Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln is the State capital and the second-most populous city after Omaha.  Lincoln is also the county seat of Lancaster County. Downtown could double most medium-sized cities with a nice mix of old and newer building architecture.

Lincoln O Street downtown 2010 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD  100_1963

Walkways over the streets that are connected to buildings are interesting visuals. They also make a walk warmer in winter.

Lincoln walkway connecter 2010 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD 100_1966

Lincoln has been captured on the big screen a few times, from back in the eighties and Terms of Endearment to most recently (briefly) in the movie NEBRASKA.  There have been a few low-budget independent films that chose Lincoln too and the movie Yes Man shot B-Roll at the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.  National commercials have shot here, including Prilosec OTC, History Channel, and Visa, plus many regional spots.

Take a look at this video. A great cross-section of Lincoln action and landmarks: including Memorial Stadium, Pinnacle Bank Arena, downtown, and the Capitol.  Created for University of Nebraska Conference Services. Produced by University Communications in cooperation with CueMotion.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena is new and the area near here that connects to the Haymarket have been big visual changes to this area. The Haymarket is also a wonderful stop for clients and crew for amenities and trinkets.

There are a few visual gems in Lincoln that (IMO) have yet to be highlighted to their beauty and should be by some project. One is the Sunken Gardens near 27th & Capitol Parkway. They are a breath of fresh air near a busy intersection.

cropped-sunken-gardens-lincoln-2009-labeled-jamie-vesay-100_0652.jpgAs the name implies, the property is sunken low from the street, however wide shots from higher points will see the traffic. Sound could also be an issue. The City will work with you to shoot here, but arrange well ahead because it is popular in the warm weather with weddings and visitors.

Filming at the Capitol building has been challenging in the past (for me). Easier and okay (for others). A document that includes a list of requirements and rules does exist but contact the Capitol directly for what current protocol is. 

cropped-lincoln-capitol-west-entrance-pano-shot-labeled-by-jamie-vesay-100_2028-copy.jpg

There are a few gorgeous hallways with great architecture and wonderful natural light.

Lincoln Capitol  walkway 2011 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD treated IMG_1888

Overall, the City of Lincoln is film-friendly. For direct inquiries, start at the Mayor’s Office. Another helpful contact is the Nebraska Film Office, based in Lincoln. They can direct you to other local contacts as well. Naturally, any other location you are interested in should be contacted directly for proper permissions, etc.

Finally (for now) as I say with all location scouting: Hire a local scout that knows the area. If you can’t afford one, build in extra time to look harder and think creatively. Look away from the next obvious list or off the main drag or at places not in the travel brochure. There are surprises hiding but you have to find them. The one below is an example.  A beautiful relic of an enclosed staircase hiding downtown in an alley. With the right frame, it could double New York.

Lincoln encased staircase 2012 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD treated IMG_4846

Be safe.  Have fun.

Photos here and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay  Any USE requires permission. The UNL video is used here with their permission.

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College World Series (CWS) in Omaha

2011 College World Series TD Ameritrade Park

Every year, the NCAA men’s College World Series is held in Omaha, Nebraska.  The city fully embraces the event and the many visitors that come here.  It is great baseball, plenty of parties, and a genuine economic influx for the city.  If you are true baseball fan, this event should be on your bucket list.

Logistically, know that during the CWS, things are booked and busy.  If your project falls near the first three weeks of June, you might have a hard time finding LODGING.  If you can get rooms or a mini-van, know that they are PRICED HIGHER for the event week. Some crew and gear work during this time but you should be okay in this regard. Vendors that provide production supplies (tables, air chillers, etc) might be sold out.

The new stadium, TD Ameritrade Park is downtown and located within streets of newly developed urbanism and old warehousing.  If your location is anywhere near here or if you have to pass here to get to set, note the HEAVY traffic (especially before and after games).  Parking near here is sparse and mostly pay.  Empty lots, that any other time might park production trucks, are now occupied by tents and CWS related parking.

The exterior is a mix of glass and beige brick.  The light towers extend into the sky above the stadium, blocking some views to the city skyline.

Inside, it looks and feels like a brand new stadium.  A tad too cool and clinically modern but this is for the new era.  For most Omahaans, we’re still getting used to the new place.

Part of me wanted the behind-home-plate shot to see the city, like some of the newer major league stadiums, but it does not.  You can see the city from upper decks on the third base side and other neighboring structures from the first base side such as Century Link Center and in the distance, the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge.

There was a rumor once, about a movie that takes place during the CWS and how they wanted to shoot during that time.  In my opinion, doing this would take a bunch of homework and an excessive amount of preproduction planning – at least a year ahead.

IF your client likes baseball and you are coming during this time, they will love you if you get them tickets to a game.  The experience outside the stadium (for adults & kids) now rivals the fun of being at the game.

For years, the CWS was held at the iconic, classic Rosenblatt stadium in south Omaha. From my personal fan perspective and my cinematic soul, I still relish the old stadium. Despite the fact that “Since we built the new one, people have come”,  many of us will miss the ‘Blatt.  Rosenblatt stadium WAS located at 13th Street and Bob Gibson Boulevard – however it HAS been removed.

CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium Thank you ole’ friend.

Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay 2013   ANY USE requires permission.