Production is underway on Season 11

Posted on May 11, 2017

Now that we've laid to rest another countdown we can concentrate on what is happening on set because filming on season 11 began Tuesday.

For the first two days there were lots of production tweets with photos of the returning cast and crew. In case you do not know there are going to be a series of tweets each day season 11 filming takes place. Some days there will only be text and some days there will be some photos, but if you want to be riding on the inside track as to what is going on for this upcoming season of Heartland, you need to follow Heartland on CBC on Twitter.

Today I am going to summarize what has happened so far on set, and explain a little about how production works, for those of you new to following Canada's longest running one hour dramatic series.

The exciting news is that we have a new character horse - Flame - who goes by Escondido when he's himself. A tall, handsome jumper, he will be an important equine addition to season 11. That's Amber Marshall as Amy and Alisha Newton as Georgie in the photo at the top of this blog working with him.

Other exciting news is that Megan Follows is back as Ty's mother Lily, and Wanda Cannon is back as Val Stanton. And of course Amy has been riding Spartan in scenes on two of the three production days so far. Because Amy did not ride at all last year due to her pregnancy you can be sure that this year we'll see her riding - big time!

Now I am not going to reveal too much. I hope to tease you all with different scene descriptions, plot points and hints at what is going to happen, but I am not going to give away too much. Still, if you like to watch the episodes without knowing anything then maybe you should be careful about reading my Thursday blogs.

That being written, how can you not read these when I am so full of educational information? for example...

Heartland, while filming, shoots two episodes in 15 days. It is called block shooting. It saves on having to move equipment (and there is a lot of it) numerous times. On Tuesday production started at the ranch where they will film all scenes from episodes 1101 and 1102 that take place there and in the surrounding area. Then everyone will up and move to another location and film all scenes from both episodes that take place there. This goes on until the end of the 15th day when everything in the two television hours has been filmed. You can see how this cuts in half the number of moves that would have to take place had filming been done one episode at a time.

Now while Director Grant Harvey, 1st Assistant Director Pierre Tremblay and 2nd Assistant Brad Moerke are on set with the majority of the crew, Block 2 (episodes 1103 & 1104) are in prep. which is...

At the production office Director Eleanore Lindo and 1st Assistant Director Mark Ambury and 2nd Assistant Director Martin Pedersen are breaking up the next two episodes into a shooting schedule that will start filming the day after Block 1 has its 15th day. This way Eleanore, Mark and Martin will join the crew and episodes 1103 and 1104 will start their filming while Pierre and Brad will return to the production office and start prep on the next two scripts - 1105 and 1106 - with Block 3's director. This continues until 9 blocks (18 episodes) have been filmed.

So that - in a nutshell - is block shooting. Obviously the scenes are filmed out of sync; sometimes the last scenes of an episode are filmed first and the very first scenes are not shot until well into the shoot. This is why everyone must be on top of their game, so when the episodes are seen by you it all makes sense and looks chronologically as it appears in the scripts.

That's all I really have for you this fine day (fine because filming is happening again!) and besides, last week's blog was a major tome, wasn't it?

The past couple of weeks on Facebook I have been touting the beauty of the area where Heartland is filmed. Scenery and horses my friends; it's what this part of Canada is all about. With that in mind I've posted a few unseen scenic and equine photos you may like.

So come back next week and I'll have some more news and photos and info for you. In the meanwhile I remain, as always, obediently yours.

Oh wait! I was just about to post this when I received the good word. On Twitter I conducted a poll concerning Ty's truck as in - should he sell it or keep it and buy a new vehicle to transport Amy and the baby around in?

You voted an overwhelming 90% for him to keep it, so that is what is going to happen. The truck stays! Who says Heartland doesn't listen to its Heartlanders?

So then, until next week...