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2024 Post Production

by Jeff Hogan

Mar 6, 2024

Hi Jon and Dorothy,

I wanted to give you both a brief update on the project. It’s very exciting to finally be at the beginning of post-production - this stage of the process is really when the story comes together, and although it involves countless hours in front of the computer, it is also one of the most rewarding phases of the whole process. One of the advantages of starting post while we are still filming is the flexibility it allows. As we begin our edit we can fill holes in our sequence, and gather specific footage needed to flush out our story.

We recently returned from Jackson Hole, where we filmed recreations with Mark depicting the early days of the Teton Cougar Project. Dorothy graciously hosted us and allowed us to film on her property.

Additionally, Mark and Jeff were able to uncover hours upon hours of new archive material from the Teton Cougar Project. We are still sorting through all of the newly discovered archive, and it will take some time to transcode and ingest all of it. But having an abundance of footage is a good problem to has as it will greatly enhance that early segment of the film.

Below is a short sample of the recreations we shot for the Teton Cougar Project segment - This is not an edit, but just a small sample of what we shot. Please ignore the dramatic music.

Side note: All the recreations I shot with Mark in the Tetons were filmed with an old Russian lens known as a Helios 44. I didn't know it at the time but it turns out that's one of the same lenses use to shoot Dune Part ii. Just a fun side note:

The Process

Our story is complex and there are a lot of moving parts, but my main focus is to create a compelling story that makes people care deeply for mountain lions. Mark is the vehicle that will transport us into the mountain lion's world, and although we need to remain scientifically accurate, we also need to pull those emotional levers. This means making both Mark and our mountain lion characters relatable, compelling, and sometimes vulnerable.

Every story has an arc, and in this case there are two distinct arcs, the first is Mark's own personal journey, and the second is the story of F61. Within that framework a more complex story will begin to take shape. That is the story of coexistence and connectivity, and here the Olympic Peninsula serves as microcosm four so much of the west and beyond.

We are still in the process of sorting through new Teton Cougar Project footage, as well as Jeff Hogan's material. Ultimately, we will create two timelines in the edit - F61's story and Mark Elbroch's story. At that stage we will determine the points at which it is best to transition from one to the other. We will build a sense of suspense as each story unfolds.

I think the contrast between the two locations, the snow covered Tetons and the lush rainforest of the PNW will make for a visually powerful film. It also gives audiences a change to grow attached to each of our storylines which logically intertwine.

I have included a PDF outline for "Heart of a Lion" which includes some a basic treatment / outline. This is the most recent update I made as of March 5th 2024. However, details of F61's story are still being worked out as we familiarize ourselves with Jeff's footage by editing together sequences to see what works best.

Heart of a Lion Outline 240305
Download PDF • 106KB

While we are prepping for our edit I'm also flushing out the story here in the Olympics by gather much needed sequences with our cats and the crew. I'm working with folks here at the DOT to place cameras along the I5 corridor, and working with private landowners to set up cameras in some critical locations for our cats.

For the next several weeks I will be in the field setting cameras, working with the team to capture unfolding events, while also transcoding, logging, and ingesting newly acquired footage.

At the beginning of April we will bring in our AE (Assistant Editor) to help with the workload. Around June we will bring in our full-time editor, Billy McMillin.

I'm very excited about the film and spending every waking moment to draw out the best possible story from our footage. I will continue to provide updates as things progress.

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