The West Side Scene

– By F. Latin

Lights, Camera, Action!!


Recently there’s been a noticeable increase in TV/Film production occurring on the West Side. Specifically, the popular NBC show Chicago Fire seems to have taken a liking to East Garfield Park. Over the past few months at least 3-4 locations in the area have been selected as sites to appear in the show.

If you driven down Warren (2800), Washington (3100), or Fulton (3200) lately you’ve probably run into the show’s set-up crew. In fact, its’ impossible to miss them with their huge trucks and high-tech equipment

Chicago Fire is created by Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf, creator of the “Law and Order” brand and Chicago PD. Centered around Chicago Firehouse 51, the show provides a drama-filled view into the lives of the city’s firefighters and paramedics. It highlights the courage and commitment of the men and women who serve as heroes while also giving us a look into their personal lives.

In speaking with West Side native Mono Wilborn, one of the location managers for the show, he explained how the selection process works. Wilborn said that it all starts with the script from the writers and producers. Then, staff members canvas an area taking exterior photos of about 25-30 different buildings. The producers usually narrow it down to a short list of 5-6 locations. Once this is done, staff members begin to reach out to residents at those locations to see who is interested.

Those lucky enough to have their homes selected, are usually housed in a hotel of their choice and also compensated for the use of their home. While the actual recording usually is done in one day, the entire process can take up to a week. We’re talking 2 -3 days of prep work (inside and out), 1 day to record, then another 2 days of post production work to get the place back to the way it was.

If you’re a resident of East Garfield Park, the next time your doorbell rings, it might just be someone from NBC saying they want to use your crib.