Monday, December 6, 2010

The Shops at Nelis' Dutch Village

12350 James Street
Holland, MI 49424

We have mentioned before how wonderful it was to find such authentic Dutch locations, here in the states. Well this little gem is one of those wonders. A fun place for the family to spend the day wandering, learning and playing; though we used it for shooting scenes!

You can go visit one of our set locations, which is also a tourist attraction in Holland, Michigan.

While there, you can feed farm animals, ride the carousel or watch traditional dancing. Of course, you can also join the dancing, since lessons are offered!

They offer many authentic representations of dutch life, as seen over 100 years ago, including this Wedding Wagon. But that horse is not real. So don't get your hopes up!

When speaking of the Dutch culture we often think of the iconic wooden shoes. In the Nelis' Dutch Village, you can see how they are created. Either by hand or antique automated machinery.

The grounds include vibrant flowering gardens, canals and windmills, all manned by authentically dressed, and very friendly, staff.

The Shops at Nelis' Dutch Village has seasons of operation, so check before you make the stop. But do stop, it is well worth it!

The Baert Baron Mansion Bed and Breakfast

120 South Church St
Zeeland, MI 49464
phone: 616.748.1953

For the film, we were in need of a home to use for various scenes, inside and out. Something classy but age appropriate. Thankfully, we got this bed and breakfast!

The Baert Baron Mansion is in Zeeland, Michigan - a hop, skip and jump away from Grand Rapids. It was built by Dr. Daniel Baert in 1872 and is a classic example of the French Italianate design of the Nineteenth century in Western Michigan. 


Vic and Anna Karen VanDeventer have created a peaceful and beautiful stopover for guests, that includes tasty food and wireless internet.

For all the other pertinent details, call 616.748.195 or email

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh the Places We Went!

While filming for the movie is complete, and post production has begun, we still reminisce on the amazing places we worked this summer. For the next week or so, we want to highlight some of those places. Give you the info if you want to visit, tell you the funny stories and give props where they are deserved!

Then, after that, we should have a trailer for you! Guys, I am seeing the footage come together and it is incredible. I am not disappointed and am simply giddy over the prospect of the finished product!

But, patience is a virtue, therefore, nose to the grindstone and all that jazz...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Sunshiny Day

Our first day of filming was beautiful; sunny and bright, with fantastic people! So, with that in mind, I give you the people AND the sunshine! I was going to title this post, "Peter Winks at Everyone" but I didn't get as many good pictures of him winking. With all that sunshine, he could only spare one eye at a time!

Our very first shots involved these amazing reenactors. Those uniforms are the best reproductions a person could find! In wool! Doesn't take long for a man to start "glistening" when wearing wool in the summer. Not long at all. (You can't tell but, this is a Winking Peter Shot.)

The actors were waiting for their turns in the makeup and hair chairs, so we attacked them with cameras. This is Jacob, he plays Frank. And he does it really, REALLY well! (Hello, Winking Peter!)

The house we used for these scenes isn't historically accurate on the outside. It is the inside that held our attention! The cast and crew gathered around for instructions and a few winks.

We took up THE WHOLE STREET. They blocked it off so that we could have room for all our people and stuff. And one of the craziest parts? It was garbage day, so our People of Awesomeness took trashcans down the street to the waiting garbage trucks. So that the trucks wouldn't interrupt the scenes. Friends, that is dedication!

After so many months of planning, dreaming and just plain work, it was so rewarding to see all of this! A few hours on set led me to believe, 1) I want to do this FOREVER and 2) We need to get Peter some sunglasses!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Whenever I watch the behind the scenes of a movie, I am always so impressed with actors who learn a new skill to bring a character to life. In our case, one of our actors, Craig Robert Young (playing Piet Hartog) needed to learn to drive a motorcycle. A WWII German motorcycle. Yeah.

Scott, the re-enactor guy who owns the motorcycle, was gracious enough to give Craig lessons in the fine art of driving a really old motorcylce. 

Craig rode shotgun for a bit and got sage advice from the pro. They ignored us taking many pictures. But managed to not run us over (a small kindness).

But look at him go! He is so pro. He was even game to give rides to onlookers, small children and yours truly. Pro AND amiable! We like you, Craig.

P.S. If you desire more info about Craig, check out his IMDb page (you should totally look, he was in Lost, y'all!).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Geeking Out

Kids, I am totally psyched! We are in Michigan doing all the pre-film stuff and it is AWESOME! Getting to see the locations in person, meeting the geniuses behind the madness and fulfilling dreams is almost Cool Overload.

The first order of business has been to check the locations and see our sets. It is amazing how Dutch feeling a small town in Michigan really is; everywhere there is Dutch influenced architecture! Not to mention the gardens, food and weather.

