Back in 1987 I tried making a feature film called Perishing Hearts. It was a very ambitious undertaking as the screenplay ran way too long (close to 200 pages), I didn’t schedule enough time to make the movie (2 weeks leave from the US Army) and I wasn’t experienced enough to realize this before attempting it.
Throw in an inexperienced cast (high school students from Lake Charles, Louisiana area) and it made for a difficult, in not impossible feat to pull off. A couple days into the shoot, in fact after filming 30-hours straight, my amazing Director of Photography, the late Jay Bullbear, passed out from exhaustion and one of my lead actresses had a nervous breakdown.
All of this forced me to take a drive by myself to evaluate the situation and I ended up at a stream-like river, which I believe was Two-Mile Creek or Hominy Creek . It was by this water that I had to probably make the hardest decision to date as a filmmaker. Do I throw in the towel and walk away from filmmaking altogether, because I realized I had failed on this attempt or go on. After some very difficult, gut-wrenching moments and truthfully some tears, I made the decision to abandon the project but not to give up.
Since I had the actors, the time left in Oklahoma and the talented folks working with me like Jay, his late brother David Maker and our pal Kenwick Cook, I decided to make a romantic music video called “Exquisite Delusion”, which utilized the song “Colors/Dance” from George Winston (look for a photo gallery from that video in the near future).
Here are some photos from the March 1987 location scouting of “Blackburn Bridge” and graveyard near Hominy, Oklahoma. Also shots from the pre-production period (April-May 1987) where I rehearsed my actors, then traveled with my three cast members from Louisiana, through Texas to Hominy, Oklahoma. Some of the photos show my dear friend and super-talented Cinematographer Jay Bullbear, who is unfortunately no longer with us.
Director of Photography Jay Bullbear and I scout the Blackburn Bridge March 1987