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Shooting in Montana


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#1 MatthewJClark

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 04:19 PM

Hey everyone-

I know that many of you have probably shot in Montana and I'm sure most of us know that David Mullens has spent some time there on Northfork. I'm wondering what kind of experiences you've had working there between the quality of the light, availability of gear and crew and the in's and out's of the whole process.

The reason I ask is that I've shot there a couple of times including a short film so I have some thoughts, but wanted to gauge, through your experiences, the feasibility of shooting there for a feature vs. shooting somewhere else. I hate to bring up Canada, but we all know that is an option. We'd love to keep the project in the lower 48 and more importantly, we think the job would be better suited for Montana (vs. Colorado, UT or AZ).

I'd love to hear what you think and have seen up there and any thoughts.

Thanks!

Matthew Clark
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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 05:12 PM

I'll probably get clobbered for this but the challenge will be finding crew and equipment. There's talented crew, there's equipment but you simple won't have a wide range of resources to select from as you might elsewhere, and if another project is shooting you'll have even less to choose from. I LOVE Montana and the crew there but only you can decide how much you'll need to rely on local crew and equipment resources and to what level you expect those resources to be available when you need them OR if you need to replace someone or something.
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#3 stephen lamb

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 06:51 PM

Hey Matthew,

I have some experience with Montana as I went to school there. There is a local crew, and it's quite good. There is one rental facility there with a full range of gear (obviously not quite as wide a range as the whole city of L.A. or NYC), but still good for one facility. There aren't a ton of crew members there, so if it is a large production, you'll may have to bring in additional people. If it is small, you can certainly get recent/finishing up film schoolers to fill roles such as company swings, 2nd ac's, loaders etc (that's how I got my first professional gig, company swing on an out of state feature). Obviously the locations vary tremendously and are all very impressive. Overall I am definitely biased, but I think shooting in MT is a great way to go about things. PM me if you'd like any contact info for the folks/rental facility there. Best of luck!
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:12 PM

My only experience shooting in Montana was a very positive one. We flew in for one night to shoot a bullriding event. We arrived fine but our equipment didn't. It was all late. In 3 hours we were able to dig up enough cameras, support, and audio equipment to cover the show. This was all in Bozeman and the people were very helpful. I would love to go back again. I spent a lot of time there fishing when I was little and I miss it.
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#5 Jon Jost

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:20 AM

I shot several feature films in Montana, long ago. LAST CHANTS FOR A SLOW DANCE, in & around Missoula (76), and BELL DIAMOND in Butte (87). I work very small - do camera, gripping, griping, and often the sound myself, so maybe for some of you this doesn't help. However I went to shoot another film, SURE FIRE, in Utah, just because working in Montana (back then?) was so damn easy - people falling all over themselves to be of help, to cooperate, to let you shoot in their bar, cafe, or whatever, for no money, just "what can I do to help." My passages through Utah had suggested it'd be a lot harder there. But after 2 weeks in Circleville (down in the Mormon Dixie)once they understood I wasn't doin' a huntin' & fishin' thing, and I wasn't doing and advertisement, and I wasn't doing an expose on the polygamist family that was the Circleville economy, they ended up just as friendly and helpful as Montanans, and the local sheriff, the local banker, several houses, one ranch, were all in my palm for free. SURE FIRE is the film.

Much has to do with how you behave: if like many film people you make a big deal of your presence, act like you are a big shot, and otherwise make a spectacle of yourself, then you will get treated accordingly (gouged for as much $ as they can get). If on the other hand you are discreet, humble, self-effacing, modest and honest, you'll probably get treated in kind.




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#6 MatthewJClark

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:57 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback. How did you guys deal with the long days in the summer with respect to sticking to a normal 10-12hr day? That always is a tough one with keeping things from going to long. I shot in Alaska one time and it was a tough call on which half of the day you shot since there were so many hours of daylight.

In recent years, were you able to get much help from the State and local municipalities for support?

I'm curious about what brought other filmmakers up to Montana? What was the draw?

Matthew
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#7 Ryley Fogg

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:26 AM

Wrapped on a feature there a couple months ago - The local crew was fantastic and the people of Helena were very accommodating and seemed a little thrilled to have a film crew in town. It was June and the weather was ca-razy - snow, hail and 100 degree scorchers during the three weeks of filming. All in all Montana is a great place to shoot, however we did have to bring most of the gear in from rental houses in Utah.


Thanks for all the great feedback. How did you guys deal with the long days in the summer with respect to sticking to a normal 10-12hr day? That always is a tough one with keeping things from going to long. I shot in Alaska one time and it was a tough call on which half of the day you shot since there were so many hours of daylight.

In recent years, were you able to get much help from the State and local municipalities for support?

I'm curious about what brought other filmmakers up to Montana? What was the draw?

Matthew


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Opal

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS