Skip to main content
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
News & Updates

Keep up to date with our recent project launches, award recognitions, industry insights, and behind-the-scenes peeks.

News and Updates

The Perils Of Shooting In The Desert


August 15, 2014

I am still finding sand – a small oasis in a pair of sneakers, a wayward grain or two in the bottom of a messenger bag, enough for a zen garden in the trunk of my car – weeks after we wrapped  principle photography on The Other Side.

Back in June, ReKon Productions joined forces with the team at City West Productions to produce the short film, The Other Side. Written and Directed by Scott Brown (MyDomain) the story is about a couple carrying out a simple  job in the desert when things go awry.

With the main location being the desert, it was not surprising that I found myself out


in Lake Los Angeles for two days of shooting. For those who are not familiar, Lake Los Angeles is a gorgeously (though slightly sparse in population) desert place located between Lancaster and Palmdale that has been used by filmmakers since 1938. It is the picture perfect landscape what with the mountains, and the joshua trees, and even the occasional tumbleweed. Filmmakers love the majesty and cinematic perfection, but even the most seasoned and passionate of crews cannot escape the perils of shooting in a desert.

PERIL [per-uh l] noun. – exposure to injure, loss, or destruction; grave risk; jeopardy; danger.


There are these long endless stretches of roads in Lake Los Angeles, that have an intersection every four miles or so. All the intersections have this confusing ability to look exactly the same, from whatever direction. I spent a couple of miles at least three intersections, convinced I had been distracted by the sunrise enough to completely miss my turn. I wasn’t and didn’t miss it; a white washed sign sitting at the base of a beautiful joshua tree pointed me to base camp.


At base camp, I prepared for my venture further into the desert (or to set). I strapped on a baseball cap, rolled up the pant legs of my jeans and applied sunscreen under the protec
tive shade of a pop up tent and I was ready. Joining our 2nd AD, we hopped into a car and began our drive to set. The problem with the desert and GPS is two folded – there are no addresses and the internet/ cell reception is shoddy at best. So even with a ping of their location from our 1st AD, it was impossible to figure out how to get to the dot on the map without any real roads. After about ten minutes of driving with three people scanning the mounds of sand and around rock formations for the obvious set up of a film crew – we called the 1st AD. Another five minutes on the phone before set sent out a search party for us. Twenty two minutes after leaving base camp, we arrived on set.


Our first big action sequence for the day was staged right over a very industrious red ant colony. It was maybe two takes before the ants made their displeasure at our intrusion into their home clear. Our actresses were their first (and repeated) victims. But the ants didn’t discriminate, they attacked anyone who dared walk within the radius of their home. A red ant bite, as described by our unfortunate intern, starts with a numbing pain that falsely makes a person think their leg is asleep. Then your ankle (where the ant struck) swells up to three times it’s size and the burning sensation begins. They are called fire ants for a reason. But it isn’t anything a dose of benadryl and some water couldn’t fix.


It’s mid-afternoon- and you’ve been under the blazing sun for two days, and you have a not so thin layer of sand covering every inch of your body and you couldn’t possibly drink another water bottle – when you decide to drive a 1-ton truck down to set. It’s a harmless decision, one made on a daily (if not hourly) basis on any set. The problem with this decision on this eve on this set – is that we are in the desert. The desert where the sand is soft – and uninhibited by cars.

The one ton truck gets stuck. Not just a little stuck, but like back wheels have sunk their lower halves into the home of our neighboring red ant colonies. Several members of the crew try, to no avail, to push the truck out. Coax it with ropes and help from a friend (a well equipped pick up truck). But the our one ton will not budge.

The sun starts setting and we call for the tow truck.

The first stars shine brightly when the tow truck arrives.

The first stars are still the only ones out when the tow truck refuses to drive into the uninhibited sand of the desert to rescue our one ton.

Our one ton truck spends a quiet and undisturbed evening under the stars.



Maybe not what the definition meant. But it is a grave and remember the red ants? Yeah, danger.


The nearest Starbucks was 13 miles away from set – ONE WAY.


Gusts of wind are dangerous. It’s a fact I’ve always vaguely known – as a memory of a broken pop up tent come to mind as it flew across a parking lot and luckily hit no one and nothing. But gusts of wind in a desert – where there are little to no structures (man-made or natural) to block the increased wind speed become increasingly more dangerous.

A gust of wind can send a sand storm right into your eyes. Or scarily shake a silk

Photo Credit to Lesley Lopez

screen enough to immediately mobilize an entire army of Production Assistants to move our entire stock of sand bags onto the base of it. The irony of sand bags in the desert was not lost.

