Huge trucks are lined up and down your neighborhood, muffled voices are speaking into walkie-talkies that can be heard through-out the night and bright kleg lights blast into your bedroom window until 1 a.m.
But you don't mind, because it's Hollywood . . . or, at least it's the movies.And because your dog or your mother-in-law or maybe even your house manages to get into a shot, you can't wait to see the picture that was filmed right in your own back yard.
But after a few months - or even years - of waiting and watching, you begin to wonder if that film is ever going to be released.
Well, the truth is, it may not.
While an awful lot of famous movies are shot in Utah - ranging from "Stagecoach" to "Planet of the Apes" to "Thelma & Louise" to "Dumb & Dumber," the less famous are a bit harder to track down.
You may get lucky and stumble onto a video rental store that actually stocks "China O'Brien," "The Dream Machine" or "Ski School."
But some others - from "Bottom" to "DMZ" to "The Paper Brigade" to "Heaven Sent" - seem to have somehow drifted off into the celluloid ozone. These aren't films that halted production. These are movies that were shot, edited and completed but which have never seen the light of a general-audience theater screen. Or a television screen, for that matter.
So, what happened to them?
Some have simply been the unfortunate victims of shortsighted motion picture and video distributors who don't want to take a chance on a film that doesn't have some kind of exploitative hook, or which doesn't boast a "name" star.
Others didn't get picked up for distribution because the quality ranges from mediocre to awful.
"Knocking at Heaven's Door," a locally produced fantasy-comedy with such local actors on display as Max Golightly and Tony Larimer, which played in Salt Lake theaters in 1981, was never to be seen again following its initial release.
"Bottom," a 1982 fantasy-farce about Nick Bottom, the character from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," showing up in modern-day Cedar City, Utah, received a lot of publicity preceding its scheduled run in 25 theaters throughout the region - when the . . . er . . . bottom fell out. This early outing for young local actress Ellen Wheeler (who would go on to win a couple of Daytime Emmys for "Another World" and "All My Children"), and featuring Fred Adams (founder and executive producer of the Utah Shakespearian Festival), was screened for critics but never opened.
And Lex de Azevedo's "A Field So White," a feature-length (50 minutes) music video, an opera of sorts that featured elaborate choreography to complement the singing performances - but which had no spoken dialogue - was billed as "a positive alternative to rock video," and was shown in local theaters in 1984. But it hasn't been seen since.
Aside from these locally produced films, a number of independent productions from out of state - some with major players in the cast - have also fallen by the way.
Whatever happened to "DMZ," a wartime drama starring Paul Sorvino, which was filmed at Camp Williams in 1990? Or the thrillers called "Creepers" and "Blind Rage" (both also filmed in 1990).
Of course, there are also the occasional pictures that have undergone a title change. For example, if you were looking for the made-for-the-USA-cable-channel movie called "Trust," a thriller with Virginia Madsen, you would never find it unless you accidentally channel-surfed over it. By the time it aired, the title had become "Love Kills."
Fortunately, every now and again a deserving little picture that has been languishing on the shelf gets its chance, and several movies from a pair of active local production companies - Leucadia Film Corporation and Majestic Entertainment - are about to make a splash on videotape after years in cinema limbo.
Leucadia has managed to strike a deal with Warner Home Video, and Blair Treu's "Just Like Dad" will be going into rental stores on Dec. 23. And it will be followed in coming months by Treu's other films for Leucadia, the body-switch comedy-fantasy "Wish Upon a Star" and the city-kid-in-the-country comedy "The Paper Brigade" (the latter featuring Robert Englund, best known for his portrayal of Freddy Kreuger in the "Nightmare On Elm Street" films).
" `Just Like Dad' is sort of testing the waters," according to Leucadia spokesman Dave Drommond. But he says Leucadia is hopeful that the waters will prove to be inviting and that Warner will also release the other Utah-made films that are currently gathering dust in Leucadia's archives - the teen mystery "Address Unknown," the coming-of-age adventure "Coyote Summer," the presidential comedy "The Undercover Kid" (filmed under the title "How I Saved the President") and a drama about a troubled teen in a camp for blind children, called "Breaking Free" (filmed as "Sight Unseen").
