|August 17. 2003 6:01AM|
Micanopy photographer Gene Page
knows big-city lights, yet relishes life in small-town North
By CRISTY LOFTIS
|Gene Page, with his pony
tail, beard and army jacket, is not your typical
Hollywood still photographer. But he has more than 30
movie credits to date. In fact, you'll see Page's
photographs in ads, movie theaters and Web sites when
"Jeepers Creepers 2" hits the theaters Aug. 29. Here,
Page peers through the lens of one of his first cameras;
he began learning about photography and darkrooms at the
age of 9. |
|Profession: Still photographer for
the film industry who lives near
Family: He and his wife, Kim, have a
son Gene, 8, and daughter Carter, 5.
St. Petersburg Junior College, University of Florida
and Long Island University.
Special to The Sun
ar from the glitz
of Hollywood, you will find Gene Page savoring the quiet life, amid
the oak-canopied dirt roads and quaint antique shops of
Page and his family - wife Kim, son Gene, 8, and
daughter Carter, 5 - blend well with other residents of this town 15
miles south of Gainesville. A forest hides their house from the dirt
road. A tin roof slopes over their oversized, screened-in porch.
Antique furniture fills their home, giving it the peaceful
resemblance to the dozen antique shops that decorate Micanopy's
Page's small-town lifestyle is in stark contrast to
his professional one. Page is a Hollywood still-film photographer
with more than 30 movie credits, including "Basic," "Jeepers
Creepers," "Swimfan" and "Bio-Dome," to name a few.
photographs the action on movie sets, alongside the movie camera.
His photographs are then used to publicize the movies.
not as easy as you think it would be," Page says. "You cannot just
take a camera and walk on a film set."
Page must stay keenly
alert, dodging other numerous cameras and staying absolutely quiet,
so not to distract the actors.
Ray Angelic, production
manager for the film "Serving Sara," worked with Page on
"Strangeland" and "Down." While Page may not be graceful, says
Angelic, he's always mindful of what's going on and stays in the
Page deviates from the typical Hollywood look with
his pony tail, beard and army jacket, Angelic says.
gun-owning, swamp-dwelling, Land Rover-driving guy who gets to hang
out with John Travolta," Angelic says.
Page worked with
Travolta on "Basic," filmed in Jacksonville, and is currently
working with him in Tampa on "The Punisher," which will be released
Page's photographs will be in advertisements,
movie theaters and Web sites when "Jeepers Creepers 2" hits the
theaters Aug. 29.
|This photo showing Gene
Page, far right, along with actor Stephen Baldwin and
comedian Pauly Shore from the set of the movie
"Bio-Dome" was part of a surprise birthday gift to
Page's wife, Kim.
age began learning about photography and
darkrooms at the age of 9. His grandfather owned the Bradenton
Herald, and he and brother Roby played on the presses and in the
darkrooms after hours.
About that time, Page found a vintage
1930s 8mm movie camera and began taking pictures. He began spending
more time at the Herald and even began taking on photo assignments
when pictures needed to be reshot.
"They thought I was just
taking paperwork back to the darkroom," Page says.
became a movie maker in the fourth grade. While attending the
Episcopalian school in Bradenton, he convinced the mayor's son to be
in his adaptation of "Dracula."
Page's family later moved
overseas to Germany, Italy and Taiwan, but it was in California,
that Page spent much of his time sneaking onto film sets at
"Living in California exposed me to the
film industry unlike any other place," Page recalls.
frequented film sets so often that, once seated on the visitor tour
tram, he knew the best locations at which to jump off and get a
sneak peek at the action.
At 17, Page remembers sneaking into
a prop truck to get out of the rain when actor Steve Martin came in,
in hopes of finding a prop golf club.
"He was looking for a
weapon that wouldn't be too violent for the time slot he was in,"
A prop man finally had to come and find it for
"They probably thought I was a legitimate visitor on
the set, when in reality I had jumped off the tram," Page
Following high school, Page joined the Air Force, and
later attended the University of Florida.
It was in
Gainesville that Page met his future wife, Kim, in his first
photography class. Later, he, Roby and Kim all worked together as
photographers at The Independent Florida Alligator.
