While perusing Craigslist last Thursday, I came across a posting for a production person needed for this weekend to do a shoot in Waynoka, OK. I generally proceed very cautiously with Craigslist posts, but I just had to know what in the world a filmmaker from L.A. wanted to see in Waynoka, OK. Turns out, the filmmaker was Peter Rubi, who had been a New Media Producer for the Obama Campaign. We exchanged some emails and phone calls, and I agreed to meet him in Waynoka at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.
As the production assistant for Rubi’s shoot, my role was primarily to organize and gather information. Before I left Stillwater, I printed maps of the area as well as participation releases, and gathered as much information as possible about the Hunt activities, times, locations, organizers and so on. I ended up being the first to get to Waynoka, so I drove around town to scout parking places, campsites, and just get a feel for the area.
I met Peter at Hutch’s Country Store at about 10:30. He had also brought another man along, Bruce, as the sound recorder. We walked to downtown Waynoka, were the hub of the activities would be going on that afternoon. Peter got a feel for that area, and then we decided to go back to the cars to move to a more central location and get the gear ready. I told Peter about the Bike Rodeo, which he was interested in recording, so I took him to the Waynoka Rodeo Arena. After spending about an hour and a half at the bike arena, we went back to town to film the activities at the Waynoka Saddle Club Building and Den of Death Snake Pit. While Peter filmed, I worked in varying capacities to get the participant releases signed, talk about the project to interested locals, swap lenses, batteries & flash cards, and basically whatever else needed to be done. We worked together until just after 7:30 p.m., when he released me so I could head back to Stillwater.
Peter filmed using a Canon 5D and a set of Pentax prime lenses. It was very interesting to see how he worked with this system; although he told me later that the system was new to him as well and that this shoot was a real trial for the whole process. I was able to see some of what he was recording, and I can tell that a lot of the shots will turn out quite beautifully, particularly those he took around the carnival area as establishing shots of the town. However, I’m curious to see how the shots of the Bike Rodeo turn out. There was a lot of action going on, and I think having to stop and swap lenses all the time could be a detriment to capturing a live event. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see why this system would appeal to filmmakers, financially and aesthetically. I do wish I could be present during the editing process for this piece – I’d like to see how Peter handles converting the .MOV files for FCP and how he manages to get the sound synced with the video. For sound, he primarily used an omni-directional mic on a boom pole, which was hooked up to what looked like a Panasonic dx100. I’ve never tried syncing taped sound to digital video, so I wonder what the challenges to that might be.
Overall, it was a Saturday well spent and I hope Peter enjoyed my company. He did say that he would call if and when he came back to Oklahoma to work on this project. At one point, he called me a ‘producer’s dream’ which is a nice compliment. We also met another filmmaker, Cody Stokes, in the “Den of Death Snake Pit,” who was interested in working on a project in Woodward, OK. While we were exchanging information, Peter told Cody that he should definitely hire me.
I don’t know when the film Peter shot will be ready, but I will post a link to it here if and when that happens. I was able to shoot a roll of film on my Canon, so once I get it developed I’ll post a few pictures here. In the meantime, enjoy this iPhone photo of a man holding a diamondback rattlesnake inside a pit of angry diamondback rattlesnakes: