Field Of Dreams

"FIELD OF DREAMS" is a film about following your dreams and the relationship between a father and a son when the  farmer is convinced by a mysterious voice he hears to build a baseball diamond in a cornfield.

The film starred Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Ray Liotta, Tim Busfield, Amy Madigan (who happens to be married to Actor Ed Harris who would visit the set), and Gaby Hoffmann (whose mother Viva was an actress for Andy Warhol). It was produced by Larry and Chuck Gordon and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Executive Producer was Brian Frankish. 

Field Of Dreams was released by Universal Pictures and was nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score. It won the Saturn Award for Best Film at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films and the Best Foreign Film at the Japanese Academy. Phil Robinson also received the Outstanding directorial achievement award from the Directors Guild of America and the Best screenplay award from the Writers Guild of America.

It was one of the rare triple plays in the movie industry where a movie is successful with critics, audiences, and at the box office. The film was a huge success and it has grossed over $100 million worldwide on a budget of only $15 million.

Be sure to scroll down the page to see three exclusive video clips, seen here for the first time,  I took on the set during filming of Field Of Dreams.

My involvement on the film started very early on when it was first announced that the movie was going to be shot in Iowa. I sent in my resume and received a call that they wanted me to come in for a interview with Brian Frankish, the production manager/Executive Producer of Field Of Dreams.

After tthe interview I was talking to my long time friend Chris Young about it. He asked who the interview was with and when I told him, he then told me that Brian was the producer on Max Headroom the tv series which he starred in. Much to my surprise and to Chris's credit, he called Brian and recommended me for the job (Thanks Chris). A  few days later I was called back in for a last interview with the final 20 or so people who were being considered for about 10 positions. That interview involved Brian again along with some of the other heads of production departments. By the time I had returned home that day, there was a call waiting that I had the job. Brian Frankish would later joke with me that the job was mine due to nepotism.
I was fortunate to also spend time in the production office during the shoot which meant I was able to see the role of the production manager first hand. Something that would be very valuable later in my career when I began making my own films. Learning from the best is highly recommended and I don't believe I could have found someone better to learn from than seeing Brian Frankish handle a production.
 
He apparently was impressed that Chris, who was only 16 at the time, would take the time to call him to recommend me for the job and figured if Chris can trust me so could he with his million dollar stars.  A bit of trivia is that Brian Frankish played the umpire behind home plate in the film. 

                                        
                                         Executive Producer Brian Frankish and Jeff Carney
                                         taken at the premiere of Field of Dreams.

I initially was hired as a production assistant and almost immediately was promoted to a Driver. It was better pay and gave me access to all of the key production members and actors including one on one time as I was soon placed with different actors for a few weeks at a time depending on their schedule.  It was your job to make sure that the stars arrived on set safely as well as on time before getting them back home at the end of the filming day or night. You basically acted as their assistant during the shoot. I spent time with all of the actors and some of the key crew members. So it was definitely the dream job for someone who wants to produce/direct because you saw everything all the time. There was always time during relighting and set ups to chat and to ask questions.


So what was it like working on the film?  It was a great experience. Twelve weeks of hard work with 12-18 hour days during a six day week.  It was basically shot in Dyersville and Dubuque Iowa. Peosta Iowa, and Galena Illinois with a few days in Boston. My first impression of the script when I read it was that if director Frank Capra was alive he would have made this movie.  It was the type of movie Hollywood use to make. That alone was really intriguing to me.

At one point or another I spent time with all of the actors. During the few weeks that Tim Busfield was on location, I was his assistant/driver so I was able to get to know him probably the best. He was a lot of fun to be around. 

                                          
                                          Jeff Carney and Tim Busfield on the set
                                          of Field Of Dreams.



I remember one night of chaos in downtown Galena, Illinois during filming when I had to drive Kevin Costner through a large crowd of people that was right up against the car windows taking photos as I took him to the location a few hundred yards from his motor home. They didn't want him to walk there because of the crowd. Now I know what it must have been like to drive the Beatles. Kevin was great as were all of the cast/crew.  He had some parties at his house in Galena during filming. We had a fun picnic where we played football.  Kevin threw me a great touchdown pass - who knew he was a good quarterback.

                                           
                                                    Jeff Carney and Kevin Costner. 
                                          This photo was taken just as we finished 
                                          playing the football game during a party and 
                                          we were talking about the game as Kevin  
                                          had thrown a touchdown pass to me.
                                          You can see some clips of us playing on                                
                                          the Field Of Dreams DVD in the making of
                                          supplement. Those playing were told to be
                                          careful and not to injure the star as we had a
                                          lot of filming left to do!


I also recall one day when I had to pick up James Earl Jones (one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet) because he had a flat tire.  One the way to the set, he had me stop at a convenience store where he went in and bought some lotto tickets which he gave me for  what he called "your trouble of picking me up."  Whose going to argue with the voice of Darth Vader!  Plus I ended up winning $50 (Thanks James!). A few weeks later my father was visiting and we were walking through the local mall when I heard this booming voice call out my name. It was James Earl Jones who was out shopping and he came over and said say hi so I was able to introduce him to my father.

It was also Burt Lancaster's last movie so getting a opportunity to see a cinema legend like that work was wonderful. The director, Phil Robinson, was under a lot of pressure on the film. I know he was re-writing on set some days. At one point, he stopped filming and retreated to his motor home on the farm location where he reworked one of the scenes.  Another day, I sat in a car with him waiting for the rain to stop and he looked at me with a straight face and said "Jeff, I'll give you $1000 if you take me to the airport right now."  I said no.  He said "ok $1500."  I told him he had better finish his film first as it was too good not to finish. He smiled. 

