Film Title: The Herd
Director: Jennifer L. Horst
ShortFilmTexas (SFT): What is the your documentary “The Herd” about?
Jennifer Horst (JH): “The Herd” is a short documentary that details how the Fort Worth Herd preserves the city’s treasured past by reenacting the cattle drives of the late 1800s.
SFT: How did you come across the idea for the film?
JH: I was researching project ideas for class (this was the first of three films made for my Master of Fine Arts degree) and needed a subject that a) would hold my interest for the duration of the project, b) local, and c) inexpensive. I had exhausted all the other topic ideas I had prepared when I decided to see what was going on in Fort Worth, my hometown. I came across The Herd, went to the Stockyards to see the cattle drive for myself and was sold.
SFT: What did you shoot on? Edit?
JH: I shot on a Sony PD150 and edited on Final Cut Pro.
SFT: You had quite a few interviews in the film. How long was the entire filmmaking process?
JH: This film was made as part of a single semester class, so I shot over several days in February/March, did archival research at the same time, and edited throughout March and April. I bailed out of the first rough cut screening when I realized I hadn’t made the film I had originally envisioned, and spent the last few weeks of April making an entirely different film. The final film was screened the first week in May. I had something like 10 hours worth of footage by the time I was done, not inclusive of all the archival materials I had collected.
SFT: I’ve lived in Texas all of my life and had no idea the history of the drive. Your research really paid off!
JH: I like to research the hell out of my films so that I know I’m not missing some gem of information that could make the difference between an ok story and something truly interesting and great.
SFT: Did you have a pretty large crew supporting you on the project?
JH: Actually, the only other crew member beside myself was Anna Dewell-Bussart she was my sound operator. I did everything else research, producing, directing, edit, etc. Anna and I have worked on several films together since then and you can check out her other work at www.annadb.com.
SFT: What was the most challenging part of making the film?
JH: The most challenging part of making this film was realizing that I had to start over on the edit about halfway through the process. The film just wasn’t what I had originally envisioned so I started over and am much happier with how the final piece turned out.
SFT: What was the most interesting thing you took away from the experience?
JH: For me, the most interesting thing was really getting to know more about my hometown why it was founded, what helped it grow, and why it is so important to keep that heritage alive.
SFT: What advice would you give a first time documentary filmmaker?
JH: Give yourself plenty of time to do things and don’t rush anything. Do your research so you know what you’re talking about, especially if you’re making a film about a topic that you’ve never been around before. Be nice to the people you’re recording and make sure they understand what the goal is for the film this helps other filmmakers out as they work on their projects, too.
ShortFilmTexas: What are you working on now?
Jennifer Horst: I’m currently editing a film about the Rio Grande and should be finishing up in the next month or so (my day job has gotten in the way so the edit has been slow!). Then it is on to the next one!
Are you a Texas filmmaker (yes, actors are filmmakers, too!)? Was this post helpful? Receive more posts like this via email and RSS to stay current with Texas casting calls, crew calls and Texas film news . Sign up for our newsletter and RSS feed