Pre-Production on The Great One [Producing]

Posted on July 1, 2008

As noted before, it’s back to producing mode. This is the same director that I produced The Treasonist for (where I got a free bus and Dodge Magnum).

Here’s the one-line synopsis:

A messenger in the Napoleonic Wars contemplates his future after accidentally discovering he is destined to become a great artist.

This is what I’ve mainly been working on:


Aaron (the director) looks through our actor database to find people he likes. I set up the auditions (and keep us synchronized with Google Calendar), they come in, have a read, we talk and then make a decision. The choices have been pretty slim to find someone that looks right and can pull of a convincing Russian accent.

And of course we need extras. Aaron’s an After Effects whiz, so we only need about 10 and he’ll replicate them to create 10,000.


I’m really excited because this is the first film I’ve produced where there are multiple locations and the director didn’t have a specific place in mind.

Our main locations needed are a field and tent interior. The tent will be on the sound stage. We’ll actually be using two fields, one for the large daytime scenes, and another for a night scene. The night field is a wooded backyard, so we can draw power from the house for lights (since we don’t get generators).

Here’s a video of some of the possible locations. The first is the backyard field. The second is one we found just driving around.

We did find a promising park, and they were fine with filming except we couldn’t have weapons of any sort, which wasn’t fine with the script and leads to…


This is more of a production design task, but it’s affecting where we can shoot. The PD team has done a great job of finding period guns. They even found a cannon with a guy certified to fire it. Once Aaron found this out there’s been a slight script tweak. When the park told me we couldn’t have weapons, I didn’t even bother mentioning the cannon.


What period army would be complete without horses? We have a few horse leads with people willing to let them be in the film. We just need horses that are used to people and won’t freak out.

And of course there’s lunches, craft service shopping, and since we’ll be out in the hot field – fans, bug spray, Easy-Ups and anything else to add outdoor comfort.

Photo by beggs.

Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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