6/29-7/2-2021 Tenacious Unicorn Ranch Documentary Shoot
Postmodern hooked it up aging. And that awesome producer that I liked Krisi, put me forward for this job.
When I was first asked to do this job, I was told it was a week long Alpaca documentary. I was blown away by the site of being in a bowl of mountains and such old buildings around. I wanted to explore, but I didn't have time between production day and editing at night.
The town of Westcliff seemed to be a mostly amish town. Everything closes at 8PM and many coffee shops are run by amish folk and they were all over town. The only chain store in the town is a subway and a shell gas station. I am a PA on this shoot, Production Assistant in charge of giving crew rides and bringing crafty and food to everyone, helping the camera men with their gear, handing off lenses and moving tripods around and so on.
This is our lovely producer Krisi taking a selfie with an alpaca. Turned out the documentary would only be 4 days long. Producer is flying in from NYC along with the DP, and Director with us as the local higher crew. A day or so before leaving I found it's not actually an alpaca documentary, but a trans haven where they have an alpaca ranch. The Tenacious Unicorn Ranch.
The night before leaving, I got an email with a plan and shot list. Turns out there's something about a "really dumb white militia harassing" these trans people. The idea is to recreate shots from The Good The Bad and The Ugly so it would be like a western style doc.
I did not take this picture but it is super cute. The DP is on the left, producer in the middle and director on the right.
This is my hotel room. After delivering food to the crew when we were finished shooting, I got to work on editing the play! Got a first full draft in this trip. Beyond the Door 1st draft
They gave me a bag of swag. The ranch felt so peaceful, they were so nice. I'm curious as to how this documentary will turn out.
Getting gas wasn't as easy. I went to several stations before one had gas.
Overall, I lost a lot of respect for documentaries. Not the filmmakers or the people involved in the doc, but I just thought they were more honest and showed us truth, but now after working on a few I have found they all have a narrative. Lines were planted on people, to sound cute and cut together, but still not exactly true things. Light came to during some interviews but, when I had asked questions (not while shooting) they said they wouldn't investigate because it didn't fit the narrative.
The very kind ranchers accused white supremacy and threats of violence because they are transgender. They called themselves a communist community, they called themselves antifa, they were strapped with guns on their thighs. They say they are a trans haven for people who are transgender and need a place to be safe, which is wonderful. But there is no therapist or any mental watch they are scared from the minute they arrive with gun put in their hands and told they are under attack. There are other sides to the story but they didn't ask. I would have liked to know more. I believe they could very much be in danger out there in the center of the country and I believe intolerant people are threatening them. But, we didn't get any information on that beyond social media messages with theaters (amish town) and hearsay from another person who came to protect them for a week or so. There are holes and this was also close to the 4th of July which is Independence day for America. So, flags were being placed and we got a lot of footage of that. So, I just worry that the town might be misrepresented and the story is being told for entertainment and not seeking real truth. I just don't think it should be calling itself a documentary, but it is in a way that and now I know everything has a narrative and needs ways to edit together and sell.