Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 24, 2010

I really don’t want a career in the movies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It takes a certain type of person to want to do movie work. Watching hundreds of people hurry up and wait, while the actors repeat their scenes seven or ten times to get it right, is about as interesting as watching ice melt. Nevertheless, it IS fascinating to see the inner workings of a huge machine called a movie company. Every last detail down to “Who is recycling all our beverage containers?” must be thought out in advance and assigned to somebody. The down side is that there are too many bosses, and it is hard to know to whom to report. Especially in a remote location where cell phones aren’t working, the left hand barely knows that its right hand is even connected. Somehow, though, it all gets done. Eventually.

I must report that I am duly impressed with the catering company that does all the food for 290 people daily. The breakfast and lunch buffets looked remarkably similar to what is served at the country club in my home town… and this is three meals a day, every day, for the entire crew. Snacks on the set are the finest fresh fruits and veggies, berries, sliced cheeses, beef jerky, granola bars, a basket of chocolate bars, and some salty crunchy type things. Massive coolers filled with iced beverages (sodas, juices, sparkling waters, lemonade, tea, etc) are always at the ready. They feed their people well.

Scooping horse poop is about as rigorous as I thought it would be. I carried out all the poop that the six pack horses pooped in the canyon by my campsite today. These horses carried in all the camera equipment, about 3/4 mile, and a security guard will sleep there each night to keep an eye on it all. Tomorrow there will be about 8 or 10 horses in there, for many more hours, so I’ll have significantly more poop to carry. There is something very therapeutic about this job. It’s humbling. I have no pretenses about being someone special when I carry the poop rake around with me. I like this.

And I got a free T-shirt today that identifies me as part of the Utah Film Commission’s FILM CREW. Sweet.


  1. i would like to know how you keep 290 people, and the horses off the cryptobiotic crust. or do they pay an upfront damage fee?

    Comment by john — May 25, 2010 @ 6:33 am | Reply

    • My gut was churning as I attended the shooting on “1st Unit,” which is always the bigger scenes, bigger name actors, and way more chaotic. I walked around with my scooping colleague there and nearly cried. The crust is horribly trampled, with big kicked-up clumps of it crying out to me in anguish as I passed by. I am quite certain that the permit fees for shooting a movie there have to include a realization that major crust damage (taking decades or a century to re-grow) is inevitable. May I add that on MY unit, 2nd unit, we have put up utility flags to denote areas to avoid? The topography is a lot more conducive to crust-saving in my canyon, as the horses and people mostly walk in the wash.

      Comment by kath56ryn — May 25, 2010 @ 7:09 am | Reply

  2. Quote from Sigorney Weaver on the set of Galaxy Quest: “We’re all just worker bees on the set.”

    Comment by Ed Oak — May 25, 2010 @ 10:02 am | Reply

  3. Soooo, Kathryn, are you telling us that the upward mobility in your chosen profession may be – uh – limited? What are the chances of becoming the poop-scooper Czar? Or be like the Mafia controlling all the trash & garbage collection processes.
    With your creativity, I’m envisioning great things here . . .

    Comment by leroque — May 25, 2010 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  4. Aw Sis..this could be a great start to a movie career…? Your almost in between jobs again..just don’t know what God has plans for you

    Comment by Chris — May 25, 2010 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  5. This is SOOOO fascinating!! Bet you can’t wait to get back to park rangering. But how many people can say that they DID THIS…what you are doing!!?? Your life is outrageously different and interesting, don’t you think?! Today I finished mowing the lawn, planted more flowers, had coffee with De…and I missed you!!

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — May 27, 2010 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

    • I am never bored, Kathy! “Outrageously different and interesting” made me laugh, but it seems accurate. There is SO much to do out here. You are right, I am ready to return to rangering, especially considering that it is a holiday weekend and I don’t want to be fighting for campsites. We’ll see what transpires next!

      Comment by kath56ryn — May 27, 2010 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

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