I never really know what I am getting in to when a producer I don’t know gives me a call and wants to check availability. Such was the case last summer when I got a call from Warren Miller Entertainment. They were looking for a jib arm and director of photography to assist with a show called the “Total Outdoorsman Challenge.”  After the usual back and forth we came to a deal and off to the Ozarks I went to film a reality/sports/hunting & fishing game show.

One of the producers sent me out to find a little waterfall to shoot an open at. This is the photo I sent for her approval. She approved.

I always like to take a grip/PA along that knows how to build the jib, but on this job, due to the content, and the fact that there was no budget for an extra hand, I made a different call. My brother in law, Brian Payne, is an avid hunter/fisher/outdoorsman type guy. I figured if there was ever a shoot to invite him along on, this was it. I called him up and as expected, he signed on for the experience and the fun.

Jib setup for one of the opening segments. The river was full of trout.

The show consisted of several “outdoor” challenges. We filmed archery, bass fishing, fly fishing, shotgun trap shooting, rifles, and this crazy endurance course.


The entire show was filmed in Dogwood Canyon and we stayed in cabins on Table Rock Lake.

Cabin view of Table Rock Lake

After each day, we cooked out, drank beer and prepped for the next day. Brian excelled at his job. By the end of day one he had gotten quite good at the wireless follow focus, which is not easy, especially when it’s on a jib or steadicam.  By the end of the shoot, he had moved into an assistant director position and was helping design shots.

Brian, Master of the Bartech

I was filming on a Bass boat, during this photo I think we were going about 100mph or so.

Each set up had its own unique challenge. I had to be careful not to interfere with the competition but wanted the coolest shots possible.  One of my favorites was the one I posted a video about  a few weeks back. At the end of each day we where exhausted and excited for the next day. I enjoy shooting outdoors. Studio shoots are fine, but there is nothing like working in the sun. We just got the call they are going to expand the show to 12 episodes (up from 4). Brian will have had a full year to recover and seems eager to do it again. For me, it reminded me of a very cool summer camp.

Some background extras…

Here is a link to the finished episodes…



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