Marc Weinstein is a utility grip on the set of "The Glades," where he said he's known as "the man who is in charge of everything important."
An auto technician who's become a lighting and rigging handler, Weinstein helps make sure the camera and lighting set-ups are right for a shot. He is also the go-to guy for many odds and ends. The other grips come to him for everything from batteries to bottles of cold water.
"This is exciting," Weinstein said. "I never do the same thing twice. Never. I'm always helping somebody out on the cast or crew."
Weinstein, 42, a Tamarac resident who was out of work for more than two years, is one of the hundreds of locals who have been enriched by "The Glades," the A&E cable show filming throughout Broward County and set to premiere on July 11.
"We average anywhere from 125 to 150 local people a day, depending on what we're shooting," said Pam Holdridge, production manager. "Only a handful of people are from LA. We use a lot of local vendors -- dry cleaners, office suppliers, hotels. We order food daily from local restaurants."
The shoot has meant business for vendors such as Raphael Fassi of La Caridad Catering. He serves fresh hot food, like rice and beans, plantains and pepper steak, from his canteen outside the show's Pembroke Park set, a converted warehouse.
Fassi, of Hollywood, said with business slow overall, it helps to have the show biz customers.
"Right now, everybody is just trying to survive. Everything is up and down," said Fassi, as he dished out food to about a half-dozen people working on the series.
Fassi makes stops all over Broward County. On some days, he serves more than a dozen meals at "The Glades" alone.
Tom Wilde, assistant town manager, credits the show with an economic boost for Pembroke Park.
"'The Glades' has brought in roughly over 100 jobs. They've hired caterers, they brought in extras. Actors are coming in from all over the world. For a small town, that means big business."
When the show airs at 10 p.m. on July 11, Tampa will be the star. After three episodes, Broward County locations will be featured in the first episodic TV show ever filmed in the county.
Scenes have been shot in Pompano Beach, Dania Beach, Hollywood, North Lauderdale and Oakland Park. Also, the historic Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale provided a scenic site.
Karen Beard, CEO of Bonnet House, was excited that television viewers will get to see it. "We hope it will attract more people to the Bonnet House estate to explore all the natural beauty and history it has to offer," she said.
The drama stars Australian actor Matt Passmore as Jim Longworth, a former Chicago homicide detective who relocates to the middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, which does not appear on any real map of Florida. The town is surprisingly lively, as bodies keep turning up in Longworth's vicinity.
On a typically hot, humid South Florida morning, "The Glades" is shooting in Pompano Beach. Episode four, "A Perfect Storm," is filming in a normally quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in the city's northeast section.
The show is using the 1920s home of Jessica and Bryan King. "They were looking for an old Florida house," said Jessica King.
"The pay was very lucrative," she said. While she wouldn't disclose the amount, she did say it was enough to cover a son's private school tuition. And Bryan King got work as an extra.
Nearby under a shade tree, extra Adriana D'Meza, 14 and wide-eyed with excitement, waited to be called. She and her chaperone/mother, Donna Levassuer, live in Pembroke Pines. Levasseur, 39, also got a role—as a leaf raker.
"We're supposed to be in the storm scene," Adriana said. "It's so cool to be on set to see everything."
Adriana will be paid for getting caught in the storm, and not speaking a word. Still, the high school freshman had been bitten by the star bug and is rethinking her early goal of veterinary school.
"I can't wait to see the final product," said her mother. "It is exciting to participate, but the talent is in the production. They are the people who make the magic come together."
Levasseur said she learned a lot from watching what happens on the set. "Now I can look at movies and say I know how that was done."
Extras John Reid, 44, and his wife Rachel, 36, of Boynton Beach, have been called twice.
"Last week, we were patients in the hospital," said Rachel Reid. This week, she's raking leaves.
The Reids' curiosity was piqued by visiting Hollywood studios on California tours.
"When I heard 'The Glades' was being filmed here, I called," said John Reid. "It was a chance to see celebrities."
It was fun, but it was also hard work in the blazing sun. It took 10 leaf-raking attempts to get what the director wanted.
"We kept shooting the same scene," Reid said between takes in the welcoming shade. "It has to be just right for the film."
Reid would not want regular work as an extra, but he hopes the show will be a success. "It could be an incentive to bring more movies and shows here," he said.
Staff writer Georgia East contributed to this report.
Gregory Lewis can be reached @sun-sentinel.com or 954-572-2084.