Gene and Kim was all about classes and the police scanner, Page
recalls. "Some of the dates that we went on involved accidents on
I-75," Page says.
When Johnson Hall and the old Rathskeller
pub caught fire at UF, Gene recalls he and Kim hiring a plane at $60
per hour to get the first aerial shot of the damage.
1989, Gene and Kim applied for graduate school at Long Island
University, aiming for master's degrees in fine arts and
photography. At the same time, they both interned at Newsday.
hree years later, at a motion picture/still-film workshop
in Maine, Page got to work on the film "Man Without a Face,"
starring Mel Gibson, and Page says he fell in love.
first hired to work on the set of "Heading Home" in 1993. He was
also working part-time as a newspaper photographer in Syracuse and
thus had to commute four to five hours a day.
"When I think
back on those days, I'm proud of myself for doing it," Page says.
After that, Page says, things mushroomed. Contacts he made
while working on "Heading Home" led to 18 more movie
"It's who you know and what you can do," Page
The couple later moved to Manhattan and freelanced at
Newsday. Once again Page listened to police scanners for leads on
where to get pictures. He's witnessed fires, accidents and
One of the most sobering things Page had to shoot
was a plane crash on Long Island in which 73 people died. Page said
he saw bodies on the ground, in trees. He remembered it was
drizzling, the power lines were down and a little girl was
"Being on a film set and having it all be fake - I'll
take that any day after a lifetime of seeing the real stuff," Page
Page says he savors the creativity and artwork that
goes into filmmaking, and he is relieved that when someone gets
shot, the director calls cut and the person gets back
"The blood on my shoes is fake now," Page says.
1996, he worked on "Bio-Dome" with comedian Pauly Shore. He was on
the set during his wife's birthday and wanted to surprise her with
something special. Kim opened an envelope and pulled out three small
pieces of paper that, when put together, read, "Happy" "Birthday"
"I thought, 'Well . . . he ran out of time,' " Kim
It was then that she noticed a Polaroid photograph
of her husband, Shore and actor Stephen Baldwin proudly holding the
three sheets of paper. Kim still has the three pieces of paper and
s life in Manhattan became increasingly chaotic, Page
thought back to the small bed and breakfast, located in a sleepy
Florida town, where he and Kim had honeymooned years earlier. That
sleepy town was Micanopy.
"I told Kim I wanted to live where
I couldn't see anybody else," Page recalls, "And that's reasonable
after living in Manhattan."
The town of Micanopy has its own
Hollywood connections. "Cross Creek" starring Mary Steenburgen, and
"Doc Hollywood," starring Michael J. Fox, had been filmed there.
While many Micanopy citizens were used as extras in the films, by
the time the movies were completed, it was back to its slow pace.
When the Pages built their home in 1996, Page says it was if
Hollywood had never been there.
or Page, a typical day on a movie set is about 12 hours. He
begins work about two hours later than the rest of the crew, which
allows the actors to go through costume and makeup and the lights to
get set just right for shooting. Page says lighting the set takes
Page uses a special camera attachment, called a
blimp, which absorbs any sounds the camera may make. His job is to
get phenomenal pictures to promote the movie, while staying out of
the way of the cameras, crew and actors.
Working in a
high-stress environment pays well . . . in Page's case about $50 per
hour, he says. This allows him to spend all his time away from movie
sets back in North Florida with his family.
the film industry as its own little world. He says each movie set is
filled with creative, interesting people. He's had lively
discussions with cast members and crew about gun control, birth
control, drug use and socialism.
"I got into an in-depth
discussion with an L.A. Israeli film producer about Jesus," Page
One of Page's most memorable conversations was with
actor Robert Englund on the set of "Strangeland." Englund played the
infamous Freddy Krueger in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies.
Page and Englund spent hours talking about Southern and Civil War
history. Englund told Page he enjoys going to South Carolina to
watch the Citadel students practice marching on the parade
Page is also excited about working on "The Punisher"
with Travolta because it will be shot in Tampa, which means he will
be able to see his family more often and hopefully bring them onto
the set. He likes to take his wife and children on the set when
While Page loves his life in quiet Micanopy, he
doesn't plan on slowing down his career anytime soon.
this job like none other," Page says.