Le Milieu de Parcours

Apres les apprehensions des premiers jours je me suis habitues aux exigences du cours. Cela es du principalement a la patience de notre enseignante Christiane et la structure excellente des cahiers. Les regles grammaire sont encore difficles a comprendre et je suis inquiet de savoir comment les transférer à la parole. Mais je dois etre … Read more

Alliance Francaise, Premiere Semaine

 Un compte rendu de ma première semaine à Alliance Francaise, la meilleure école pour apprendre le français en Toulouse. Les premiers jours ont été intimidants car les cours sont entièrement en français. J’avais pensé, ou espérais peut-être qu’au moins certaines des leçons auraient été en anglais. C’était insensee de moi parce que bien sûr les … Read more

A Ridge Line Hike, A Lingering End

The train horn bellows as the steam engine labors over Cumbres Pass and the acrid stench of black smoke from the coal boiler drifts across the mountain. Striding the ridge line I realize the obvious: the Continental Divide Trail is so called because that’s its path, the western watershed. It follows a high line from … Read more


One of the rules I stress to my crew is the importance of making a good impression at vital stages of production: the early batches of photos, the first director’s scout, the beginning of principal. At Dallas Fort Worth International I collect the director et al and commit my own cardinal sin; I make a … Read more

July 4th Drive

The Mittens on a Winter Evening         ©Copyright Jonathan Slator

“So we’re all set then?”

“Right.” I say and we shake on the terrace of the Monument Valley visitor’s center, the charcoal face of the director of the Navajo Park grins as always, framed by the famous buttes of his domain. I walk to the car in the 106 heat. It’s 1.30 and I’ve got a solid six hour drive to Taos. So home for supper with the little darlin’, and who knows how the evening might pan out? Quick scan of the check list, permits, PAs, water trucks, tower lights, etc etc, all the crap that a big budget Western with a high-end cast will need to shoot in this gorgeous, boiling valley in August. Reckon I’ve covered all for the production company’s arrival, and set off. Pump gas in Kayenta and ready to roll when the phone jars.

“We’re adding a crew hotel.” Says the coordinator in Santa Fe.

“Bollocks.” I’ll have to add it to the call-sheet map, and my key assistant, on whom I try to off load all map work is off today, it being July 4th, and the rest of my crew, working on set in Santa Fe, couldn’t do a map if their lives depended…aargh.

Swing into the hotel lobby for the wifi and get to work. Almost done when a Harley pulls under the porte cochere and a portly gent enters. I expect a redneck drawl but am startled by a broad British accent. He checks in and asks for the bar; his head sinks when informed of the dryness of the Navajo rez. I cheer him with the info that he can get a beer half an hour to the North in Utah at the Swinging Grill in Mexican Hat. We smile at the irony of two Birmingham UK lads looking for a pint in the weird west.

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