Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trip to The Myrtles to Interview Heather Graham and The Peace River Ghost Trackers

About a month or so ago, I contacted Connie Perry to request an interview with Heather Graham. After sending Connie the list of questions, she suggested I meet them at The Myrtles on February 8th to do the interview “live”. Heather has a new series coming out in April, and they were planning on shooting the book trailer. I excitedly agreed and enlisted my trusted wingwoman, Rhonda McKey.

February 8th arrived right on time, and I woke at 4 am, unable to sleep. So I visited with my husband while he got ready for work, and once the family left the house, I set about preparing for the day’s events. I arrived at Rhonda’s house about ten a.m., and we made our way to St. Francisville.

First stop – The Magnolia CafĂ© where we grabbed lunch. The staff was very friendly, and the atmosphere warm and cozy. The meal was good – a lot of food for the money. Definitely need to remember that two people can split. Once done, we called Connie to let her know that we were almost there and wanted to ensure they weren’t heading off to lunch. She said they had a table of food setup, which we were welcome to eat. Alas, we were full.

Next stop – The Myrtles. Upon arrival, the grounds appeared empty, but we soon discovered that Heather and her group were just finishing up their guided tour of the plantation. Connie re-introduced us to Heather, who gave us a very warm and excited welcoming. Heather’s family and friends were there as the cast of her book trailer, including her PR from Truth Be Told, Bridget LeVien and author, Kathleen Pickering.

The actual shoot was supposed to start at 1 pm, so while we waited for the camera guy and the paranormal team to show up, I interviewed Heather. Unfortunately, I started off recording with an ancient hand-held mini tape recorder. What was I thinking??? Needless to say, it started malfunctioning toward the end of the interview, but thankfully I only lost one section. I then switched to using the Note Recorder on my BlackBerry, which is what I should have done to begin with! Lesson learned.

The interview went very well. Heather was great at giving in-depth answers to the spontaneous questions. I got a lot of good information.

After the interview, we milled about while continuing to wait for the camera man and paranormal investigators. When they did get there, I spoke with Sprout from The Peace River Ghost Trackers. Very nice, friendly and informative group of people. I’m glad I got my interviews beforehand because later in the day when they were setting up with their equipment in the plantation, they started running into problems because of legality issues of where they could set their cameras and stuff and video equipment. They were upset because they couldn’t put their equipment exactly where they wanted to.

Sitting around waiting on the shoot was the hardest part because there’s long breaks in-between … they did some scenes inside where it was kind of hard for everybody to sit around and watch. I watched all of the ones that were outside and got some good pictures.

Heather works very closely with the cameraman, which was very cool to see. They were all dressed up in period costume. Kathleen Pickering was doing a behind-the-scenes shooting (documentary) of the trailer that she’s going to put on You Tube, and since we weren’t staying the night, hopefully they’ll be able to give me their take on their ghost-hunting ventures.

The most interesting shoot was when “the senator’s wife” fell off the building. Kathy DePalo did a great job. She nailed the “dead” look with her eyes wide open. If they had done it with her eyes closed, it wouldn’t have been as effective or made such an impact. She did such a good job of holding her breath and holding still …
We hadn’t planned on staying past four, but it was such an interesting process to see unfold. I wanted to be there for all the scenes.

We also met a very interesting character who works for The Myrtles – Ginger Snapp. He’s a very colorful individual - friendly and entertaining. I interviewed him for the Myrtles side of my venture.

My take on The Myrtles – during the day, there is nothing spooky about it. Of course, I didn’t go upstairs nor did I take the tour again (I’d gone a few years ago with my kids, niece and sister – even then, I didn’t find anything otherworldly). The stories around the plantation are definitely creepy. It’s like with any paranormal haunting. Sometimes I think the media just over-exploits it, and of course, The Myrtles has to draw the crowds in so they have to hype up the sensationalism of it. But still, it’s worth a trip out there even if its during the day. Perhaps I’ll be able to spend the night there sometime in the future. Although, we did have some friends stay overnight (in the slave quarters) not too long ago, but they didn’t experience anything unusual or spooky except the atmosphere. All in all, it’s a really neat place to go … it has a lot of Louisiana history …

Rhonda and I had a really good time. It was a nice escape. Kathleen enlisted Rhonda’s aide to “shoot the documentary” while they shot the final scene with everyone in it. Then at one point, the camera guy used Rhonda as a sort of stunt double for Heather Graham.

It was definitely worth taking the day off to participate in Heather’s book trailer. I hope her video comes out exactly like she wants it, and I can’t wait to see it. I am also anxiously waiting to see if they had any ghostly visitors during the night!

I've uploaded a few pictures, so check them out on my picture page.

Carpe Amor!

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