By Kris Mercer
What you don’t see in the footage. It is often said that the production department is the unseen logistics that make a project possible, but I personally disagree.
Yes, in the final commercial maybe you don’t see the 4:00am call time but you certainly see the striking sunrise that resulted from the early start to the day. You don’t see the local cuisine that was served on set but the connection between the filmmaker and the families that grew over those jokes and conversation at dinner are apparent in the sly smiles and that perfect line captured through quickly-formed friendships. Maybe the hours, days, and months of coordination invested between the production company and agency get lost among stunning visuals but I believe you can still feel the commitment that was put towards achieving these moments.
Reflecting on the week-long South Dakota Corn shoot Northpass Media experienced through our relationship with Paulsen, I am reminded of why I went into the production department in the first place. This project started with a phone call and through a month of budgeting, scheduling and planning became an unforgettable adventure. You see, we didn’t just film South Dakota Corn, we lived it!
On Sunday, August 28, we packed up the motorhomes (yes, that’s plural), all 7 crew members took their positions, and started our road trip to South Dakota. From the moment we saw the first sprawling corn field, we were in it. Drones, Bodymount, 10 locations across the state, fireworks, and the equivalent of about 60,000 feet of film … we were present for every mile of this journey reveling in the moments not seen on camera just as much as the moments that made the cut. The relationships that were formed, the people we met - the skill of every position - I like to think the hours of hard work beforehand allowed for this profound experience and result.
Returning home from South Dakota, we all felt the wonderful exhaustion that comes from hard work paying off. We reminisced about different tales from the shoot, reminding each other about the perfectly timed shot captured just as the sun was setting over the Sioux Falls prairie. Now, in the edit bay, I still look at that shot and remember the crew, agency, and teamwork that made it happen, but even for those enjoying it on their couch at home, I hope that they will see the love we had for what we do in every frame of the 60 second spots. Even if they didn’t live the behind the scenes, I believe they’ll feel it.