CARE a BIG Cat rescue in Texas
In 2016, we had three active open contracts with three different clients. These types of contracts are special because they allow a client to book multiple dates over long periods of time on a basis similar to that of a retainer. These clients had us traveling from Las Vegas to New York City and Miami this year and we have had a great time providing content from all over the nation.
One of these clients, IDS, had a change of management mid year and unfortunately that affected this particular shoot. When the contract was terminated early, we were halfway through filming CARE a BIG Cat rescue in Texas. We never got a chance to conclude by interviewing Heidi, but we wanted to make sure that this particular shoot which is so very special and important, had it’s day in the sun. As normal practice, we always use past work as part of our portfolio, here is a video clip of the coverage we had prior to the management change.
The first day of shooting, we arrived at CARE. It was cloudy and raining hard in Texas that day, as well as unseasonably cold. We pulled up to the facility and there was a house on property that we later found out was owned by Heidi, the Executive Director and Founder of CARE. I knew by the size and sheer magnitude of this facility that I was about to meet a very unique person. Sure enough, Heidi met all of my expectations. She opened the door and welcomed us in with a fresh pot of Hot Chocolate. She let us get settled in, and the house was extremely cozy with unique and natural tones and textures. Very down to earth surroundings. After some small talk, she asked if we were ready to go see the facility. The rain was starting to let up and she knew we had gear to move for the shoot. She put on her rain boots and jacket and pulled her 4-wheel drive truck right up to the door. I had my gear ready to load into that big black pickup truck and I threw it in the back. And there I saw tools, chainsaw, shovels, rope, and all kinds of things like that. She opened the back cab to let me load more and there were power tools and gloves. I went around to get in and she had to move her rifle for me to sit down. To me that was a sign that I was definitely not working with just your average girl. This was a strong, colorful woman that was a force to be reckoned with.
She drove us down to the spot to set up, and started talking about the new cages for the tigers. She talked about the welding that was taking place, and it took me a minute to realize that she was the welder. Some of the interns had accidentally gotten their car stuck in the mud, so Heidi helped them go get the tractor and pulled their car out for them, while still being ever the gracious host.
On day one I really wish I had recorded more audio, but I was expecting to come back. I wish I could convey how the sounds of these cats when you are close to them will literally shake your chest. As we walked around I was given the opportunity to get a scope of the land so that I could plan the shoots. Watching these cats follow Heidi around in their enclosures was amazing. She could place her palms on the fences and the cats would rub themselves against her, just wanting to be close to her. She explained to me that a lot of these cats came to her as cubs and were actually raised in her home. She explained that she knew it was time for a couple of the male lions to leave the house when they got so strong that they could grab the couches and move them from one end of the room to the other. The connection between Heidi and these cats is like nothing I’ve ever seen in person before.
Although this is a very big job, Heidi is not alone in this. She has interns of all ages that are strong and dedicated. She also has her husband, Derek Krahn, who is a Board Member and the Operations Director and supervises the day-to-day facility maintenance and operations. He also unknowingly lent me his very warm and thick brown coat that day, as Heidi would not let me go out in the cold without a coat. 🙂 In the video you will see that Derek was the first long interview that we did, and he is very used to the camera with his popularity on Social Media. (@BigCatDerek )
You will also see that most of our shots were up close to get the beauty of these animals by showing the detail. Lots of times the real story is in the eyes, and I have never seen animals in enclosures with as much life in their eyes as these. One of many of the animals you will see is Flash, a bright , energetic, and loving White Tiger.