TLG talks to New Mexico Location Manager Rebecca "Puck" Stair
A native Washingtonian, Rebecca "Puck" Stair explored Massachusetts and California before moving to New Mexico. She taught English students and broke in horses before falling into the film business. She still can't get up, but likes it because she finally feels at home with the ‘carnies.’
What do you like most about being a Location Manager?
The opportunity, as we delve into a place, to ‘sample’ careers, industries, places and people. Learning about aeronautics, casino management, endangered cacti, retired sailors and on and on...
What has been your luckiest career break so far and why?
Being hired as an assistant on No Country For Old Men. To experience the professionalism of the Coens and their crew early in my career presented a clear goal to work towards in later locations departments.
Being hired as an assistant on No Country For Old Men was a big thing. To experience the professionalism of the Coens and their crew early in my career presented a clear goal to work towards in later locations departments.
What type of production do you prefer working on and why?
Second unit on big action features. With all the stunts, crashes, aerial, wires and more, they have all the best toys and all the trickiest challenges.
What has been the best cheat location you have worked on?
It wasn’t a cheat but a new concept. For a night driving sequence on Blood Brothers, instead of hiring motorcycle officers to zoom ahead and hold traffic at lights, we hired a traffic light technician who froze all the lights in a grid, and we drove around and around and around uninterrupted. We did twice the work in half the time for a fourth the cost and double the safety.
What directors have you most enjoyed working with and why?
It was great to watch Andrew Stanton's intellect wrap around practical shooting for the first time on John Carter of Mars. Plus, he's a truly kind and gentle soul who understands the teamwork needed to launch movies and inspires amazing performances from his crew.
What has been your most challenging location assignment to date?
Filming a green-screen-heavy alien battle sequence in a remote location in southern Utah with actors in sand on stilts during spring winds. We had to build an enormous spaceship with containers on fossil-rich volcanic crust we couldn't crush, avoiding a tiny endangered cactus and irate ATVers with beer and guns, while wrestling an anti-film environmental activist organisation in DC Federal hearing rooms.
A challenging assignment? On John Carter of Mars we filmed a green-screen-heavy alien battle sequence in a remote location in southern Utah with actors in sand on stilts during spring winds!
What is the most film-friendly location you have shot at that actively wants to encourage productions their way?
Zia Pueblo. It has diverse and stunning landscapes, friendly people and swift permitting. As their prime industry, the Zia people deliberately choose film over a casino.
What tips would you give to anyone considering filming for the first time in New Mexico?
Drink more water than you think you need and ask the locals about anything you need! Everyone's friendly and will do their best to help you out.
What would you consider to be the most film-friendly hotels?
Heritage Resorts in Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It’s world-class service with working-class permissions.
Who’s your favourite location caterer and why?
Anyone who composts.
If you hadn’t become a Location Manager what would you have done instead?
Hard to say! Writing? Horse trainer? Engineer? Being a Location Manager allows one to dabble in everything without committing to anything. What could be better?
Global Filming Incentive - United States of America (see more…)
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