Gold Fever (DP)

A docu-drama for Discovery that chronicled the original American Gold Rush of the 1850s.

The Western genre is well-travelled, something that I tried to use to the show’s advantage.  I based the color palette on some of the iconic films of Western lore, giving audiences an easy way to access the story.  The story begins as an adventure and ends in tragedy.  Working far past the reach of the law, gold miners found that it was easier to steal gold than to discover it.  Carefully composed wide shots and elegiac crane shots tried to convey the lonely paradox of the gold miner.

My favorite sequence involved a “claim jump” in which a gold miner steals the new found gold nugget of a neighbor and then uses the nugget to beat his neighbor to death.  The sequence ends with an ultra-wide revealing the character standing alone, gold nugget in hand and dead body at his feet, surrounded by nothing but desolate mountain.  A crime, with no police and witnesses, becomes the law.