Northeast Iowa will be the setting for a new television drama about cattle insemination.
While “Complete Bull” really is a story about a young woman moving back to her family farm after her life in the Twin Cities hits the skids, the show will highlight artificial insemination of dairy cattle as part of modern agriculture.
“I like the idea of talking about women in agriculture today,” said Colleen Bradford Krantz, a journalist, author and filmmaker from Adel. “It’s fun and amusing, but these are also engaging stories looking at the geographical divide between rural areas and urban areas.”
She has a Kickstarter campaign to fund the $30,000 match. The thank-you gift for $30 donors is a pen that shows a sperm floating between a bull and a cow.
Real-life experience growing up in Iowa
Bradford Krantz, a former reporter for the Des Moines Register, has produced three documentaries, including “West by Orphan Train,” which won a regional Emmy in 2015, but “Complete Bull” is her first fictional production.
For this new effort, she decided to write about something familiar — life on the farm. Bradford Krantz grew up on a Guthrie County ranch, where her father used artificial insemination to improve the genetics of his cattle herd.
“I would spend my summer days getting this cow in and that cow in,” she said. “At the time, it just seemed normal to me.”
She’s been writing the script between other projects, incorporating stories from real life into the plot, which follows main character Lainey Dwyer as she navigates the male-dominated world of livestock production. One real-life story that made it into the script is about an insemination professional leaving a vessel of bull sperm, kept cold in a tank of liquid nitrogen, behind the counter at Kum & Go.
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“There is definitely comedy thrown in, but it’s not comedy focused,” Bradford Krantz said of the show.
The Greenlight Grant requires the money to support Iowa, which means Bradford Krantz will hire mostly Iowa actors for the portion of the pilot she’ll be filming next year. She’ll use the “proof of concept” pilot to market the show to networks and investors.
“We’ll go beyond the combined $60,000 to bring on a known Hollywood actress to sell it,” Bradford Krantz said. “We’re very early in determining who is a good fit.”
Bradford Krantz jokes that she may need a stunt double to do the artificial insemination scenes.
Filmmaker seeking locations in Eastern Iowa
Since the story deals with livestock genetics, Bradford Krantz decided to film it in northeast Iowa, where dairy farming is more prevalent. She also spent time as a child visiting relatives near Elkader and Monona.
“That area has beautiful scenery,” she said.
Bradford Krantz has been working with the Clayton County Development Group to identify filming locations and plans to tour Eastern Iowa later this month. If Gazette readers have suggestions for filming sites, email Bradford Krantz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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