(left) Grant Waters, sound; Kim Harris, director; and Harold Bachmann, director of photography. They filmed at the Hidden Lake RV Ranch/Safari (Elaine Osteen)
Part I of this story told how Larry and Vickie Rodgers of Hidden Lake RV Park and Safari came to host a pretty unusual sight in their back yard, that of a young spotted fawn and a blue heeler watch dog who have become inseparable friends. That's pretty big news, but it's also big news when a TV film crew comes all the way from Canada to Jacksboro, to do a documentary.
Last Monday, the film crew arrived and stayed through Wednesday interviewing the family and shooting video of Newt, the fawn, and Hot Shot, the dog, who have become inseparable friends. Kim Harris was the director for Summerhill Entertainment, the company that will produce the segment. Harold Bachmann was director of photography, and Grant Waters was the sound person. They are all free-lancers.
Different production companies call on them for specific jobs. Both Kim and Harold are from Canada, but Grant is from Las Vegas, Nev.
Kim explained that free lancers in this business are call "television sluts" because they do anything that is required. Kim, Harold, and Grant each specialize in producing shows that have something to do with animals.
Kim explained that she had recently done a story in Nevada about professional falconers where a hunting dog had mothered a baby owl. Now the owl, a huge Eurasian Owl, rides shotgun with the bird dog when their owner goes out in his truck. When asked if they'd ever had a bad experience with an animal, Kim and Harold laughed and answered, "Oh, yeah. Like when we were standing by a lion, and before we knew it, he turned his back side to us and sprayed us!"
Kim said she'd just come from Wild Heart Ranch out of Claremore, Okla. near Tulsa, where she did a show about this wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center. She was impressed that not only were the animals rescued, but often the helpers were also troubled and their passion for the animals seemed to have a healing effect on both man and beast.
Harold, the videographer, began his career as an underwater camera man. He said he filmed sharks long before there was ever a "Shark Week." He has worked in 48 countries and almost all the states in the United States. One of his last jobs was in Austin doing a show for HGTV's Property Brothers.
He said he loves traveling, that "the Road is a Haven ---- until you start thinking about what you're neglecting at home." Then he laughed and added, "the Road is hard on marriages, but I'm doing pretty well. I'm only on my third."
Kim began as a writer, doing nearly all documentary work. She said, "I've done drama and TV series, but I prefer documentaries because it's immediate and satisfying." She said she also did a series for PBS called, "My Wild Affair" about a man in Portland, Maine, who tamed a seal.
Grant, the sound guy, had just come from working on the set of Duck Dynasty. "I did what they call 'pick up work,'" Grant said. "It's interesting how they film Duck Dynasty. Their regular film crew will spend 2-3 weeks to shoot one episode. Then they edit all the footage, and whatever they have left out or need to add to an episode, well, then they send a pick-up crew to do that. So that's what I did."
Duck Dynasty episodes are wrapped around whatever is actually happening in the lives of the characters. The regular film crew films them as they are going about everyday life. Then the TV editors look at the film that's been shot, and they build the story around that. Whatever they need to complete the story has to be done later. That's when some of the dialogue gets scripted, when they need to piece together parts of the show. Otherwise, it's just the main characters talking as they go."
Grant added, "Did you know that Willie, Phil, Si, and Jase each make $1 million dollars an episode? It didn't start out that way, but they do now."
"And the next animal reality show is going to come out of Waco," Grant added. "It's going to be called Pig Man and it's going to be about professional hunters who go after feral hogs."
After visiting with Kim, Harold, and Grant on the patio of the Rodgers' home for three days, both Vickie and Larry said they'd enjoyed them so much, they seemed like family. It was obvious this crew knew how to put people at ease as they interviewed and built the story they needed to tell.
So when will we see Newt and Hot Shot on our TVs in Jacksboro? It'll be a while.
First, the work done by the film crew will be sent to Summerhill Entertainment in Canada. It will take about a year for them to edit and produce the program.
This story will be 10-15 minutes of a program that will be shared with another animal story. It will air in Canada first. Then, it will be sold to other outlets all around the world.
"You could be sitting in a hotel room in Dubai, or Japan, or India --- any place in the word," Kim said, "and see the segment about a dog and a fawn in Jacksboro, who become great friends.
People all over the world love animal stories.