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Just shootin' in the rain

Ingenuity and crossed fingers get film crews through deluge

Enough, already, with November's notorious downpours!

Think you've been inconvenienced? Try shooting exteriors for a movie or TV series here at this time of year.

Indeed, recent conversations overheard about soggy shoots weren't necessarily referring to rain-soaked plants.

Crews on Among Friends, the Hallmark feature starring Gabrielle Anwar and Craig Sheffer, and three episodes of At The End of My Leash, the Slice show featuring dog trainer Brad Pattison and his canine companions had their work cut out for them.

So persistent was the precipitation, the action in Among Friends had to undergo a change of seasons.

"We had some flowers so we were able to spring-it-up for a spring wedding, but for the rest of the movie we played autumn," said production manager Allen Lewis, noting crews had to exploit their ingenuity on the shoot that took place at locations from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt .

With most of the filming taking place at E-town's English Inn, posing as a posh bed-and-breakfast resort in northern California, director Walter Klenhard at least had the advantage of being able to work around the meteorological mayhem.

"That was the beauty of filming there," Lewis said. "We'd go outside when the weather was nice and inside when it poured."

Their challenges included having to take advantage of small weather windows on the fly -- as when clouds parted long enough to shoot the wedding, rescheduled from Wednesday to Saturday because of inclement weather.

A similar situation occurred on the weekend during filming of horseback sequences on Finlayson Arm Road.

"There was this little patch of blue so we pulled the team forward to get shots of the horse-riding," he said. "Half an hour later it was pouring rain."

He was particularly pleased with "gorgeous" autumnal shots of sheep grazing in Metchosin.

"The biggest problem we had was noise from seaplanes," Lewis said, noting that because of a weather-induced shooting schedule change, the cameras ended up rolling just as planes started landing and taking off.

While the weather was an issue, Lewis had high praise for other aspects of the 15-day shoot that wrapped Sunday.

"The locations are unparalleled and the crews are great," he said. "I want to bring as many projects back here as I can."

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CHRISTMAS STARLIGHT CINEMA: Moviegoing al fresco isn't just a summer pastime. Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort is screening Christmas movies on its harbourfront patio next month, beginning with Miracle on 34th St. on Dec. 1.

Other free Tuesday and Wednesday night screenings (6 p.m.) include White Christmas (Dec. 2), The Grinch (Dec. 8), The Santa Clause (Dec. 9), Home Alone (Dec. 15), A Christmas Carol (Dec. 16), Elf (Dec. 22) and It's a Wonderful Life (Dec. 23).

Although the "cinema" will be warmed with heaters, you're encouraged to bring your own chair and blanket, and a donation for Santa's Anonymous. Hot chocolate and other goodies will be available at a concession stand.

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IN THE DOGHOUSE: It's not as if Brad Pattison didn't have enough on his plate here this month helping dogs and their exasperated owners resolve behavioural problems during filming of his popular show At The End of My Leash.

Even during his down time the dynamic dog advocate and trainer found himself curbing bad behaviour.

After going for dinner downtown on Nov. 14 with the show's dog wrangler Leslie Reid and her fiancé Ryan King, Pattison noticed four drunk males stomping on the hoods of cars in the 1200 block of Broad Street.

They alerted a security officer, called Victoria Police and followed the miscreants who damaged a Ford Taurus, a Honda Civic, a Honda Accord and a Ford Escape by jumping on top of the vehicles, laughing and high-fiving each other.

"He followed the group and gave us some descriptions and with this information we were able to find the guys responsible," Victoria police Sgt. Grant Hamilton said.

Four drunken males aged 23-25 were located and arrested near the 500 block of Johnson and brought back to the station, where one urinated over the cell area and screamed and pounded on cell doors, Hamilton said.

An investigation revealed the men, none who live in Victoria, had earlier been ejected from a Salmon Kings game. The men, facing charges of mischief, were released and are scheduled to appear in court Dec. 18.

Pattison is known for giving back to communities he shoots in, but this exploit had to be a first.

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