Location, location, location

When you are going to shoot a movie – what is one of the first decisions you make?

Location!

Consider this – what happens when the location of the movie is continually on the move?

We are a month out from the filming of the Chisholm Trail Cattle Drive. I went out to scout some locations. The organizers of drive have already chosen the places that they stop each night. I didn’t get an exact count, but the cattle drive will cover perhaps six to eight miles per day.

Start from here

I’d like for at least some of the video to seem authentic. I’d like for it to look as it looked 150 years ago. No roads, intersections, street signs…

…no power lines, farming equipment, bales of hay…

No highway, no electricity, no semis driving by at 70mph…

…no windmills, windfarms, cell phone towers, fences, corner posts, or airplanes.

I scouted some of these locations today.

To get any shot without having any modern equipment/influence/technology is pretty much gonna be a miracle!

Fortunately, not every shot has to appear as if it was taken from the late 1800s.

Thank goodness!

As filmmakers – all we can do is to aim a camera. As to the rest of it – everything else is up in the air.

If you make a movie in a studio – or if you make a studio movie – then you have arranged everything: YOU control the action/actors/locations/activities.

In modern filmmaking, it’s reasonable – it’s even expected, to be able to tell people to go back and do it over.

In this instance, with drovers herding cattle; horses pulling wagons; and specific locations that the cattle drive has to take (accommodating things like, river crossings, railroad right of ways, easements, private land, oil wells that you have to stay away from, and who knows what else?!?!)…there are no do-overs!

As filmmakers, all we can do is to…aim a camera.

This isn’t some big studio where we have a sound department who can work the magic of sound in post production.

Nope…my biggest concern is wind. Weather and wind.

We are working to configure equipment in order to ascertain its capabilities and limitations.

But on this shoot – with cattle and people and wagons and horses constantly on the move – and with the flat, wide-open spaces where the “wind comes sweeping down the plains” … managing sound will be my biggest worry.

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