Despite the mother nature’s best efforts against us, we crossed the desert (with actors, cameras, silk screens, and trucks) and came out The Other Side victorious.

SPARK's LA Premier at Dances With Films
A Haunting in a Cabin: "The Jessica Cabin" in Wide Release
ReKon Productions Produces The Independent Feature Film “A Moment For Love”
Lisha Yakub And ReKon Productions Attach To “The Jessica Cabin”
ReKon Rentals Adds New Gear
Bolivar Feature Explores Grief At Its Premiere In Hollywood
“A Leading Man” Now Streaming On JoySauce
Saban Films Takes North America On ‘The Hyperions,’ Starring Cary Elwes
ReKon COO Lesley Lopez Talks About Passion And Purpose
THE HYPERIONS Partners With Archstone Entertainment For Worldwide Sales
Spice Up The Fall With Heidi Kim
Chasing Grace: A First Time Experience
Dive Into Summer With Connie Zitle
Dive Into Summer With Tre’Shonda Sheffey
Dive Into Summer With Rory Macrae
Skipping Into Spring
International Women’s Day
A Night Of Surfing, Short Films & Firsts
ReKon’s Film Festival Circuit
Seeing Shadows With Ben Farber
New ReKoner Alert!
Her Inspiration, She Is | Resource List
ReKon Reports 02.08.18
Seeing Shadows With Garrett McKenna
ReKon Reports 01.17.18
The ReKon Way
On Inspiration And Directing And Everything In-Between
Blue’s Pick: Born A Crime
ReKon Reports 08.10.17
Schrad’s Pick: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck Review
Auxiliary Route
Summer Audible Book Club 2017
Catch A Wave With Devin Foster
Sammy’s Pick: I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons
Catch A Wave With Stephanie
Catch A Wave With Hannah Pajo-Bickley
ReKon Reports 06.23.17
ReKon Reports 05.03.17
Tilt At Tribeca Film Festival
A Week Of Spring Break Mixes
ReKon Reports 03.23.17
On Set With A First Time PA
ReKon Reports 02.28.17
Spring Blooms With Fiona!
Spring Blooms With Nazia!
ReKon Reports 01.24.17
The Mothers Casting Announcement
The Win – Pilot & Behind The Scenes
ReKon Reports 12.07.16
ReKon Holiday Musts
Field Notes: GAFFER
First Annual Kan Drive
ReKon Reports 11.03.16
ReKon Reports 10.21.16
ReKon Points 001 – Pre Production
Meet Fall Leaf: Grace Neely
Meet Fall Leaf: Hailey Weyer
ReKon Reports 10.05.16
Challenge Accepted: 20 Hours And 50 Minutes With American Gods
Caitlin’s Pick: The Girl With All The Gifts
Sammy’s 2nd Pick: The Alchemist
Kristina’s Pick: “Yes, Please”
Introducing Summer Intern: Scott Sullivan
Introducing Summer Intern: Matt Waxman
Caitlyn’s Pick: Assassination Vacation
Summer Audible Book Club
On Facts Of Common Knowledge And Obscure Nature
ReKon’s Summer Audible Book Club: Sammy’s Pick
Dating Daisy Goes To Dances With Films!
ReKon Productions Turns 7!
ReKon Opening – Open House Candid Photos
Oscar Picks – How Did We Do?
A Week Of Spring Break Mixes
“Dating Daisy” – Audience Choice Winner At Sedona Film Festival
Full Of Grace Hits The Shelves!
30 For 30 Or Die – Farewell To The Stage
Drop The Beat…I Mean The Music Video
Summer ’15 Music Videos
“Duckface” Music Video Dropped Last Week
“Full Of Grace” Acquired By Cinedigm
It’s All Fun And Games Until The Lama Gets Abducted
“Dating Daisy” Trailer Drops
Things Peter Cetera Hates
Susie Sunshine
Meet Summer Sparkler: Tetteh Canacoo
The Thing(S) In The Apartment
A Miley Cyrus Request
Meet Summer Sparkler: Brooke Frickle
Meet Summer Sparkler: Tori Adams
New Projects Added
A Week Of Spring Break Mixes
Our Last Night “A World Divided” Music Video
Game Night Event On 3/7
Welcome Spring Intern: Valerie Wittman
Welcome Spring Intern: Dante Vittone
For Sale: All Production Needs
Introducing Spring Intern: Sharon Wong
Darwin’s Theory As Applied To The Set Of Egan Hall
Year In Review: By The Numbers