"I was first asked to work on EATERS OF THE DEAD (the movie renamed THE 13TH WARRIOR) as the generator operator by Dennis Brock, the gaffer. Starting almost a month before commencement of principal photography, I was charged with the task of supplying electricity for both lighting and the infrastructure. Because our location was so remote and so quiet, the placement of the generators was critical to insure that they would not be heard. I decided that it would be best to use a 600-volt distribution system, so that I could have the generators further away from set and still deliver proper voltages for lighting.

Powering the infrastructure presented another set of problems, as we had 5 water wells to supply our needs for fire safety, cooking and watering over 200 head of horses. It is amazing how many gallons of water a horse can drink in a day! The wells were, of course, situated at inconvenient locations, because that’s where the water was. We had our own microwave tower, 1,000 feet up a mountain behind the base camp, that gave us direct communication with the office in Campbell River and telephone service, as cellular phones would not work from the site.

Our circus (base of operations) was very large, with a number of big tents to accommodate the extra’s wardrobe, hair and makeup, changing facilities and lunchrooms. This was combined with the tractor-trailer units for cast hair makeup and wardrobe, and a number of large fifth-wheel trailers to the stars, producers, and director. The caterers were working overnight crews to prepare for feeding over 300 people, both breakfast and lunch, 6 days a week.

We were lucky with the weather for most of the Campbell River shooting, with only a few bad days and, of course, the major windstorm. The wind was already very strong when we arrived on site that day and it got worse almost immediately. We decided to evacuate to a safer area when the trees started to blow down around us. One of the last vehicles out was a pickup truck belonging to one of the greensmen. On the way out, a tree fell across the back of his truck, he jumped out, grabbed a chainsaw and bucked off each end leaving a large piece of log across the bent box of the truck. Once we decided to call the day, I went home to my campground, which was only 4 kilometres from set. There, we watched the trees falling all around us, while we sat in what felt like the eye of a hurricane. At one point, a large eagle’s nest exploded in a gust of wind and a young immature eagle fell about 6 feet down and caught himself on a branch! On the opposite side of the campground, another tree crashed down onto a boat and trailer. We were quite concerned about the plight of the young eagle, as where he had landed the adults were unable to get food in to him. The wildlife people came to assess the situation and did not offer much hope for its survival. Finally, after a couple of days, the young eagle managed to fly to a higher branch where the parents could feed it. A few days later, it was flying well on its own, so we assume that it survived.

There were a lot of horses, most of them a small breed used for the Wendol mounts. The Viking horses were a much larger breed, considered "heavy" in the horse world. These heavy horses were corralled in an old quarry area, where we had located one of the generators. Each day, we would pass through the corral to start the generator and the horses would crowd around us. A scary thing, having 6 huge beasts coming at you! My friend Lee Miller, the other genny op, found the answer to this problem: he started giving apples to the largest and most aggressive mare. She then became our protector, not allowing the others near us, insuring that she was the only one to get the apple!

One of the funny things that happened with animals was in Alkali Lake, outside of Williams Lake. The scenes being shot there required that we have camels, so a corral area was set-aside just for them. It was noticed that the area was covered with small cactus plants that when stepped on would jump up and poke their sharp spines into your ankles. We took to wearing high boots. It was thought that the camels, having soft feet, could suffer from these nasty little things, so a number of locals were hired to pick them from the corral area. Once the camels arrived, they immediately started to reach over the fencing and eat what they considered "tasty little morsels"!"



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