Production of Hayden documentary begins

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An Australian-accented cameraman with a large, high-tech digital video camera was outside Hayden upper school building when classes ended at 3 p.m. Friday, filming and questioning students at random. The presence of the camera made some shy away, but most students acted as though it was their big chance to be on national television.

"What's going on?" middle school student Robert Culver asked, echoed by other students.

Most had no idea why the cameraman and crew were there. For all they knew, they were going to be on "60 Minutes."

"What do you like about Hayden?" the Aussie cameraman, Darrin Fryer, asked. "What don't you like about Hayden?"

The interviews were part of an extensive amount of footage being shot for a documentary on Hayden's past, present and future.

Though the town population is less than 1,800, Hadyen is on the verge of major growth. A new sports complex, trail systems and more than 2,000 acres of development are planned in and around the town during the next 20 years. Subdivision proposals now in the planning process easily could triple the size and population of the town.

The Orton Family Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation, is overseeing creation of the 30-minute documentary, under the guidance of Fryer, a professional video producer with Planet Productions in Steamboat Springs. The foundation's mission is to provide innovative planning tools, such as community documentaries, to help decision-making in rural communities, according to a pamphlet from the group.

"For current and future generations, (the video) offers a substantial depth and breadth of historical, social, political and economic insights. As a vibrant group portrait in image and sound, it remains a timeless legacy to your community and its people," the pamphlet states.

Hayden's community video is being made in hopes of serving as a point of reference and a time capsule for Hayden's tremendous planning tasks. The $5,000 price tag for making the video is covered and stipulated by a $138,000 grant awarded to the town by the Gates Family Foundation for the town's planning.

Fryer will work with a film editor from the Orton Family Foundation "to make sure that what they're trying to achieve comes through in the video," Fryer said.

"It's my job to make sure Hayden has professional support in a real documentary," Fryer said. "I want to capture people in real-life situations where they can feel comfortable to have their opinion stated."

Fryer filmed Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer in his office while volunteer interviewer Christina Reck, a member of Hayden High School's Future Business Leaders of America chapter, posed the questions:

"What do you like about Hayden, and what keeps you here?" Reck asked.

Like other adults interviewed, Schafer said he liked the small-town atmosphere above all.

"I've lived in San Francisco, but I just like small towns," said Schafer, a five-year Hayden resident. "You're a real part of the community. Everyone knows you, which can be a good and bad thing, but mostly good."

Schafer also was asked what he did not like about the town. Almost every question was two-tiered, asking the pros and cons, to make sure the essence of each individual's opinion is captured accurately, Fryer said. Adults interviewed Friday said they liked Hayden's small-town feel and would accept some growth.

"I would like to see some economic growth," Schafer said. "I've seen businesses come and go, and I would like to see some economic stability. You can't rule out the positives of growth. I would also like to find something for our kids to do while they are out of school."

Many students interviewed echoed Schafer's suggestion that Hayden needs more recreation and entertainment opportunities. Some said they would like "a place to hang out," such as a pool, a recreation center or movie theater, but the majority of students said they like Hayden the way it is.

"It's so cool to sit back and listen to the people you love spill their guts," said Tammie Delaney, who is coordinating the video project for the Orton Family Foundation.

"I believe (Hayden) has a good opportunity to do some good with this video project," Fryer said. "It will have straight-forward answers to many questions the town has about growth with no hidden agenda."

Along with filming interviews Friday, Fryer took live-action shots of students playing basketball, getting on their buses and playing. He said such candid slices of life portions are crucial to the overall content and flow of the final film, to keep it interesting, entertaining and even comical at times.

Filming will resume at 2 p.m. Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday. Hayden residents who want to participate in the project can sign up at the Town Hall, where they will be directed to locations where interviews are taking place. Some of the locations are outdoors.

Not everyone interviewed will be included in the video, however. The video will be edited down to 30 minutes, limiting the number of people and the amount of time people appear in the final version.

Interviews omitted from the final film will be archived at the Hayden Heritage Center, Delaney said. And, because the documentary is being shot digitally, it will never lose quality over time.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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