—there have been some blockbuster titles shot in the ol' Tarheel state. Like The Hunger Games, Iron Man 3, Dirty Dancing, Forrest Gump, The Color Purple, Tammy, The Conjuring, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Safe Haven, The Longest Ride, The Choice, Last of the Mohicans, The Patriot, Bull Durham, and soooo many more. To date, North Carolina has been the setting for over 800 television and movie productions.
When you're visiting North Carolina, you don't have to sit the bench and wait to catch the movie on the big screen or the show on the television. Several casting agencies listed with the North Carolina Film Commission and the Wilmington Film Commission are always looking for extras.
While you're visiting the television show and film sets in our great state, whether it's in the mountains along the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway or along the coast, there are a couple laws you should always keep in mind to avoid turning your dream stay into a not-so-pleasurable experience.
- It’s illegal to practice as a professional psychic or fortune-teller. But it's okay if you're only an amateur.
- Visiting the dead after midnight is against the law. Graveyards are not included in North Carolina's hopping nightlife.
- Bingo games can not last five hours or longer, and no alcohol can be served. Do not play bingo and drink.
- If a man and woman who aren't married go to a hotel and register themselves as married, they are then according to state law, married. Congratulations!
- It's against the law to sing off key. If you're going to sing, make it good.
- Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields. So now you know.
If you're planning a trip to our state, check out the North Carolina Film Commission's website. They usually have a listing of movies and television shows in production. You don't have to go to Hollywood to catch a “star” sighting. There's plenty right here in the Tarheel State.
Lynn Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television industry, and owned a small-town newspaper (much like Ava Logan). She's lived in North Carolina her entire life and can't imagine living anywhere else. Her novel, Shamus-Award finalist, Wink of an Eye, (Minotaur, 2014) won the SMP/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel competition, making her the first woman in a decade to win the national contest. Her debut novel, The Rising, (Harbourlight, 2013) won the Grace Award for Excellence in Faith-based Fiction. Tell Me No Lies is the first title in the Ava Logan Mystery Series with Henery Press.
Lynn Chandler offers an exclusive ARC of Tell Me No Lies (Henery Press, February 2017) ** ARC will be sent as soon as it's available, around October. Leave a comment here to win!
Learn more about Lynn Chandler here: http://lynnchandlerwillis.com and Wink of an Eye, Winner of the 2013 St. Martin's Press/PWA Best 1st PI Novel Competition