by And Man Created Dog Production Team
We were an hour and a half, north of Los Angeles, to film a reenactment of daily life from around 27,000 years ago.
In our documentary, it is early days in the relationship between our group of Gravettian people and what was to go on to become domesticated dog. There is so much that we do not know about our own early history. However we have done a lot of research, talked to a lot of experts and have a pretty good idea of how early man and dog may have come together.
Video Preview: “The Start of the Domestic Dog” — When early man began leaving food scraps beside a dwindling campfire, dogs followed their noses, and domestication began.
Our filming was a much bigger production than the day before because in addition to dogs we had actors. That meant costumes, make up and yes, porta potties. Believe me, booking a porta potty is not the most glamorous thing that I have ever done as a TV producer. Having one delivered to the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere and then picked up again at 6 am, is not a job to be sniffed at, if you’ll pardon the pun.
To top it all we had children as actors as well. That meant, in addition to parents, a teacher to accompany them and a dedicated area for them to go to.
Well having set up puppy day care the day before, doing something similar for children was a breeze. In reality the kids wanted to see the filming and what was going on, on the set, so they didn’t actually spend much time in their school, in the field, that I had spent hours drawing up on paper! Still they enjoyed themselves and did a good job.
So with our cast and crew of thousands, well maybe 40, we set about our filming.
Although it was dark we had inflated two giant, glowing, balloons full of helium, called ‘Air Stars.’ On film, they recreate the look of moonlight. You may think they have problems at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when the wind blows….
…well we also had trees perilously close by, with giant, gnarled thorns on them. Were we to loose our primary source of light we would have stayed up all night for nothing.
Early man may have only had the light of a fire to see by but we could not really have justified filming him in pitch black and calling it ‘authentic.’
Burst balloons would have meant thousands of dollars down the drain and lots of, film-type, grown ups with sporadic bald patches where they had pulled their hair out!
As if we had placed a special order for it, as morning approached the winds picked up. If someone had ever told me that part of my job would have been standing in the middle of a field, in the middle of the night holding onto a balloon and never taking my eyes off of it, I would have laughed. Future documentary film-makers take note.
Well I wasn’t laughing then. I was cold and tired having been up 21 hours and I never even liked balloons that much, even as a child. But never complain. We were all in this together and we still had several scenes to shoot.
Well, needless to say, I managed to save my balloon from a fate worse than death, in balloon terms anyway. The children were long gone home, as fortunately we have laws that protect them from working for too many hours.
As we began the long and arduous task of packing up all of the camera gear, the first rays of morning sunlight began to appear.
Although I was very tired and we still had a lot to do, I took a couple of minutes to watch the shadows dance on the nearby hills as the sunlight grew stronger. I was glad that I was there to see this perfect country scene. On any other day I would have been snoring under my bed covers at home and missed it.
Don’t miss the premiere of “And Man Created Dog“ this Sunday, August 8th at 9P et/pt.