Another memorable experience was some torture I was put through during one of my drives to the location. I had to pick up two crew members who had flown in during filming - they ended up being Dennis Muren (visual effects supervisor) and Kim Marks (camera operator).  Both were from ILM (George Lucas's effects facility) and Dennis Muren has been part of creating the special effects for all of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park films - He has won six Oscars for his special effects work. They had just received a  top secret script for a upcoming movie. The film was called Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  So to torture me they read the first page of the script out loud for my benefit and closed the script afterwards. Both were really nice and did a great job on the ghost players special effects in the film. I was able to see first hand how ILM shoots their effects sequences which was really helpful when I started to film effects sequences for my films.


A bit of trivia - the movie was shot as "Shoeless Joe" and then later renamed by Universal Pictures to Field Of Dreams. A title the director and Costner did not like. When the director told the author W.P. Kinsella about the name change (as his book was called Shoeless Joe), it didn't bother him at all. The original title he wanted on the book was Dream Field.

Regarding the famous last shot of the film with the cars arriving at the ball field - the director was in contact with all the drivers via a local radio station. The drivers were just members of the public who came out to help. It was shot in three takes with a camera mounted on a helicopter. The first time it was hard to see the cars with their headlights on so they were asked to turn on their bright lights for the 2nd take.  Again the result was that the cars didn't show up as well as they should have.  So on the 3rd take, the drivers were told to switch back and forth between low and high beams to give a flickering effect. By the end of the take it had worked and the sun had set so there wouldn't have been time to shoot any more takes had the flickering headlights not have worked.

Also the voice in the corn that speaks to Kevin Costner is actually the director Phil Robinson.

                             
Cast and Crew photo from Field of Dreams.  I'm sitting on the bleachers wearing the cap directly under the arrow. To my right is Kevin Costner, and right behind me is one of the ghost players (actor Michael Milhoan who played Buck Weaver 3 baseman).  Also in the front row on the far right (squatting in a vest) is the executive producer Brian Frankish who hired me,  Note the original shooting title on the photo of "Shoeless Joe."  The film would be retitled by Universal Pictures after filming to Field Of Dreams. 






                             Some of the items from my personal collection
     
Baseball signed by the ghost players        Ghost players cap worn by Jay Hemond in
and a baseball signed by Tim                      Field Of Dreams.
Busfield.


                       
This framed display  features some of the elements involved in making the famous last shot of the cars arriving at the ball field.  The shot is now considered one of the most memorable in movie history. In the center is the original 14x11 color aerial photo of the farm location that used by the director to map out how he wanted the cars to arrive. His pen marks on the photo show which roads the cars should line up on. . On the left of the display is a call sheet for the last shot. Call sheets are given to each cast/crew member and it gives us information on what is being filmed, where, at what time, and who/what will be needed for filming.

                          
A closer look at the production used aerial photo.  Not yet pictured but also in my collection is a last shot ticket (unused). These tickets were numbered and handed out to each person who drove a car in the last shot. They had to fill out the ticket with their information in order to participate.   The drivers of the cars were just the general public who came out to help with the scene when the call when out in the local press that thousands of cars were needed.  And a original unused certificate for participating in the last shot along with a button which was given out to the drivers that states "I was in the last shot of Shoeless Joe."



           
                                      Original invitation to the premiere of Field Of Dreams



  



                   
                   Original productions script from Field Of Dreams signed by Kevin Costner,
                   James Earl Jones, Tim Busfield, and author Bill Kinsella. Tim Busfield's
                    inscription was "Thanks for the great fuc**n rides." I would pick him up
                    in the morning and take him to the set and then back home at the end
                   of the day - the long drive provided a lot of time to talk.


                    
                    
Some of the Behind the Scenes Photos I took during production from my personal album from FIELD OF DREAMS.


 
Filming the scene where Ray (Kevin            Setting up the Louma Crane so the camera
Costner) hears the voice in the corn field.   can sweep down to Costner as he hears
                                                                              the voice.



 
Filming hearing the voice.                               Kevin Costner getting ready to hit the ball.



  
Burt Lancaster and Kevin Costner                     Discussing the scene with the director
doing a final walk through before filming          Phil Alden Robinson.
in downtown Galena, Illinois (which posed
as Chisholm, Minnesota in the film)



                                     
                                Preparing to shoot a bleacher scene with Kevin Costner.
                                               

                               
                            Filming Kevin Costner's character building the baseball backstop.


                                            
                                                         Filming in front of the farm house.

                          
                           Fun photo taken for Doug Tonn outside of the wardrobe trailer of
                           Kevin Costner, Chuck Gordon (Producer  Field Of Dreams / Die Hard)
                           and Driver Doug Tonn doing their best Arnold Schwarzenegger
                           impersonation.                                                         
                                                                                                    


Below are three exclusive videos that I edited down from several hours of footage that I took for my personal collection on the set of Field of Dreams. I was assigned  to Tim Busfield during his last two weeks on the film. That opportunity freed up some of my time on the set which I used by taking the following home video footage seen here for the first time. Any jerkiness/shakiness in the footage is due to compression from uploading the footage online.

                     

                   Behind the Scenes of Field Of Dreams taken by Jeff Carney




                     

                   Behind the Scenes of Field Of Dreams taken by Jeff Carney



                                              

                     

                  Behind the Scenes of Field Of Dreams taken by Jeff Carney






                                      Continued on FIELD OF DREAMS Page 2

 

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