Schools may have started out the academic year virtually, but in Texas students are starting to return to campus. That’s perfect timing for the Texas Department of Agriculture‘s Farm Fresh initiative. TDA’s Farm Fresh initiative helps students understand the connection between the food they eat and our state’s agriculture. It also enables healthier school meals, and promotes healthier lifestyles for all. We had the privilege of working with TDA to create a video educating students about how one of our state’s most popular foods, tortillas, are made.

Planning for this project began early in the year. Our teams were just starting to work through scripting and location scouting when the world was upended by COVID-19. As would be expected, we had to pivot immediately and begin planning how we would be able to continue with our project while dealing with the new challenges posed by the world health crisis.

Pivoting With Technology

Luckily, we were able to carry out the entire pre-production process virtually from our remote home-offices (in Dallas for DHD, and in Austin for TDA). Even the casting process was able to happen virtually thanks to the Backstage casting platform. With over 2 million members in the network, Backstage allowed us to put out our casting call and screen dozens of talented performers to find our star Farm Fresh Correspondent.

Left: Casting talent via Backstage. Middle: Rehearsal feedback on Frame.IO. Right: Filming on-location in Dallas

Once we had narrowed down our list, we were able to request screen tests from our shortlist to make our final selection. We then had full video rehearsals with our talent that were captured and uploaded to the Frame.IO platform for everyone involved to leave notes on the performance. All of this preparation guaranteed a smooth and enjoyable day on set for everyone.

A Tour of Texas

But that was just one component of our project. In the lead-up to the filming in Dallas, DHD was able to travel to Brownsville, TX to capture the tortilla-making process at Anita’s, one of the oldest tortillerias in the country. After filming at Anita’s, we also paid a visit to the Historic Brownsville Museum, a gorgeous building that was once a Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. If that wasn’t enough, we also paid a travelled to Stephenville, TX to capture remarks from TDA Commissioner Sid Miller’s at his beautiful ranch.

Left: Filming on-location At Anita’s Tortilleria in Brownsville, TX. Right: Filming with Commissioner Sid Miller in Stephenville, TX

All of this filming, of course, took place using the health and safety protocols we’ve developed in order to keep everyone on set safe during production. Although the road leading to the debut of our How It’s Made: Tortillas video has been a long one, we’ve enjoyed every minute of it and look forward to partnering with our friends at the Texas Department of Agriculture again soon.