I Carried a Watermelon Group

… Is a famous line that I had no idea I would hear about 100 times in one week.

I remember seeing the film Dirty Dancing when I was a teenager and thinking how cool it would have been to be in the scene where everyone dances the night away with Patrick Swayze. I would pretend to be Penny the beautiful blonde dance instructor. That, along with the “Baby character” was the extent of my Dirty Dancing memories.

We, Nando, my assistant Bianca & myself had just spent the last five weeks recreating all the iconic scenes of the film. It’s for an Australian TV show similar to our Dancing With the Stars, except the twist is they have to recreate all the different dances from the film. I felt like I was at Outback Steakhouse everyday being that the majority of the crew were Aussies.

First thing after reading the script, I knew we needed to remake the iconic T-shirts for the actors and background to wear. We roped in our Winner Haven Apparel and recreated the famous “Kellerman’s T-Shirts” with our Lakeland Printer.  I called them up and lickety-split, like Amazon… the shirts were made and delivered to set in Virginia.

Next up, Bianca and I watched Dirty Dancing a million times. We had to match all the wardrobe as closely as possible and Nando and his team had to build the sets. We took a lot of screen shots from the film and then we shopped.  It was surprising because almost everything “Baby” wore in the film was on the rack for sale at Target and Forever 21.  Who would have thought?

The cast and crew were amazing to work with and it was a really magical production. Nothing went wrong on the show.  That rarely happens.  Bianca thinks it was because she swears the ghost of Patrick Swayze was channeling her the whole time we were in production.  I kept telling her, that was a whole different film with Whoopi Goldberg.  Hands down, this was one of our favorite projects to date.

I Carried a Watermelon Screen

Now, typically we would skip back to NY for the next job or enjoy some time at our house up there.  Instead, we are surprisingly shooting a film here in Florida!  In Citrus County in a town named Hernando.  I am Costume Designing with Bianca and Nando has an acting role.  (Nando thinks it’s really weird seeing his name, Hernando plastered all over the town).  This is a feature film and we have weekends off which is rare. The script is very Central Florida, written by LA based, Jon Carlo who has submerged himself in Citrus County for the past 2 months.  His script includes everything from air boats to muddin’, quads, bonfires, Springs, visors, Yeti coolers, flotillas, “Polar Pops,” short shorts and Mexican tacos. Locations include trailers, dive bars and luxury horse farms.   

I guess what sparked me to write this is:

A.  It’s the weekend and I have the day off.

B.  We just left Publix where we bought and carried a watermelon home.

I’m sitting here staring at this watermelon with the song, “The Time of My Life” stuck on repeat and programmed into my head. I need to have it quickly fall away along with all the silly Dirty Dancing jokes as we are submerging ourselves in the current Florida script.

I’m trying to switch from “I’ve had the time of my life” to “Redneck Yacht Club and grab me a cold one.”  I definitely got comfortable back on the farm in Winter Haven for the couple days in between films…  easily falling back into my #kindachill Florida routine.  But, I am so excited to go to set Monday because there is a “magic,” meaning that extra something special on this set, almost even more so than Dirty Dancing.  Nando thinks maybe it’s the fact that we’ve actually gone air boating before or perhaps it’s all the Polar Pops everyones been chugging in-between scenes.?

xo Sally & Nando DC Follow us on insta: @winnerhaven

#therealdirtydancing #feralstatefilm

P.S. We will just be “wrapping” the first week of August, so if you run into us in town and have any questions about film, how LA producers got by in the swamp or why we have been slow to come out with new WH Apparel Designs… lets chat!

P.P.S. About the Watermelon… it’s called a Prop.  Reviewing the script in pre-production, Nando and I were trying to figure out where to put a watermelon in this film as an “easter egg” from the last film.  He is thinking that just maybe… his character could cut one up with a machete and eat it on the tailgate… (like Nando does in real life) since he is playing a Cowboy.   

P.P.PS. Do you think anyone will notice if a couple of the Florida film characters are dressed like “Baby” from Dirty Dancing ? We have some wardrobe leftover that we brought.

(1) comment


Hey Sal, love the story and yes, you did placed an watermelon in the film! It’s was a great scene! 🍉🍉🍉

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