One very memorable story from the making of The Journey was the events of an entire day of shooting. A day that has now been titled Snake Day.
It was a bright morning in the middle of our last week of shooting. Only about six actors were there that morning plus a couple of crew members. Most of them were teens, but we had one little kid and only one adult on set. As we were walking down to the house where shooting was going to take place, one of the boys saw a snake that, according to our distance from the critter, looked like a rattlesnake. So we called the snake catchers at our shooting location. They came down and scared the snake into its hole after confirming that it was a bull snake and not a rattlesnake. So we proceeded, but of course after the snake people left, Mr. Bull Snake decides to come out of his hole and hang around the set for 4 hours. Thanks to our heroic set guys who served as snake patrol that whole time, we were able to continue on. After a while we lost the bull snake in the wall of the house we were shooting in front of just as snake patrol caught sight of a rattlesnake on the other side of them (it was really a rattler this time). Everyone but snake patrol evacuated the area and the adult on set called the snake catchers again. Meanwhile, the technical director, me, and a couple of actors headed towards the “inn” to shoot a different scene. On our way up a man warned us that he had seen a different, huge snake go into the building we had to shoot in. We sent our technical director in to check and he took one step in before jumping back and saying, “I don’t know what kind of snake it was, but it was big.” Just then, the staff at our location arrived to help, but the trained snake catchers were not on the premises. By this time the rattlesnake had been lost in the same wall that the first snake had been lost in. The people from the office couldn’t do anything about the rattler, but they bravely faced the 6 ft long, 4 in wide bull snake that we had found in the “inn.” They chased him into his hole, but his hole was inside the building. Now the question was, how do we shoot this scene? Our set guys again came to the rescue and one of them offered to stand guard over the hole while we got the shot. By the time we finished it was lunchtime and lots of little kids were arriving for an afternoon shot. So here we were after this intense morning and we couldn’t talk about it because we didn’t want the little kids to freak out. After lunch we looked in the house we lost the snakes in and saw the outline of a snake in the plastic hanging from the roof. Once we found the snake, we remembered that we had to spend the whole next day shooting underneath that roof! But the Lord answered our many prayers by keeping the snakes away the rest of the week and giving us all peace and our snake patrol. Perhaps the best part of the story is the perspective that one of the moms gave in the midst of all our worries, “Don’t worry, after all, what’s the worst that could happen? Someone gets bit, they go to the hospital, they don’t die. It makes a memory.”