Eleven years ago – I decided: “I want to direct movies!”
But why limit yourself to just one goal? That expanded to, “I want to be involved in all aspects of the film business.”
I didn’t know it, but my friend Don was always interested in this, too. Who knew? Over beers at the bar one night, we agreed to get into the movie business together.
Well, why not? It’s fun. We enjoy it.
We started acting. We got our own home video cameras and started shooting. We started with Windows Movie Maker editing software.
Over the years, we have upgraded technology. We have learned and learned and learned, and all of this was like a giant leap of faith: jump off a cliff and see where you land!
But…when we were just starting out – if you think about getting into the movie business, you think of having your own private trailer and someone knocking on the door saying, “Five minutes, Miss Johnson.”
You think of those black and white movies of the forties where the women wore the glamorous satin dressing gowns.
You think of how it is to have someone do your hair. Someone else does your makeup.
Film sets have catering crews.
They provide those canvas chairs for you to sit in when you are not on camera – and sometimes they stencil your name on the back. When you are awaiting your turn, they have a green room, almost always an indoor, climate controlled comfortable place – with snacks!
When you think about it – you think about the fun stuff.
But what is the reality?
Well, for one – we have really comfortable chairs!
I was standing on the side of the highway waiting for the cattle drive to come by. Lucky there was this chunk of concrete. You better believe I sat down. Think I was out there for over 45 minutes on that one shot. And I was lucky to have this sitable apparatus there. Because on this set – there ain’t no chairs! I have stood more this week, than in the past three months all put together!
While I sat there, I was enjoying…My Own Green Room:
Well, it was green! Does that count?
It was green there. It just wasn’t a room. I achieved 50% of the goal anyway. 🙂
I even made a new friend:
When you are on someone else’s set – it is polite not to be destructive. I tried not to intrude on his home too much.
One day, when Don and I had pulled a 12 hour day – out in the heat and bugs and sweat and heat and pollen and sun and heat…I said, “We need a crew!”
Don looked at me, and pointed to himself. He said, “I’m your crew!”
To that job description you can add: cinematographer, director, producer, driver, camera operator, location scout, movie consultant, and historical consultant (I didn’t know it until we agreed to this gig, but Don went on the ’93 cattle drive as a drover. I am always asking him for knowledge about cattle drives and cowboyin’.)
When you think of a film set, you think of a big warehouse with sets inside, and people wait outside while the red light goes round and round and round.
In our world, the set is mobile. You find yourself in places you never dreamed you’d be:
These grasses are taller than the hood of my pickup. The trail boss’ husband has been so kind to help and he has helped me a lot. On this location, he called out, “Amanda, after we leave here, you’d better check for ticks.”
I was glad for the warning.
But wow…you can say one thing: This reality of movie making ain’t like what you see in the movies.
On this set – what else do you have to contend with?
Well, that’d be:
And I mean that literally!