In 2007, when Idaho decided to get serious about the movie business, jack-of-all-trades Dan Allers was delighted. He got involved when the Film Task Force put together by the legislature and a group of professionals developed incentive programs to boost shooting in Idaho. “Finally, I could justify fulfilling my promise to myself and building a really good grip truck with MSE equipment. The only grip and lighting support that I knew could stand up to a long term investment,” he says enthusiastically.
Allers was determined to give both the professionals who rolled into the Boise area everything they needed to support the major features that came to Idaho to capture attractive locations pieces (a bridge for Ghost Dad, a depot for an Eddie Murphy project) to local productions. The idea, start conservative – a three ton truck with grip and electric. “I wanted to be able to roll in and supply everything needed – without a generator.”
Well, when Allers arrived at MSE’s Burbank facility – the plan changed. “It happened to coincide with the launch of MiniMAX,” he recalls. “Linda Swope and I wandered out into the parking lot to get a couple of hot dogs and we happened to sit down at one of the tables next to the gaffer for Batman 3. He was lamenting that he would love to have MiniMAX on the feature – but no one had one for him to rent. You tell me no one else has one – and, of course, I have to be the first! I took two! And my three ton truck grew to a four.”
Allers is really happy he added a few things to his order. His four-ton truck, populated with 99.9 percent Matthews gear, is constantly on the road. “Recently, our flexibility to make things happen on the fly with the versatility of MSE equipment made shooting Jewel’s intros for AMC-TV’s John Wayne weekend possible, in the two hour window the star had available,” he says. “We’d thought Clearwater Creek Events wanted to use our wonderful Ghost Town for the shoot, so we were set and ready to make things happen on the main street. Suddenly, it was the pond and mountain view of Boise. Not a problem – we moved our MSE equipment in a flash – even got pictures of the equipment set up in our wide shots!”
Allers isn’t always trucking the equipment. He’s so confident in MSE’s durability he didn’t flinch when he was asked to fly over 600 pounds of it to a Wilson-Barr location to shoot Harrison Ford’s footage for the Rocky Mountain Aviation Museum.
“I also do a lot of educating of future grips, new cinematographers and other crews here in the Boise area,” he says. “And, when I do the workshops, its all Matthews – all the time. It makes sense – teach them right and teach them to use the best.”
Next up for Aller’s and his Idaho Cinematic Equipment” “I’ve got everything from MiniMAX and Doorway Dolly to stands and flags and scrims. My wish list? The new Green Screen. I’ve got the space to use it – all I need is the job to justify the purchase.”