Unbranded, Unclaimed – Wild Horses of the West
Role – Video Production & Post
This is a short documentary about America’s wild horses and one woman's small part in helping solve a huge problem.
Since 1971 the US Federal Government has been tasked with protecting our country’s wild horses. There are now more 88,000 mustangs in the US, 60% more than the land has capacity to support. As yearly round-ups fill ever-expanding holding pens, the government is stuck with an expensive and divisive dilemma.
Shot, edited, and directed by David Bryan
Featuring Sierra Stewart of Double S Mustangs
Music by David Bryan and Lap Steel Guitar by Bryan Daste
To learn more about Sierra and the mustangs she gentles, go to:
All statics are current as of April 2020, data available at:
Planning began with months of production research, relying on Bureau of Land Management maps of wild horse heard locations. Also hunting down small towns and sights along my route. I first drove from Portland to Eastern Oregon, on the edge of the Great Basin, then from there, deep into the Nevada Wilderness.
I had a relatively simple camera setup. Filming with a Sony a6400, and a variety of manual focus, vintage lenses. Also in my kit was a Deity V-Mic D3, a set of very strong ND filters, an old sturdy tripod, lots of dust wipes and extra batteries.
Filming on the farm with Sierra was a very intense part of the project, getting up close with a completely wild animal gave me new respect for horse trainers and their process. Upon returning to Southern Utah two months later, I witnessed the transformation that Sierra's hard work had achieved, a much more gentle and tame horse.
With footage gathered, I used Final Cut Pro X to edit the film. Although Adobe Premiere is now a much more widely used editing tool, for me, FCPX is a much quicker and more enjoyable editing process.
With a rough edit in place, I turned to music and sound, for this project I learned the basics of Apple's Logic Pro X, which is powerful digital audio work station. Most of the music in the film I played on several different guitars all with digital effects. I brought in Bryan Daste to play lap steel guitar on a couple tracks and was very glad I did.
As my first attempt at documentary style film making, this was a great learning experience and a satisfying project to complete. If you have any questions or comments, please send them my way.