The role of the community
Many producers begin with a script and then search for the smartest location. Lake Effects is different as the idea was inspired by the location first and the script was then built from what already existed.
In creating the film it quickly became evident that this community was going to play the largest “role.” This was confirmed when we were able to fund the project entirely from people tied to the area. It was with this idea that we vowed to showcase and highlight real locations rather than fictionalize them. We hoped this concept would also actively promote economic development and tourism around Smith Mountain Lake. “What About Bob” was filmed here 18 years ago but the name of the lake was changed in the movie, leaving no residual effect for the local residents and businesses.
As we worked tirelessly to greenlight over two years ago, Smith Mountain Lake residents and businesses embraced the film in a way we will never forget. Locations were graciously offered in kind including houses, bars, restaurants, a law office, etc. and individuals offered us the use of their boats, cars, trucks, and even a helicopter. Amazingly, these donations were made with sincere generosity, without any expectations of remuneration or recognition in exchange. Additional resources, such as
lodging, catering, materials, and rental cars aided in allowing us to put more of the film’s money on the screen and keep our budget low. Local artists donated their creative talents, while background artists, set medics and security volunteered their time. Production Assistants worked long shifts as volunteers and Jim Collins, our Transportation Coordinator, refused to accept any payment for the many hours he spent in service to the film. We had over 675 volunteeers, 100 businesses, 22 locations, and endless cheerleaders
that helped make Lake Effects possible.
As filmmakers and guests in the community, we were always acutely aware of our responsibility to give back to this community that played an integral part in making this film possible. The warmth, hospitality, kindness, openness, and abundance of generosity poured out to us by the residents kindled many friendships and we all left with a piece of the Smith Mountain Lake community in our hearts. Many cast and crew left making plans to return to this area. Although a portion of proceeds from this film will be donated to lake cleanup efforts, all this community has given us is priceless. For the many hands that touched Lake Effects and the many faces we will forever remember as a part of this film, this film belongs to the community and we are forever grateful.