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Local Film Crew Battles Adversity, Angry Motel Owners In "Where We Started" Production

July 11, 2011

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Anyone who watches "Where We Started" when it is released will see a story that examines the motivations of infidelity. In yesterday's story at the production of the film, we looked at some of the challenges that popped up in an on-location shoot in downtown Waco. Wind, trains, and time present problems for a filmmaker with a small budget and a very finite timeline. But what about when bigger issues arise? Issues that threaten the whole look of the movie? Hansen, the writer and director, and producer Brian Elliott, both Baylor professors, know their students on the crew are watching them as models of professionalism. Sophomore Jake Beck was one of those students.

Marlin. It's pretty much the first word out of the mouths of anyone involved in the movie. Not the city of Marlin. But a motel in Marlin that they chose for their shoot. It stands to reason that if the two main characters meet and have one nght in a motel, then that location is pretty important to the story.

So, like they always do, Hansen and the crew talked to the owner of a potential shoot site. The owner was amenable to them shooting there for several nights, and he was compensated not only for the use of a room, but for the time and allowing his motel to be a site in the film. Having several nights with which to work, Hansen plotted out what scenes would be shot each night at the all-important location.

Of course, there was more to it than that. One of the residents at the motel began cursing at the crew, and was incensed at their arrival the next night. It seemed he was upset that they were interrupting a flow of commerce taking place at the location.

Jake Beck saw producer Brian Elliott take that phone call, not knowing that Brian was trying to put out a major fire. All the while, the crew was dealing with feral dogs at a gazebo across the way, the arrival of Marlin police officers trying to find out what was going on, and transporting a 300 pound swingset back and forth from West to Marlin. All stories that might have been at the top for a young filmmaking crew were it not for a profane man who didn't like seeing business interrupted and a motel owner bent on backing out of a signed agreement. With that reality setting in, the actors and crew braced themselves for a long and exhausting night that was key to the film.

Already working a schedule heavy on overnight shoots, the exhausted crew pulled through, and the actors dug deep to work on scenes they weren't fully prepared for yet. But the professional crew fell back on what they'd been taught, and the students saw why planning ahead is valuable even when you think you think you have everything squared away.

That night was one story of many the crew will share about the adventures of movie-making. A night in which the unthinkable happened, but the crew banded together and did their job. And now they're on schedule, with the shoot having wrapped up and post-production beginning. Hansen hopes to have "Where We Started" ready to go for festivals in a little over a year. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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