Rodeo cowboys are road warriors, and spend most of the year traveling from town to town to perform at rodeos across the country. Ronald drives an average of 70,000 miles a year. Production on Man in the Can spanned 10 states: Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, New Mexico and California. I took 19 flights to and from Los Angeles, 6 road trips, and had 2 tire blowouts (in one day).
It’s a miracle that I found my way around some of the back country roads, where the signs can be confusing. Ronald’s “country-style” directions were often equally perplexing: “Turn right past the second oak tree, left where the old Peabody farm used to be, and another left at the pea patch. If you get to the road that floods when it rains, you’ve gone too far.” Meanwhile, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and this city slicker doesn’t know what a pea patch looks like.
I used four cameras to film Man in the Can: 1 Sony HD camera, 2 GoPros, and 1 Canon G12. Since I was traveling as a one-woman production, I chose cameras that were small, easy to use, and economical. The Sony camera was my main “A” camera. It was light enough so I could hold it over the bucking chutes for long periods of time with one hand, while I used the Canon G12 in the other hand to take still photos. I usually mounted one GoPro to the arena for master shots, and strapped one to a rodeo clown in the arena.
I felt it was really important to see the rodeo from the rodeo clown’s point of view. Ronald offered to put me in the barrel during the rodeo so I could film from inside the arena, but the GoPro saved me from getting knocked around by a bull to get the footage I needed. GoPro cameras are great for action shots and getting the perspective of the clowns and bullfighters that most people will never experience. They’re also relatively inexpensive, so I didn’t have to worry about breaking it or someone taking one that was mounted to the arena. GoPro made it possible for one person to be a four camera production. I’m not sure if this photo says more about how small the GoPro camera is, or how big the bugs are in Texas.