Wide Angle on the Lone Star State

"Right down the road" hits a little different here in Texas. The distance between Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, Lubbock and Amarillo can be much bigger than crossing several European countries. Let's explore!


2/26/20243 min read

big tex wearing a hat and a red jacket
big tex wearing a hat and a red jacket

From sea to shining sea, Texas stands out like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now - impossible to ignore and dramatically influential. Its sheer size is a subject of fascination and, often, bewildered humor. For our out of town Production Manager, Coordinator and Line Producer friends, understanding Texas is like trying to fit a 100-person crew and schedule on a single page of a call sheet; you know you're missing out on something spectacular beyond the edges.

We thought we’d take you through a cinematic journey to put the vastness of Texas into perspective in a way Siskel & Ebert would give “two thumbs up”, rest their souls.

Imagine Texas as a colossal movie set, where each city is a different genre film being shot simultaneously. Dallas and Fort Worth are the high-budget action films with all the glitz and glamour needed to replicate a crime-ridden distopia (ahem, RoboCop), where the pace is fast, and the stakes are high. Moving to Austin, we find ourselves on the set of an indie film during the South By Southwest festival, where creativity flows as freely as the craft beer and handlebar moustaches, and every street corner is an opportunity for an impromptu documentary shot. It'll make for some great BTS content by the way!

Houston is the sprawling epic saga, rich with diversity, akin to a historical drama that weaves multiple storylines into a complex tapestry. San Antonio, with its Alamo and River Walk, could be the set of a romantic historical drama, where every scene is steeped in heritage and passion.

Head west towards Amarillo and Lubbock and you're instantly on the set with Sergio Leone, if he had the budget, where the horizon stretches endlessly and the sky takes up more screen space than the dusty, rugged landscapes below. Midland, with its oil rigs and stark, industrious beauty, feels like the backdrop for a gritty, realist drama that speaks to the heart of American enterprise.

Finally, El Paso, with its unique blend of Texan and Mexican culture, could be the perfect setting for a cross-border thriller, full of intrigue and panoramic desert shots that challenge the most adept cinematographer.

Now, consider the logistics of filming in such a vast set. Moving from one city to the next in Texas is like trying to coordinate shoot locations across different countries in Europe. The distances are so vast that sometimes, flying from El Paso in the west to Houston in the east is not just a matter of saving time; it's also a budgetary decision. Believe it or not, catching a flight might actually be cheaper than the long drive, especially when you factor in the need for a convoy of equipment trucks, your sound mixer, and, of course, catering.

The humor of Texas' size often comes from the surprise visitors experience when they realize that driving from Houston to Lubbock is not a quick hop but a journey that gives you enough time to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy - extended editions. And that's without counting the pit stops for barbecue, which, obviously, is an essential plot point in any Texas road trip.

In this vast expanse, the concept of distance is like a running gag in a long-running sitcom; it's always there, providing a consistent backdrop to a variety of situations. The locals play along, offering directions in hours rather than miles, because when you're in Texas, time becomes the more reliable measure of distance. After all, the halfway from Dallas to Los Angeles is El Paso. That’s just straight ridiculous!

So, for filmmakers looking to capture the essence of Texas, the challenge is akin to framing the perfect wide-angle shot that encompasses the grandeur of the landscape without losing the intricate details that give it character. It's about finding the balance between the epic and the intimate, ensuring that the vastness of the set enhances the narrative rather than overwhelming it.

In Texas, the saying goes, "Everything is bigger," which could very well be the tagline for an epic movie saga set in the Lone Star State. It's a place where the scale of the landscape mirrors the boundless spirit of its people and where the sense of humor about its size is as vast as the state itself.

As the credits roll, so does the tumbleweed. And it's clear that the size of Texas is not just a geographical fact but a grand narrative that weaves through every city and town, every desert and forest (yes, there are trees here). It's a story told in wide shots and panoramic views, in the long drives and even longer tales of adventure. And just like the best movies, it leaves you with a sense of awe and a craving for more.

So, next time you're plotting your course through Texas, whether for filming or simply exploring, remember to pack your sense of humor and an extra ice chest alongside your gear. After all, in Texas, the journey is just as epic as the destination, and sometimes, the best scenes are the ones you never planned for. Please remember, just because you’re shooting “in Texas” doesn’t mean we are very close, but we are usually the closest!