Friday, June 17, 2011
Part Five of the challenges of documentary making, a non-stop schedule with a two person crew
Make sure to go to Art of the Day blogspot to see a wonderful post on my work with trees. Please comment on his blog if you feel inclined. http://artofday.com/wordpress/?p=4237
Sometimes we booked ourself very tight on our schedule as it is difficult to know exactly how much time we will need at a location and how good the content will be no matter how much research I do. And every day we are filming on location costs us more funds. So it was often very intense keeping to the schedule. Often in feature films they will have location scouts who will spend quite a bit of time accessing such things but that is not affordable with our budget. We had just spent a great but very busy two days interviewing Bob Hamilton, Director of the Tallgrass Nature Conservancy and then driving from the north end of the state to the south to Antlers to spend a day and a half at Chata Isuba and Fossil River Ranches to document the story of the Choctaw Ponies and the sustainable measures that they are taking to show that the land can sustain the ponies, creating a preserve for them and have them once more become a part of the environment. We arrived there late afternoon and shot until the light was gone and then got up the next morning for a tour of both ranches and then arriving in Brown Oklahoma by afternoon to meet Ian Thompson and his wife Amy to collect endangered Mussels for their Choctaw pots.
(See previous posts for more information on any of these locations and individuals that intrigue you.) When we met Ian and Amy after such a hectic schedule it was a relief to take a fairly long walk along Lake Texacoma with them to find the mussels. They only harvest the dead shells in case you were wondering when I said endangered. I expected Dr. Ian Thompson to be middle-aged but he is young and brilliant and his wife Amy has an infectious laugh and attitude toward life so they are so fun to be around and it was a relaxing respite while still getting great footage and interview. I never understood the degree of 'paranoia' that Bob would come back with after a shoot wondering if he had gotten everything the client needed etc. Then I started doing some field production work for him and I became the same way. It was really quite funny. Never judge until you walk in someone else's shoes! And now since these are our productions and we are both perfectionists and demand a lot of ourselves as a two person crew it is ongoing. And there is always some kind of learning process as we confront new and different situations.I helped to collect mussels and interviewed Ian as we walked to the edge of the lake. I was noticing beautiful groves of twisted willows and wandered in amongst them gathering references for my tree series. There were also beautiful wildflowers coming up in the sandy soil and something about the stillness by the water, the flat topography and feeling of openness and space brought up images of my grandparents who had passed and all the precious times I had with them at their home in Florida. I must confess I sometimes talk to my angels and the memories were poignant and strong in that beautiful grove. As I came out of the grove Bob said to me doesn't this somehow make you think of Florida.....how I love him....we operate on the same 'frequencies'. I find memory a very interesting thing that comes triggered by smell, sound, touch and visual cues unbidden and unexpected with a magical touching quality that is somewhere in our soul.