Have you ever seen the TV show Bates Motel? It’s a contemporary prequel to the classic Hitchcock movie Psycho.
The show is filmed near us, just a few blocks across the Canadian border in Aldergrove B.C. For those of you who don’t know, Vancouver and the lower mainland of B.C. has a huge film industry. There are a ton of movies and TV shows filmed there. When I used to live in B.C. I got to be an extra a few times. An extra is a person who is in the background of a show. They don’t have any lines, but they are the ones hired as “extra” people in the scene to make it look authentic. I was an extra in the show the L Word where I was part of a crowd at a concert. I was in the movie Martian Child with John Cusack. I was one of the people sitting in the baseball stadium. I was also in an episode of the T.V series Stargate where I played a peasant on a strange planet. I and the rest of the peasants had to make a giant circle, get on our knees and say “all hail the Oraiiii” while we waved our hands. It was hilarious. Extra work can be fun because you get a behind the scenes look at how movies are made. You only get paid minimum wage and the days are pretty long and boring, though.
I knew that Bates Motel was filming in that location and we had driven past a few times but they didn’t have the sign up last time I went by. I was going to pick up my daughter from my mom’s house in White Rock B.C. where she was having a sleep over and I decided to take a detour over to see the Bates Motel. I drove right up and parked in front of the Motel set and a security guard rushed over to see what I was doing. I asked if I could take some pictures and he said I had to go across the street and take them off property. I moved my car and got in position to shoot with my phone and then my phone died! I didn’t have the adapter for my charger in the car so I just headed to my mom’s place to get Chloe.
On my way back home across the border with Chloe in tow I made another trip to the Bates Motel to try to get some pictures again now that I had charged my phone at my parents house. The sheriff’s truck out front in the picture above is used in the show. I’m not sure about the blue truck though.
The little black car out front was where the security guard hung out. He was the one making sure people like me didn’t get too close. It didn’t look like they were doing any actual filming, probably because it was snowing and we only get about two or three days of snow per year in the Pacific Northwest. The set is just on a random street out in Aldergrove. You would never know it was there or have a reason to drive by it if you didn’t travel through that area on a regular basis. Fun fact: the show Smallville was shot about five minutes away from the Bates Motel location. I used to be friends with someone who lived across the street from the barn where they filmed the show.
Have you seen Bates Motel? We are currently watching season 1 on Netflix and so far so good. No spoilers please!