Well, production is totally in full swing now. This week at the Heartland Ranch set, director John Fawcett, along with 1st Assistant Director Pierre Tremblay and 2nd Assistant Director Brad Moerke, is steering the cast and crew through the first two episodes, "Finding Freedom" (#501) and "Something in the Night" (#502). Including today there are seven days of filming left on these two episodes. Read on...
Meanwhile, Grant Harvey is back in the production office, preparing to direct the following two episodes, beginning one week from this Monday. Between deciding how they are going to film the great scripts by Leila Basen (#503) and Ken Craw (#504), going on technical surveys of the areas where filming is going to happen, and in general getting ready to make the best episodes possible, Grant - who directed four episodes of Season 4 last year - and the ADs have their hands full and are champing at the bit (to use an equine metaphor) to get on set and begin filming.
Speaking of the Assistant Directors (ADs), this year Martin Pedersen is back as the 2nd AD, and everyone welcomes Andy Price as the 1st AD for the alternating blocks of episodes. Long before a lot of the cast and crew had been hired, Andy was the 1st AD on the pilot episode of Heartland - over 5 years ago (!) and is now back full time in Season 5. Welcome aboard, Andy! I bet when the pilot was being filmed if you told him he would be working on Heartland in 5 years he would have laughed his head off in disbelief (as he had you removed from set - the 1st AD has that sort of power!)
In a way everyone involved in the series is amazed that, here they are, in production on a 5th season that at its conclusion will have a total of 85 episodes and a 2-hour Christmas movie amassed. Who knew?
Next up: if you follow Heartland on Facebook (and if you don't, why not?!) you probably caught the news yesterday that the show is casting a very special role... Yes, Heartland is looking for identical twin (or triplet) girls to play the role of Lou and Peter's new baby. They must be between 18 and 30 weeks old, and (obviously) live in the Calgary area. So spread the word! Do YOU know anyone who fits the bill? I think it would be totally cool if the role was filled because of the Heartland online fan base, don't you? Anyhow, for more information, check out the Calgary Herald article here:
And here's the CBC News story that ran the other day:
Now I'm going to repeat a few things that will certainly find their way into the upcoming FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section of the site -
1) No date has been set for the DVD release of Season 4. Season 3 only came out in March, so you know it's going to be some time yet before it's available, but when I know, you'll know!
2) "A Heartland Christmas" - the aforementioned 2-hour Christmas movie - will have a separate DVD release, but again no date's been set. And also again - when I know you'll know, as long as you faithfully follow the blog!
3) No one can predict if there will be further seasons of Heartland beyond Season 5. In this crazy business known as television, you are as good as what you have just done, so if Season 5 gets the awesome audience numbers that Season 4 did, you can be sure that the CBC and the producers will be looking to extend the series further. But that decision will not be made until Season 5 is well into its broadcast season.
4) Speaking of, the Season 5 Premiere will be Sunday, 7:00pm (7:30 in Newfoundland) - as always - in September. Which Sunday is still being decided upon, and when it is time for the broadcast date to be revealed, I'm hoping you're going to find out in an interesting way. So make sure you keep reading the blog, 'cause you never know what'll be galloping down the road for you to see. (Hey! 2 equine metaphors in one post... crazy!)
Getting back to everyone starting on the job, photographer Andrew Bako began his work Tuesday and shot the photo you see at the top of this week's blog post. As you can see, Amber (Amy) and Storm (Spartan) were out being filmed at the ranch set, with no clouds in the sky on a beautiful Alberta spring day.
Throughout the production season I'll be getting production photos from Andrew and will be giving you sneak peeks about what to expect in the upcoming season of Heartland.
Oh, and I managed to get some more episode titles to whet your appetite... #503 is going to be called... wait for it... "What's in a Name?" (I wonder what that could be about?) and I just learned that #504 is titled "Beyond Hell's Half Mile." That sounds just a tad interesting, dontcha think? I've just created four new entries in the "Episodes" category of the Heartland forum on the off chance that you want to speculate about these!
So anyway, thats pretty well it for this week. I hope you are following Heartland on Twitter, as there have been a few Tweets every day since filming began and all sorts of interesting things can be learned there and nowhere else. And no, don't ask - I'm still not telling you anything more about Elvis!!!
Watch for another Spot the Differences puzzle on Monday (a super-hard one this time... I hope) and have a great weekend! I intend to go on a long ride in the country on Bloggy, my faithful steed.
Until next week,
The Blog Whisperer