August 14, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action! with Award Winning Author, Lynn Chandler Willis

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!


  1. Spent some good times in North Carolina, both on the Outer Banks and in the mountains. I knew a lot of films were made in N.C., but wasn't aware just how many. Thanks for the revisit to your state.

  2. Wow! You have sold me on your state of North Carolina. I have visited the Biltmore and it truly is as great as many of the castles and great houses I have seen in England when living there. The scenery in N.C. is very beautiful but I had no idea of the media involvement you have. Now I want to want another trip and check it out.
    I am impressed with all of your past occupations. I wish you success with all of your books.

  3. Will be going to Cherokee NC in Sept!

    Sounds like a beautiful place to visit

    thanks for sharing
    Good luck and God's blessings

    1. Thanks, Pam! Enjoy Cherokee. It's a wonderful place and in Sept the leaves will just be beginning to change. Gorgeous that time of year.

  4. Lynn, I knew quite a lot about the filming in your state, just not to the extent it has grown to.

    The laws on the books were a hoot and I appreciate the Sunday laugh.

    Wishing you the best with your books and thank you for a fun post. Angela Raines/Doris McCraw

  5. I was born in SC, and love Asheville! I've been behind that waterfall in Last of the Mohicans, and it is amazing. In fact, wrote a novella published under my pen name by TWRP featuring a scene behind it. Best wishes with your novels!

  6. Hi Lynn - waving from Wilmington! Nice post - I'm sharing on my personal and book pages on Facebook.

    1. Ah - waving from Hollywood East :)

  7. That was a lot of surprising information about the film industry in your state. I know that films are made in many locations, not only in L.A., but this bit of information I never knew. Too, those old state laws, not only does your sense of humor shine through, but are any of those law upheld? I was in North Carolina briefly once, drove along the outer banks. Beautiful country around. Actually drove from Myrtle Beach, VA and felt a calling to go to your state, so went to Roanoke, also the Wright Brothers Field. Never been there, didn't know my way around but something told me to go and I'm so glad I did.

    1. The laws are still on the books but I don't think they're ever enforced. I HOPE not anyway LOL

  8. I bet the Seniors are disappointed about the Bingo/no booze law. Too funny!
    I knew that "The Hunger Games" and "Safe Haven" were filmed here, but had no idea about the extent of the interest in filming in NC.

  9. I laughed out loud at NC laws. Have enjoyed visits to Cape Fear Crime Festival in Wilmington in past years. Lovely part of the country! Thanks for sharing, Radine

  10. I've lived in NC all my life and like you, wouldn't consider living anywhere else. I am a little disappointed that I can't plow a cotton field with an elephant, though. Always thought they were cute and would pull that plow with ease. :) Best --

  11. Diane BrownAugust 16, 2016

    Loved reading this. Now I understand why I was not allowed to sing outside the house. Great writing as usual.


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