Star Coaches, Dressing Room Trailers and Honeywagons: Trailers for Film & TV Productions
Dressing room and makeup trailers, star coaches, wardrobe trailers and honeywagons (i.e., mobile toilets) serve as “home away from home” for film and television crews, but these structures are versatile enough to be used by almost any business or private party. Dressing rooms are more spacious since the days when Deanna Durbin used a simple trailer as her dressing room on the 1944 production of “She Can’t Stop Singing.”
Eric Davies (“Saints and Sinners” and “The Sisters”) has been in the business long enough to wear the hats of assistant director, production supervisor, unit production manager and producer. He confides, “Frankly, there’s nothing particularly exciting about trailers.” Still, when you’re looking for a trailer or coach, there are quite a few bells and whistles to choose from.
Homes Away From Home
Star Coaches, like those offered by Olympia Luxury Coaches in Nashville and Star Coaches, Inc. in Atlanta, and are the ultimate home away from home for film stars, music groups, corporate teams and even campaigning politicians. Hydraulic extensions, living rooms, full kitchens, a bath and a bedroom make for easy living; some models even have an exterior wet bar and grill. Even a claustrophobe would be comfortable in one of these coaches.
Companies like Star Wagons, Inc. offer multi-cast or duel action trailers, which are divided into two or three units. Each unit has a dressing table, wardrobe closet, a restroom with a shower, an entertainment corner and a seating area.
Makeup and Wardrobe Trailers
Makeup trailers have seating stations where the makeup artists work their magic. Good lighting is crucial here, as is storage, not only for the basics, but also for prosthetics like ears, noses and eyes (yes, eyes!), as well as wigs, hair products, face putty and paints.
Safe, easy access, space, lighting and good storage are the mainstays of a functional wardrobe trailer, like the ones offered by Designer Wardrobe Trailers. Film crews and others who use these trailers need to be prepared for every contingency, and many opt for trailers with a washer and dryer.
Companies like King Kong Production Vehicles, Inc. provide production trailers in many sizes. At the very least, production trailers should have a fax machine and a photocopier. Some of these trailers are simply coaches with desks, chairs, storage and a restroom; others, like King Kong’s 65-foot Mega Kong offer a separate office, a client area, 3-D high-definition TV and Internet. If a production crew plans to stay at a specific location for an extended period of time, they may set up modular double-wide trailers as Hulu did at Paramount Ranch when shooting “Quick Draw.”
Other Common Types of Trailers
- Portable toilet trailers come with two to eight restrooms, each with one to three stalls and a washstand. These can used for any kind of gathering, whether it’s a film shoot, concert, outdoor wedding or community event.
- Storage trailers like those offered at TractorTrailers.com range from eight feet to 53 feet long. They’re available with several types of insulation and can be used for refrigeration or dry storage.
- Circus Trailers are essentially hybrids of star coaches and actors’ trailers. They come in a variety of floor plans and have a range of towing capabilities.
When buying any kind of trailer, it’s important to be aware of safety features, including safety chains on towed vehicles, secure propane tank storage and harnesses for the brake lights. It’s also important to make sure that interior cabinet doors and drawers can be secured for travel, and to be mindful of tire wear, load capabilities and turning radius.
Davies says that he’s seeing a trend toward six- to eight-room trailers rather than honeywagons because the drop offs are cheaper and union regulations for honeywagon drivers can up the cost. He reflected that trailers haven’t changed much over the years, except that they’re fancier. He also points out the waste, saying that “actors want to hang around other actors,” rather than in trailers. He recalls working on “Sweet Bird of Youth” with Elizabeth Taylor, Mark Harmon and Seymour Cassel: “They didn’t want to be in a trailer. Elizabeth and Seymour just wanted to hang out back and smoke and talk.”
Famous Film Locations:
- A multitude of films and television shows have been filmed at Paramount Ranch, including “Gunsmoke” and “Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman.”
- Gammons Gulch in Benson, Arizona is a film location, as well as a working ghost town and the home of its creator.
- St. Joseph Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana served as the Epps’ Felicity Plantation in “Twelve Years a Slave” and was featured in “The Skeleton Key.”
- Wilmington, North Carolina’s EUE/Screen Gems Studios has been used for a multitude of films, including “Iron Man 3.”
- The Knight Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina added drama to “The Hunger Games.”