ENMU grad assists with ‘Hell or High Water'

ENMU grad assists with ‘Hell or High Water'

The film, released Aug. 12 in select cities and set for release Friday in Clovis, was partially shot in eastern New Mexico. Here's what he had to say about his involvement in the production:

Brandon Carter

How did you land the job to work on the film?

I believe the production company actually contacted the college. They were going to be shooting in Portales, just for a week, and they wanted to see if there were any film students that wanted to participate. The professor sent us out an email, and I called up the guy who would eventually become my boss. We met for coffee the next day, and then I got the job. They kept me on for not just the Clovis stuff, but the rest of the film. They filmed in between Clovis and Tucumcari, and some of it was dirt roads between Melrose and Santa Rosa.

Did you get to interact with any of the main actors? If so, how closely?

I got to see them, but mostly the director worked with them. But with the crew, what I did mostly was post signs to locations and clean up the locations whenever we left so that we wouldn't leave too much of a mess behind. I talked to business owners to get parking lots for us to put our trucks and equipment on. I cleaned bathrooms, and I ran air conditioning — the air conditioning is when I got to work closely with the actors. I'd run large yellow tubes that funnel in cold air quickly because the sets would get very hot. One day Jeff Bridges came up and said, "Oh there's that yellow snake I miss so much," talking about the tubes. Ben Foster was probably the most outgoing of all and would talk to some of the crew.

What was the experience like overall being able to work on this film?

It was the biggest film I've been a part of and was the hardest work I've ever had to do, which was not what I was expecting. It was very physical, long days from 5 a.m. to maybe 11 p.m., from May through July last year. It was very demanding, but it was one of the most rewarding things. I went to school for digital filmmaking, so it worked out, and I was really happy the whole time. I didn't know I could work that hard.

What did you think of the film when you saw it?

It made me proud. It's amazing. It's one of my favorite movies I've seen this year, if not ever. That's not only because it's my hometown and not only because I worked on it, but because it's really good. And it's about people from around here. You can recognize people that you know in the characters that are portrayed on-screen

What is next for you?

I'm still applying for jobs. I've worked on a few films since up in Albuquerque, but those are few and far between. I'm still in the entry-level position, still working my way into the business. I just lucked out that I happened to get on a movie in my hometown. I'm applying to news stations — other things besides film sets. I want to work in the industry, but I'm not sure where I'll go from here.

— Compiled by Staff Writer Brooke Finch