Industry Star of the Month

Meredith Conti, Grand Central Terminal

Meredith ContiJanuary 3, 2012 - As a girl walking through Grand Central, Meredith Conti probably never thought she would one day be involved with helping to bring the iconic station to life in film and television. Working in the Corporate and Public Affairs department at MTA Metro-North Railroad, she also handles various duties, including film, television and photography requests for Grand Central Terminal, outlying Metro-North stations and on commuter trains. This can range from simple wedding photography requests to big-budget feature films.

What are some of the memorable productions you've worked with?
Conti: Although I had already been here a year, I probably cut my teeth on I Am Legend. As with their filming elsewhere in the City, they were extremely ambitious in what they wanted to do. They filmed with us over multiple weekends in the fall of 2006, including a fake broken window, an overturned cab, stunts and even trained animal work. Other notable projects from past years include “Law & Order: SVU,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Fringe,” Step Up 3D, a very dramatic Jones NY fashion campaign photographed over two nights by the legendary Annie Leibowitz and that silly AT&T commercial after which I still catch a traveler or two stopping to bust a move where the lone AT&T dancer does! Most recently I enjoyed working on “Louie,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” and The Avengers, which I look forward to seeing hit theatres this spring!

What's your favorite part about facilitating production for Grand Central?
Conti: I can remember passing through the Terminal as a little girl, marveling at how huge it was and how small I felt, especially when swept along with the bustling crowds. Nowadays I get an honest rush out of seeing Grand Central on the big screen or in a nationally broadcast TV show, and I guess it is all the more sweet when I’ve had a hand in making it happen. This really is a grand building with such great history. There is nothing else quite like it.

Is there something about the Terminal that might surprise the average filmmaker?
Conti: Filmmakers are continuously amazed at how film-friendly we are! I often receive calls from productions who start the conversation with, “I don’t know if you allow filming, but...,” and nine out of ten times it’s the most innocuous scene – a traveler waiting by the Info Booth, or a simple walk-and-talk across the Main Concourse. As long as it isn’t something that could potentially cause a safety/security concern or interfere with our customers or our operation, we always try to accommodate.

Productions should remember that Grand Central is not a sound stage. It is a living, breathing transportation hub. As long as you are prepared to respect our operation, our customers and this historic landmark, then everyone will get along just fine.

Industry Star

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Jennifer Lenihan, Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
Lynne Meadow, Manhattan Theatre Club
Thomas O'Donnell, Local 817
Katy Finch, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations
Meredith Conti, Grand Central Terminal

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Habibah Ali-Love, OFTB
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Lisa Lucas, Tribeca Film Institute

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Fred Cerullo, Grand Central Partnership
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Tom Ross, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
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Sharon Jensen, The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
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Joan Cooney, South Street Seaport
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Brooke Smy, Tishman Speyer
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