I remember a very long two days of driving from Orlando to Utah. This road trip was enjoyed by Bryce, the Line Producer, and myself, in an absurdly overpacked SUV. We split the driving duties, which I admit, Bryce drove more than I, and I read a book that I had purchased at a Good Will thrift store for 99 cents titled, Into The Wild. I am not trying to illustrate some underlying cosmic connection between my approaching adventure and this book, but the random timing of my reading, and the adventurous wanderlust of the book’s subject, coincided in such a way to make our filming in the Western desert mountains almost divine. I was nervous and thankful.
We arrived about a month before shooting and settled into our new home at the Parry Lodge. The rest of the Art Department arrived the following day and we immediately started having meetings and preparing for the unexpected, or at least, the unexperienced. Lack of communication will sink even the grandest of ships, so I had decided early on to have Art Department meetings everyday, and we collectively discussed what needed to get done, and who would be assigned what tasks.
Joshua Zeigler, the Construction Coordinator, showed up from Salt Lake City and the both of us got along immediately, which was good since we both were living in the same room for a month. While the rest of the Art Department was busy with their tasks, Josh and I delved into all the sets that needed to be built for the film. We poured over all the sketches, drafts and blueprints I had and started making a list of all the supplies we would need. This was the transition from concepts on notepads to thousands of dollars of lumber and tools. We became regulars at the local hardware store, and though the projects we were starting to undertake were massive, Josh always had a professional coolness, sense of humor and a realist’s point of view that instilled calmness. I was especially glad of this because Josh was literally going to be the only person building 95% of all our sets!
Feature filmmaking is an interesting creature. At first everyone is excited to make movies and willing to work long days with little recognition. However, what happens when you enter week two of an eight week process, with no day off in sight? What happens when you are just at the beginning of an enormous project and you’ve never felt so overwhelmed and alone in your life?