Editor’s Note: Twenty-three year old, third-generation Mossy Oaker Neill Haas is a field producer and an editing assistant for the brand’s TV shows. “My dad, Toxey, and my granddad, Fox, have taught me everything I know about hunting and the Mossy Oak Company – from the basics of the business to why there is a Mossy Oak,” Neill Haas says.
Question: Neill, with experience in forestry, how did you learn to be a field producer and an editing assistant for the Mossy Oak TV shows?
Neill Haas: I went to college to learn forestry, because taking care of the land and forest habitat is a key component to land stewardship. My dad has always preached, “We’re stewards of the land.” It’s ours while we’re here on this earth, and we need to do all we can to leave the land in better shape than we’ve found it.
Question: Neill, who’s your boss at Mossy Oak?
Neill Haas: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland. Cuz more or less grew up with my dad in Mossy Oak. Cuz was one of the first cameramen and editors who started producing Mossy Oak videos and TV shows. He knows all the ins and outs about how to video, be a field producer and edit the footage to make great outdoor television. Currently, Cuz is mentoring me in the TV area of Mossy Oak. I’ve already been in seven or eight different states filming TV shows for the fall of 2014 shows. This is my first year as a field producer; I feel like I’m taking Shooting and Editing Footage 101 at Mossy Oak University.
Question: Neill, what have you been learning?
Neill Haas: Most people who watch our TV shows and videos probably don’t know how much effort we put into producing each show. I’ve had to learn a lot about the cameras, and those who operate them from the kind of shots taken to how to develop an eye for scenes. I’ve also learned a cameraman does much more than push a button on a camera when he sees a deer or notices the hunter has raised his or her bow or firearm. The real job of a field producer is to make sure he or she has enough video clips to be able to tell the story of the hunt. Not only does the story have to be entertaining, it also has to be educational and fun to watch.
Question: Neill, what’s one of the hardest aspects of your job most people don’t realize?
Neill Haas: Most people don’t understand the creativity involved. Field producers have to mentally see the story as it unfolds and obtain unique pieces of footage to make the story come alive to the viewer. I’m always looking for interesting content for our TV shows, including better ways to tell the story artistically. The field producer helps to write the screenplay he hopes the hunter, the animal and the guest will play out during the show.