The most likely candidate for video life, however, is probably "Windrunner," which features Margot Kidder and Russell Means - simply because it has shown up over the past couple of years on the Disney Channel and therefore has some audience familiarity.
(Two Leucadia films that have previously been released both in theaters and on video are "Alan & Naomi" and "The Goodbye Bird.")
Drommond says Hollywood movers and shakers insist the video-renting audience is "screaming" for family pictures, but when it comes to actually spending the money to distribute such films, there is resistance.
Meanwhile, Leucadia's latest effort, "Just in Time," is in post-production, and new scripts are being readied for filming in the spring.
Over at Majestic Entertainment, Utah filmmaker/actor Craig Clyde has a trio of films being readied for video release by a new company called Rated Gee! Video.
On Dec. 16, the outdoor drama "Wind Dancer," starring Brian Keith and Mel Harris, will go into video rental stores. Next will be "Heaven Sent," a comedy about a guardian angel, which features Utah-based character actor Wilford Brimley, will be released on Jan. 17. Then later in the year comes "Walking Thunder," a Western survival drama starring John Denver.
Clyde, who directed and co-wrote those movies, says he also has no less than 16 unproduced scripts in various stages of development, has written and directed an hour-long children's Christmas video, "Winslow, the Christmas Bear"; has been working on a 15-episode television series, "Dojo Kids"; has written the novelization of "Wind Dancer," which will be published in January; and has returned to acting - usually playing his favorite role (place tongue firmly in cheek), your friendly neighborhood police officer.
"Yep," Clyde says, "that's me - Mr. Cop." So far he's played law officers in the two CBS series that shoot locally, "Touched By an Angel" and "Promised Land," as well as a number of big-budget Hollywood pictures that have filmed here, including the role of a Utah Highway Patrolman in "Truth or Consequences," Kiefer Sutherland's debut directing effort. "They shot more film on my one-minute scene than I've shot in all my life!"
Clyde's latest cop role is in the CBS miniseries "Night Sins" - which he says puts him two films shy of his 100th acting role.
Next up for Clyde the filmmaker is a sequel to his most successful picture, "The Legend of Wolf Mountain," with Mickey Rooney reprising his character from the original film. Clyde says he also hopes to land Charlton Heston for the film, in the role of a grizzled a mountain man.
"Independence Day" - Though it has been released on video, the summer blockbuster, with scenes filmed in Wendover and on the Salt Flats, is still in theaters, playing at a number of local "dollar houses": Cinemark Sandy Starships, Sugarhouse 10 and Valley Fair 9; Cineplex Odeon Family Center; Sandcastle (in Bountiful).
"The Swan Princess" - The 1994 animated feature, produced by local talent, will air on the pay-cable channel HBO on Dec. 4.
"Alan & Naomi" - A touching period drama, directed in 1992 by local filmmaker Sterling VanWagenen (but filmed elsewhere), it will play on the pay-cable channel STARZ on Dec. 7 and 11.
"Rio Conchos" - Set in post-Civil War Texas but filmed in southern Utah, this 1964 Western about stolen rifles stars Richard Boone and Stuart Whitman. It will be shown Dec. 7 on STARZ.
"Parallel Lives" - An all-star cast - Liza Minnelli, James Belushi, Dudley Moore, Gena Rowlands, Ally Sheedy, Mira Sorvino, Paul Sorvino, JoBeth Williams, Treat Williams, etc. - makes up the talky ensemble in the story of a college reunion. This 1994 made-for-cable movie will air on the pay-cable channel SHOWTIME on Dec. 8.
"Two Mules for Sister Sarah" - Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine star in this Western about a nun on the run in Mexico (but filmed in southern Utah), which is scheduled for Dec. 10 and 11 on the basic-cable channel TNT.
"Night Sins," a CBS miniseries starring Valerie Bertinelli and Harry Hamlin, is still filming around town.
"Detention: Siege at Lindhurst High," a made-for-TV movie with Henry Winkler and Rick Schroder, began production this week.
"Motherly Love," another made-for-TV movie, this one starring Joanna Kerns and Christine Elise, also began shooting this week.
"The Ticket," a made-for-TV movie featuring Shannon Doherty, is scheduled to start up on Dec. 2.
"Promised Land" and "Touched By an Angel" continue filming episodes for the current season.