Finding a mountain in the Midwest
ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT VIDEO PRODUCTION IS THAT I GET TO WEAR MANY DIFFERENT HATS…
which is great since I’m a hat person.
There are always challenges. Luckily, I find them fun, kind of like a treasure hunt. One of my favorite stories is the time I was asked to find a “mountain” in the Chicagoland area.
YES, THAT’S RIGHT A MOUNTAIN IN THE FLATLANDS OF ILLINOIS.
This location was to be used for a video shoot that was a riff on the old Coke commercial “I’d like to teach the world to sing.”
After some preliminary online research, I deducted that we would need a state park or forest preserve. I paid a visit to the IL Film Office. Despite the fact that it was 2014, these photos were not online. Their location photo library was located in a massive amount of file cabinets. Once I found some photos of some potential locations, I visited them to ascertain if we could use camera angles and a crane to “fake it”. There was one location in a forest preserve not far from the office that had potential.
The shoot was scheduled on Memorial Day. In addition to finding this location I had to persuade 50+ talent volunteers to participate. Yes, Memorial Day! So, I promised the volunteers that it would be fun, that we would have a Memorial Day BBQ.
PRODUCTION 101: FEEDING THE CREW WELL = HAPPY CREW.
I reached out to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and lucked out. My contact was amazing. He went out of his way to help with permits, security, parking, porta-potty rental, etc. We were able to completely close down part of the preserves for the entire Memorial Day. We had budget constraints, working with a not for profit, and I was able to negotiate a rate that fit our budget as well.
It was chilly and rained on and off all day. I purposefully chose a location with a shelter and created a Memorial Day party atmosphere: red, white and blue table décor and catered bbq lunch. The video was a major success.
In the end, in addition to perseverance and tenacity, I’ve learned that you can draw more bees with honey. There are no mountains in the Midwest.