If you follow my Instagram feed, you know a couple of weeks ago we were outside La Junta, Colorado filming a historical segment at Bent’s Old Fort. Our entire family was cast as Santa Fe trappers/traders/travelers for a life-size movie that will show at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
We have been visiting Bent’s Old Fort on our way to the mountains for 7 years. Prior to that, it was one of those places on the map we always passed, but never stopped at. We were too busy getting to the mountains! After Emily passed away, we became very purposeful about our trips. We stopped at every brown historical marker we saw. We chose to enjoy the journey. Bent’s Old Fort became a part of that journey.
It is a wonderful living history museum full of the history of the Santa Fe trail. Ty started going to the Fort a couple of times a year to portray the role of hunter/trapper. The outfit he wore for the film was his own. (He is in the process of sewing a new pair of pants from brain-tanned leather he purchased from another homeschooling family.)
Ty found out about the film and sent in an application, mentioning we also had a large family that fit the ages the casting crew was looking for. They called us up and said they wanted all of us!
To get ready for the filming, all of the men had to grow out their facial hair, and us girls had to put our hair in braids the night before to help add texture to our hair.
(See how thrilled I am about having my hair in tiny braids?!)
We showed up on site Saturday morning, and made our way to a huge rental trailer filled with period clothing. Each of the younger boys got a shirt, britches, vest, hat, socks and shoes. Blake also had suspenders and had his whiskers darkened in and shaped up.
The girls got dresses, chamises, petticoats, socks, shoes, and bonnets. We had to be covered from head to toe! Our makeup and hair was done by the mom/daughter team of NaturesKnockout.com. They freelance all over the United States and often do historical films.
We learned a lot during the making of this film. We learned that historical clothing for the white women of the era was hot and heavy, while the Mexican women and Indian women got to wear much lighter, less cumbersome clothing. I decided I would be one of them next time (*snicker*)
We also gained a deep appreciation for just how much work goes into the making of a film. The first morning, they filmed just the men outside the fort. A 90 second shot, took 5 hours to film!
We learned that giving the appearance of a lot of activity in the background of a film means doing the same thing over and over and looking busy while you walk in circles.
We learned that filming in Eastern Colorado in August is hot, sticky, and exhausting.
We learned that some film directors wear kilts.
We learned that you can make a moving camera by putting the guy with the camera in a wagon on top of a Gott cooler and pulling him slowly along.
We learned that children dressed in historical clothing still act like children, and bringing a babysitter was a VERY good idea! (Thank you, Hannah!)
Many people consider being in a film a bucket list item. What a thrill to be able to say we did it! This will be one of those memories we talk about for a long time to come! If you are ever at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, MO (located under the arch), see if you can find us in the film! You’ll most likely see Ty and my two oldest kids the most, but you might catch a glimpse of the rest of us in the background!
And if you are ever in Eastern Colorado, stop at Bent’s Old Fort. You may find a new favorite along the trail just as we have.