Recently we shot our shoe store scene. In this scene, Billy and Annie are in their honeymoon phase, and they’re helping each other try on shoes. Those metal foot measuring devices are surprisingly romantic. The scene is a bit like that familiar moment from the Cinderella story — the moment of trying the shoe on the lover’s foot. Of course, Billy and Annie both already know the shoe is gonna fit.
We went to a Payless Shoe store in Oakland, having called in advance and gotten permission to shoot there. However, once we got there, they promptly turned us away — they had to get approval from corporate, and that involved a series of impossible tasks which no one ought ever dare attempt.
What followed convinced me of the value of supporting locally owned business.
It was time to get on the horn. We made phone calls to just about every shoe store in the East Bay. Time was of the essence, as our cast and crew were waiting patiently to shoot their second scene of the day. Eventually, I talked with the proprietor at See Jane Run, a women’s shoe store in Rockridge. It was incredible: they’d let us shoot, and we could come right in.
And then they were completely helpful and great. And they didn’t have to get approval from corporate! My god, they could help out artists working in their community!
You know who else helped us out that morning: Berkeley Bowl west. Prior to the shoe store scene, we’d shot our grocery store scene that morning. I have no doubt that a mega-grocery store would have required some kind of arcane approval process. It would not have worked. But Berkeley Bowl west had a manager who was willing to say: Hey, your project sounds intriguing. We’d love to help.
Thanks Berkeley Bowl, and thanks See Jane Run. We appreciate that you took a chance with us, and that you were willing to step outside the bounds of what a business-zoned building is for to help our project.
By the way (I learned this from their web site), See Jane Run is a woman-owned and operated company. Very cool!