We checked out the windmill, which is where we filmed those tulip field scenes. The tulips are no longer in bloom, but the windmill, shops and a great bridge were inspected.

Outside our windmill is a piece of an old windmill wing they have on display. It is riddled with bullet holes because the windmill had been used as a lookout point during World War II.

The 10 West guys have been busy making sure our sets look amazing and they are doing a fantastic job! They have 4 stages where various sets are being built.

The benefit of creating your sets, is that they can be made movable and changeable. We will be able to get double duty out of them by simply moving a few walls and changing the various set elements!

One of the best feelings in the world is going to bed, absolutely exhausted from working on something wonderful. Yeah, we're there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oh the places you'll go!

When you are thinking of creating a film, the first steps are all cerebral. The intellectual property and whatnot. But when it all starts becoming "real", you have to take those ideas and make them physical. And the biggest one seems to be the location.

We have updated a lot on our location scouting, given pictures and even videos to show some of the amazing places we have found. But you don't even know the half of it! Allow me to fill you in a bit.

When doing a historical film everyone would LOVE to go to the original locations. Which would be The Netherlands, in our case. However, getting all of our team over there (along with our families) would be cost prohibitive. So, we look to the fascinating wonders tucked in America and find: a small dutch town in Michigan. Who knew?

It also happens that Michigan is very film friendly. Very. Friendly. There are a lot of talented people living there to add to our team, housing for the out of state member of the team (and their families), with the bonus of a mild summer we Texans will relish!

So, here is what we are doing: 1) Using existing buildings for sets (like the windmill). They are authentic and inspiring. 2) Creating sets in a warehouse. These babies are awesome. Seriously, our man Cronk is working some crazy magic for us right now! 3) Traveling for original location shots. Yes, a smaller team will head out to The Netherlands for the real thing. 4) Green screen. Finally, we will add some digital elements to the above sets, creating the kind of scenes we need.

Man, writing it down kind of puts it into perspective. We are doing a LOT of work to make sure this film looks authentic but it is so worth it!

Though building of the warehouse sets just got started this week, I have a picture to whet your appetite (plus, I like to share)!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tulip Field Plates

Our team was in Holland, MI again last week, shooting plates for the film. Plates are shots that establish the scene and provide us with blank scenes on which to add our actors when/if needed in post. Our tulip fields will be long dead when we do the big filming in July, so we had to plan a quick trip to get our shots. To make things MORE interesting, Michigan has been experiencing warmer than usual weather and the tulips bloomed early!

Many thanks to the team for these shots. They are just little snippets of various scenes so you can see what we are working with, quality and look/feel. I seriously watched it 4 times before posting this. It is that beautiful!

(And no, there isn't any sound!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's all in the details

Our very own details guru, Maria, was able to go to the Trinity University Costume Department to look at period based costumes. Maria is our Adviser for Historical Accuracies in the time period and story. She makes sure that the look and feel of the costumes and set are historically consistent. Plus, she has an intimate knowledge of the story we are telling and keeps us all straight on the time line.

And yes, I have a little gift for you. Maria, at the costume department, educating us. Enjoy!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Doesn't really roll off the tongue like "Action!", does it? But oh, how useful animatics are! They are a way for the directors to visualize each scene before gathering the masses for the blitz known as "filming". When you film, efficiency is the key! Not only for money purposes but time, as well. You have a plan for when the movie is to be released and with the after affects..... Well, the time budget is just as stingy as the money budget!

So, our team has been producing animatics of scenes. Hammering out simple details and making some artistic decisions before it gets busy. They are rough but the point is to see actor positioning, lighting, set design, etc. I snagged a snippet of one for you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hi Ho!

You know, I never really knew how much WORK went into making a movie. Sure, there is a script to write (and check four gillion times), actors to hire and people to make it look pretty but, all this? Totally caught me off guard. The movie stuff has been officially started with a scouting trip to Michigan. There is a little town called Holland and they have some great Dutch stuffs. Like houses, a college with Dutch inspired architecture and tulips. Yep! Fields of tulips! Should be very pretty and I will be sure to YouTube some person flouncing around in the fields, for your entertainment.

One of the locations they scouted, near the tulip fields, was an authentic Dutch windmill. The windmill was the last one allowed to leave The Netherlands, is used to grind flour and is 240 years old. Apparently, a British soldier wrote a letter to the curator of the windmill telling them he found shelter in that very windmill, during World War II. He said his B-12 was shot down and the Dutch Resistance hid him there, from the Nazis. Friends, this is history coming alive!

I will leave you with a little bit of fun from the Director and a shot of the Windmill of Awesomeness. Yeah, we are going to have such an amazing time making this film!

Still not satisfied? Check out our Gallery for the Scouting album. There are lots of pretty architecture pics for your perusing pleasure.