FREE to a Good Home is about one girls journey into animal rescue. I began filming in 2001 and got “stuck” in editing. Primarily because editing needs money and skills unlike film production – it is not that I am saying shooting does not take skill – but with a Mini-DV camera one can shoot and tapes costs $20 (or they did). With editing – first there is the transfer of the tapes to digital (digitizing) then there is editing and it is not as simple as cutting. One must organize the footage – scenes, shots, takes etc. I had no equipment. Plus we were plagued with setbacks. Hard drive crashes – a LOT of hard drive crashes.
Tragedy struck when I came home from filming one day to find my home had caught fire and burned and my five rescue animals inside perished (one died a few days later at the inept hands of VCA Lakewood Animal Hospital). Three dogs and one cat died December 8, 2001. One dog, Bambi, died a couple days later. I continued filming and (like I said) got stuck in editing. Having to see all my animals – that were all in the film – was to relive the nightmare. Cash poor coupled with constant technical issues in editing – the film has remained incomplete.
Recently, I attempted to finally finish digitizing the footage (it took a long while to raise the money to buy DV Deck, External Hard Drives, and other equipment). I have about half of the footage digitized then our NEW DV Deck started having issues. So I took it in for a cleaning and repair. It worked again but was not 100%. I had to stop again for work – as in work for a living. Then recently I had some time set aside to work on the film again… and after another cleaning… and after just one tape – the deck crashed… again. So I am going to get professionals to digitize it – with timecode.
So a lot of the footage you will see will come from what I shot during the making of the film.
We have a lot of footage because I shot multi-camera when we were in the old Long Beach Animal Shelter (it was torn down and made into a parking lot) so there was no chance for pick-ups. I also have a lot of footage because I was searching for an ending. And the last reason we have a lot of footage is because I shot a lot Cinema Verite.
People would be surprised when I tell them my day of shooting consisted of driving to So or East LA and looking for strays to film. It never took us more than ten minutes to find the strays to film – unfortunately. And often they were so scared of us we could not get close to them. On occasion we had to stop filming and rescue a few. So, one day of filming turned in several days of rescue – and an extra dog/cat here and there. In fact, twice on the way to filming – the actress, Katherine Norland, who was not an animal rescuer – stopped to rescue a stray in the street. Twice they were cats or kittens and once was a very large dog.