Frontgate Photo Shoot - Christmas Comes Early

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 Don't you just love the first snow fall of the season? 

When it's 80 degrees outside, you're wearing shorts, and watching the snow being shoveled off of the sidewalk of your neighbor's home?  

Wait a minute.....what!?

YES, you read that right. Look closely at the girl in the left side of the photo above and  NO, they were NOT filming the latest installment of the "Home Alone" series. Let me tell you how it happened.

It started with a letter, hand delivered, in the middle of a Monday afternoon, by a gal I'd never seen before. In my very small village, that's kind of unusual.

I took a quick glance  at the letter that she handed to me. Needless to say the words JUMPED off the page at me. FRONTGATE...PHOTO SHOOT...  and the address? Just two doors down the street from my home!

Any one who has ever seen this home can understand why it was chosen. It's spectacular. The level of detail is amazing. (and Yes, I agree, it COULD have been the site for the filming of the latest "Home Alone" movie...but that's not what we're talking about.)

There was only one thing were only two things to do:
1) Call to ask for permission to hang out at the shoot and blog about it and
2) Bake cupcakes.

You see, I figure that if I'm going to ask a bunch of questions and hope that people will share information with me while they're doing their jobs, I had better bring food!

I spoke to Kate Levinson of Kate Levinson Locations, Inc.,  (the location scouting service for this shoot.) She put me in touch with Elise Hibbard, her assistant, whom I'd  met on Monday.  It was Elise who had found the house for the shoot and who was gracious enough not only to explain how their service works, she also shared the interior shot below and some exteriors with me.


This shoot was the final day of a four-day session for Frontgate's Christmas Catalog. It included two days of shooting Christmas trees and other products in a studio, one day at a different location in the Chicago metro area (for interior shots of decorated trees), and this shoot which involved just a couple of interior shots but was mainly exterior shots of Frontgate's new holiday product line.

I also met and spoke with  Brad Fox, Vice President and Partner at Big Shoulders Digital Video Productions. Big Shoulders was hired to shoot the "still shots" as well as the video for the Frontgate website.

 That's "snow" under those blankets...4,700 pounds of it!

 In addition to the location and video crews, there was a lighting crew, the guys in charge of the moving truck that hauled the product and, OF COURSE, the customer, Frontgate.  This group functioned pretty much as a single unit, each performing their art and all of them pitching in, where needed, to get the job done. They finished about an hour ahead of schedule, thanked one another, and were headed back inside for a couple of final shots when I said good night and headed home.

In the morning, my street was quiet and you'd never know that there had a Christmas catalog shoot on the property a mere 6 hours ago...

well...except for the fact that it was over 80 degrees and no one else on the street had snow in their front yard!

It was a remarkable experience and I'd like to sincerely thank Kate Levinson, Elise, Big Shoulders and Frontgate for allowing me to be on site and to blog about this shoot.  I can't wait to see the catalog and I hope that I'll be able to join them "on location" in the future. You know that if I do, I'll absolutely share it!



P.S. For those of you who asked when you saw this on my Facebook fan page, these are pre-release products and the homeowners were not allowed to keep them. They were packed and returned at the end of the shoot. The homeowners were compensated for having their home used for the shoot.