Lights, Camera, Action: Money Maker

While filming in Northeast Ohio, the cast and crew of Draft Day turned to local business for everything from art supplies to yoga.

Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner as general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns, touches down in theaters April 11, but Cleveland has already hit pay dirt. Local workers made up 65 percent of the 250-person film crew, says Ivan Schwarz, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. In fact, 86 carpenters, grips, painters, prop-builders and other members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 209 worked on the film, according to Jonathan Andrews, the union's secretary and treasurer. Here's a rundown of who else scored while the movie was in town.

Art supplies

For the film's art department and set dressing


Kevin Costner stayed at Ern Gerardo's three-bedroom condo on the 11th floor of the glassy Pinnacle Building next to the West Shoreway. Meanwhile, Gerardo and his wife stayed at their other home in Brecksville. Two months of Costner's rent paid for Gerardo's daughter Sylvie's first year of college at the Ohio State University.

Craft services

Though Draft Day brought in a Los Angeles caterer for regular meals, it hired StrEAT for between-meal snacks and items such as lip balm, bandages and sunscreen. "We're a mobile 7-Eleven without lottery tickets," says StrEAT co-owner Izzy Schachner. But even the snacks became meal-sized: sushi, a Chinese buffet, a cookout. StrEAT also relied on Li Wah in AsiaTown, which served shoot locations several times a week.


On one late night of filming, lead actress Jennifer Garner hired the cupcake truck as a thank you to the crew.

Dry cleaner

Draft Day brought a 10 percent bump in business to the 58-year-old downtown cleaners for a month and a half. About 90 percent of the loads were regular clothes — socks, shorts, T-shirts — but it also did the suits Costner wore in the film and the NFL team jerseys.


Pete Ristagno Jr., vice president of Pete and Pete, estimates his company made a couple thousand dollars a month working with the Draft Day crew. "All the rubble, film props, lunch, trash generated went into the box," he says.

Face paint

The crew's head of makeup bought stencils and face paint — brown, white and orange — to write "Cleveland Browns" on the faces of extras in a crowd scene.


The crew ordered a chain-link fence, 115 feet long and 8 feet high, sturdy enough to support several actors leaning on it, says owner Phil Borchert.

Gift Baskets

The crew got about eight baskets, including the 25-piece Tower of Fruit, says Teresa Hale, buyer and manager.


Rozi's delivered eight bottles of champagne to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, which gave them as gifts to crew members.


The company delivered a few hundred sheets of 4-by-8-foot premium plywood to a production yard in Garfield Heights.


Costner and his country-rock band Modern West played shows at Brothers Lounge in Cleveland and Kent Stage in Kent. "They were sold-out," says Schwarz. "Even the crew didn't get free tickets."


The crew gets a per diem while on location, which they spent on food and alcohol. Restaurants on and near East Fourth Street saw surges in business. "We did a lot of takeout for them," says Tessa Earhart, who was a floor manager at Noodlecat at the time.


About four to five guards a day provided 24-hour security for all the equipment at locations from Cleveland to Shaker Heights.

Smoke machines and confetti cannons

Stunt coordinator Richard Fike rented smoke and confetti equipment for a scene of the Browns running out of the tunnel at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Wrap parties

The crew, which held two wrap parties, rented the entire Velvet Tango Room, including the back room, for an eight-hour party. About 100 to 150 people attended and imbibed the club's famed craft cocktails. "We had the whole cast and producer here," says bartender Linas Vaitkus. "We were pretty slammed, front to back."


Though Inner Bliss' staff avoids asking its students about their life outside of yoga — "we try to be very discreet and allow for private, sacred space," says owner Tammy Lyons — she says the studio had a large influx of new students during the months Draft Day was filmed here.



Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
Cleveland Browns Training Facility, Berea
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
InterContinental Hotel Cleveland
Kent State University, Kent
Sunoco station, Columbus Road, Cleveland
Tri-C Corporate College East, Warrensville Heights
Wade Lagoon, Cleveland
various private residences


Elk and Elk law firm, Mayfield Heights

Parts of Elk and Elk's offices were taken over by the film version of the Seattle Seahawks for five to six days. The boardroom became a draft day war room, with TV screens and smartboards teeming with draft and player information. The cast and crew returned later to make the law firm into the Buffalo Bills offices. The firm donated their compensation for the space to a police charity, a hunger center in Tremont and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

Lakeshore Dance and Gymnastics, Mayfield Village

The film crew paid $2,400 to rent the studio for two days, says owner Sally DeAngelo. She chose nine gymnastics students, ages 8 to 10, to play extras. In the movie, a character drops off his nephews at gymnastics class while negotiating a deal with Costner's character.

Wildwater Kingdom, Aurora

Early in the film, Costner and Frank Langella talk as they walk through Wildwater Kingdom (renamed Splash World). Bill Spehn, director of water park operations, says the Liquid Lightning funnel slide and the Splash Landing play structure serve as backdrops for the scenes. The crew relocated to the parking lot for the day and used it as a home base for filming scenes of the characters driving on local roads.

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